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Fear, Love, and Frogs

Aug 17, 2007
There are really only two emotions in the universe, fear and love. You're either loving or you're fearing, regardless of what you do. Fear leads to a very unsatisfactory experience in life, and love leads to joy, happiness and fulfillment. And, the doorway to this love is gratitude.

Isn't it interesting that the simplest formula for happiness in life, "Look at the bright side," is so very difficult to do? Actually, that's why I can make a profitable living as a marriage counselor. People get so wrapped up in their fear that they can't get along with a partner. They are afraid about what they are not getting, or what they won't get, or they even fear feeling the bad feelings of what they did get but didn't want. They react, strike out, and cower, and then, finally, come to see me. We then put their fear away and bring the love back out.

After we've worked a little relationship magic they leave with gratitude. They love their partner and they can't believe how blessed they are. They give thanks for what they formerly missed seeing, and experience the fullness of their love.

Occasionally it takes years to help a couple do this. Why? Because they won't give up their fear. And, as long as they are scared they have extreme difficulty counting their blessings and feeling their love.

There are so many reasons for our fear. We may have been born with a physiological nervous constitution. We may have experienced childhood abuse that programmed our expectation for further pain. Happiness may have been interrupted by a very difficult loss along the way. Or, we may have married an abusive partner. Regardless, we have deep associations of fear towards many things, including our partner. The fear is very often deeply programmed and not easily accessed for change.

So, how do we solve the fear problem? I first heard it from Stephen Covey, the writer about the habits of successful people: "Swallow a frog every morning. After that, everything else looks easy!"

The frog is a symbol for whatever we fear the most that day. Do it first! After that, the rest seems easy and we usually feel better about ourselves and everyone around us. In fact, after facing our greatest fear we usually feel gratitude for the wonder of this life all around us, and that leads to the experience of Love.

So, why does it sometimes take me years with some couples? Because I have to push, pry, manipulate, trick, convince and use a host of other methods to get people to swallow all those frogs! And some folks have a lot of them to swallow.

The lesson for you is to choose to swallow your own frogs before life forces you to do so. Face your fears! Do it on your own terms. Every day choose a fear, large or small, to face into and conquer. What is it you don't want to do? What is it you need to do but won't? Do it first. Don't wait. It's all down hill after that.

The more fears you face and conquer, the better job of loving you will do. And, that is what your relationship always needs.
About the Author
Steve Roberts, "The Couples Guy," is an experienced Marriage and Family Therapist who shares tips and real life relationship secrets from over 20 years of practice. Get Insight and Wisdom for your Relationships at: http://www.whatworksforcouples.com/
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