Research into emotions has shown that fear is the most powerful emotion. We’re biologically wired to fight, flee or freeze when fear activates us. That activation occurs outside of the rational functioning of the brain.
For example: We see a coiled up garden hose; our fear response is activated automatically before we discern that it is not a snake.
Our fear is also activated by emotional triggers. A situation holds a ghost of a past experience and our subconscious recalls, then reacts in a like fashion. This may represent learning that’s not appropriate for the current situation.
Recognizing fear takes some self awareness. If you’re having an uncomfortable feeling whether you call it anger, annoyance, anxiety or fear, take a closer look at it. Ask the 5 whys.
For example: I’m feeling angry at my partner right now. Why? Because I wanted him to stay home tonight. Why does that matter? Because him staying home means I enjoy his company. Why does that matter? Because for us to be close, we need to spend enjoyable time together. Why does that matter? I want us to be close so that I feel safe and secure. Why does that matter? I don’t like to feel rejected.
You can find out lots of interesting things about your thoughts and feelings by playing this game with your emotions.
Fear triggers much of our discomfort in relationships. It may be demonstrated by anxiety, withdrawal, anger or shutting down. All of these responses are more likely to put distance between you and your partner. Fear can be very damaging or it can be a tool for growth.
Sharing our fears makes us the most vulnerable and connected with our partners. It gives our partner the most honest view of us. It allows our partner to soothe and comfort us. Not only does that feel good, it makes us stronger as a couple.
Don’t let fear stand between you and your partner. What fear can you share today? If you don’t feel safe, then start small until you’re sure your partner can hear and respond.
What is your greatest fear in your relationship? Let me know in the comments below.