Our bodies are wired to alert us of danger. We feel it first, then our mind catches up. We sense danger with fear, so it can be a good emotion to have in a dangerous situation. But fear also stops us in our tracks. We either choose to fight, flee, or stay paralyzed in it.
What about when fear isn’t really about something dangerous to you, but more of an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is going to cause us pain — not physical but emotional?
My husband made a comment one day that hit me to my core. He didn’t mean it how it came out and he was really trying to be supportive of me, yet the delivery and impact stung. I was discussing my weight loss efforts and goals with him. It is something I have battled with for a long time.
There are sooooo many reasons why, both physical and emotional, but let’s not discuss that for now because it would take an entire book.
In support, my husband rather excitedly exclaims, “Let’s get you back to your fighting weight!”
My immediate reaction was fear. A fear that he didn’t love me and accept me as I currently am, with a couple of love handles. A fear that grew into the thought, “If he doesn’t love me and accept me as I am, what happens if he doesn’t when I get to my ‘fighting weight’”?
Now, let’s be real for a second. In that exact moment his words made me angry! Fighting mad! And yes, I yelled...A LOT! Gone was the notion of him being supportive. Gone was my security in knowing that he did love me and accept me as I was. Gone was my secure attachment to him. In a split second, everything changed for me.
And it lasted for over a decade!
Now that isn’t to say we had good marriage moments there. We had great ones, in fact! But I never trusted him enough to talk about my weight loss goals again. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I used my fear of abandonment to sabotage my weight loss dreams for over 10 years.
And here’s another moment of being real: I definitely was not this introspective at the time. I didn’t realize what I was doing. I built a fortress around me on the subject of weight and continued to start and stop, start and stop. I blamed everything except the real reason behind the problem. To be fair to myself, though, I didn’t know what it was at the time. I couldn’t label it.
Guess what else my mind was doing? Brewing messages of he doesn’t love me. If he did then he would have never said that. He would worship these rolls! This led to lack of trust, anxiety, more fears, and more fears, and...you get the point. It brewed into an entire pot of JUNK — icky, gunky, fear-based JUNK!
Let’s label it shall we?
Plain and simple, with some deep inner work, one day I realized I was paralyzed with fear. I was allowing the fear of him not loving me when I “got back to my fighting weight” decide the outcome. And if that wasn’t enough, I now understand that this fear impacted my marriage in a multitude of negative ways. My self-confidence suffered; in fact, my entire identity shifted.
What a smack in the face. That couldn’t really have been my roadblock, could it?
Could everything really stem from one off the cuff comment that I know came from my cheerleader?
Yep, it was.
Deep down, I feared if he couldn’t accept me and love me with some pillsbury squishies, then would my weight really make any difference? I simply couldn’t face the projected emotional pain I was sure would come my way the day I hit “my fighting weight”!
Whew! I let my fears take over my life and keep me from ever getting started!
What are the fears that are keeping you from your goals?