How We Use Fear To Hide From Finding True and Lasting Love.
If you're familiar with the Enneagram, this article will make sense following the 9 Ennea-types. If you're not, don't worry. See if you can spot your primary way (one of the nine reasons) of avoiding finding love.
There's really no easy way to say this.
I'll just spill the beans.
You can't find love because you're hiding from it.
Not the kind of thing you'd like to hear on Valentine's day. Or any other day.
But, for a moment, consider it. How exactly are you hiding from finding love?
Buckle up. Let's go on a little adventure of deep discovery.
REASON #1: You expect things to be perfect.
Nice ideal. Not realistic.
Deep down you know this.
Things will never be perfect.
There's no perfect time. Perfect person. Perfect moment. Or, perfect you.
What there is, is a perfect ideal.
Perfection is a great way of hiding from love. The fear of not meeting expectations prevent many people, especially perfectionists, of finding love.
Perfection is simply the pursuit of an idealised standard. Your idealised standard.
I recall the story I heard of a lady, in her seventies, telling her friend why she recently divorced her third husband. "I tried to help him. He could have been a much better man if he had only listened to me."
And that's how you hide from love. You use a standard. An expectation set so incredibly high, not even you can reach it. It's always something juuuuuuust out of reach. Something to aspire to.
Which means, there will also always be things that require improvement.
Like your husband. Or your girlfriend. Or, especially, yourself. And the world.
But is it true though?
Do things (and people - and yourself) really have to be perfect before you can find love?
Is it possible to find love even (and especially!) in imperfections?
Does the fragrance of a rose diminish because it lost a few petals?
What if - like Tony Robbins says - you could change your expectation to appreciation?
REASON #2: You're trying to earn it.
Love is not transactional. If it is, we usually call it prostitution.
For many people though, the belief that love must be earned runs deep. So deep, they're suspicious of anything or anyone trying to convince them otherwise.
They've discovered, the very best way to 'earn' someone's love, is by doing things for them. Helping them. Fulfilling in their needs. Keeping them happy.
Constantly focusing on helping others seems innocent enough, but is in fact another great way to hide from finding love. The fear of not being approved of by someone, keeps you locked in an emotional prison. Ironically, one you built yourself.
Helping someone with the expectation of earning love in return, isn't really love at all. The reason why, is once again pretty simple. It's one-sided. You give to the point where receiving love is seen as something selfish. In fact, you begin to pride yourself in the fact that you don't really need anything. Not even love. Because you're such a 'lovable' person.
But the darker truth is even scarier. Some people help others simply to create the need to be needed. They're so desperate for approval, they'd manipulate circumstances in such a way that they have to be needed.
Forcing love and approval. Finally they feel they've earned it.
But, is it true?
What if you could be loved without earning it?
What if you don't need anyone's approval?
What if you're worthy and valuable and loveable - just as you are?
What if meeting needs are not a prerequisite for receiving love?
REASON #3: You're pretending.
Without even knowing it. You put your best foot forward.
And you keep it there.
You're almost too good to be true.
This is different from being perfectionistic.
This is role playing.
You become the character of playing the perfect lover. An actor. Your approach to love and relationships is like a well-rehearsed stage production. You know your part. What to say. When to cry. To laugh. Even when to cause a little more drama to get attention.
Obviously, this is another genius way of hiding from finding love. The fear of not being accepted, drives you toward becoming another, better version of yourself. This is such a brilliant defense mechanism. It's like a game where you can customise the 'skin' or select the avatar you'd like to be.
By the way, many high-achieving people fall into this trap when they begin to believe their true essence (self and feelings) get in the way of success. Better to box it up inside.
Then, put on the super-suit!
Here's the thing. When you're the actor, where's the real person? When life inevitably shakes you out of your role, who are you then?
And, here's the problem. Most high-achieving people, don't really know themselves anymore. You've grown accustomed to the version of who you are. You've become the character. A persona with no personality.
You hide from love by hiding from your (true) self.
What if you were to love and befriend the person, not the character?
What if you were able to love yourself, not a version of yourself?
And what if someone would love you just the way you are?
No need for the best foot.
REASON #4: True love is simply not meant for you (cue dramatic romcom music!)
"Why, oh why, do they all look so happy?"
"Why, oh please, tell me, why can I not also be happy and find my true love...?"
The grass is always green on the other side.
And when you get there? Oops. Nope. It was actually greener on that side.
And when you get back there...
The belief that love isn't meant for you creates the emotion of longing, or yearning. Ironically, it's a truly romantic emotion. Yearning for the knight on his horse, on his way to save you...
But along with it being romantic, it's also a little sad. Tragic, really. Because, the knight won't show up as you imagine it to be. When he eventually does, he wasn't the one of your dreams. In fact, the knight that saved your neighbour, now he was the real deal! Why couldn't my knight be like him?
Another great way of avoiding finding love, is to yearn for it while you have it. The fear of simply feeling ordinary. No sparks. No drama. Nothing spectacular. Just normal true love.
It simply cannot be that mundane. Many people believe their primary interface with the real world is their feelings. You believe I am what I feel. For you, if it cannot be felt, then it cannot be real. Love included.
So how do you feel things? You cause a little drama. Even if it's just in yourself. You stir up emotions to loosen feelings.
But, like the bulldog that eventually caught the bus...now what? When you find love, it's not a feeling anymore. It just is. A way of being. A verb. A giving of yourself.
You hide from love because what you have doesn't feel like love.
What if, love is more than a feeling?
What if, you are not what you feel?
Imagine love is a simple decision.
What if you can decide to appreciate and trust the love that's already there?
REASON #5: You think you don't know how to love.
You've ordered your next two books on Amazon.
You have a stack of them already. Deep-diving into the topic of love and relationships is a regular thing for you.
In fact, few people know this, but you've even done some online courses. And, have the certificates to prove it: Completed: Finding Love 101, 102, 103, Advanced.
Yes. You know your stuff.
But. You also know that you don't know enough yet, to be able to know how to truly love.
Yet again, we come across an outstanding reason to avoid finding love. The fear of not having enough knowledge, prevents many hopelessly romantic people from pursuing love.
In your mind it's clear and obvious: unless you know all the in's and out's of love, from every conceivable angle and perspective, you won't be able to truly love someone.
Love is something to be understood. It has to be examined. Considered. Premeditated. Consciously calculated.
Yes, yes! Of course it's a matter of the heart, you say, but still, you have to use year head and be reasonable about it. If you don't know everything there is to know about love you don't know how to love!
What if, there are some things in life that are simply a mystery? And by the way, a mystery doesn't mean, not knowing, rather it means, infinite knowing.
What if you intuitively already know how to love deeply and truly?
What if you allow your head to trust your heart to know what it's doing?
What if there's an inner wisdom you can trust? No books. No knowledge. Just simple love from the heart.
REASON #6: You're afraid.
Yes. You're simply afraid to find love. Or, that love finds you.
And, you've armed yourself with some questions.
What if there's something wrong with me?
What if there's something wrong with the other person?
What if they don't like me?
What if we start dating and I die of something?
What if he's a freakin' serial killer!?
What if I'm a freakin' serial killer!?
What if we get married and have children and can't afford the children and we all end up on the street and my children freeze to death and it's all my fault!?
What if it doesn't work?
What if I'm not truly happy? Or even worse, I don't make him/her happy?
What if I'm not good at being a lover?
What if I fall in love and the person doesn't love me back?
What if I'm not what they're looking for?
What if they find out how afraid I really am to be in a relationship?
I can carry on like this. But, for the sake of the internet I'll stop here. You get the point.
A very honest and straightforward reason of not finding love is to doubt. The fear of being rejected by someone causes people to come up with all kinds of ways to hide away.
But, make no mistake. Hiding away from love doesn't mean you're a miserable miser locked away in your sad little 1-bedroom apartment on the third floor of an abandoned building in the bad part of town. Damn. I hope not.
Nope. Ironically, fearful people are often the heart of the party. You make others laugh and have close friends. You're extremely helpful, super friendly and you're truly diligent in what you do. You're the most loyal kind of friend one could ever find.
But, once again, you do this not to be rejected.
For you the world an inherently dangerous place. Nothing and no one should be trusted. Least of all, yourself. So, you doubt yourself. You doubt your motives. You doubt others and their intentions.
Doubt, as you could imagine, leads to tremendous anxiety.
It creates an infinite loop of angst and confusion. Right back to all the questions above.
Yet love takes courage. Courage, from the Latin 'cor', which means heart.
We also derive the core from 'cor' - meaning, your innermost part. Your essence. Your core.
What if you take courage? Take heart. Dare to trust. Yourself?
What if love drives away fear?
What if it creates the safety and safe-space you so long for and need?
What if you stop rejecting yourself on behalf of others?
REASON #7: There's no time for love.
At least not right now anyway.
And also, how could you possibly nail it down to just one person? I mean, wow. It's impossible to find just ONE right one. Right?
There's still so much to do in life!
Love will just bog me down with responsibilities. Commitments. Boring things.
No time for that. So much to see and do.
I know, maybe one day, I'll be ready for it. But now, hey man! Join me in the fun!
A super cool reason to hide away from finding love is by chasing down adventure! Woohooo! Ironically, the fear of dealing with your pain drives you away from yourself and commitments, towards distractions.
ANYTHING! Except dealing with your inner issues. Which are normally pain-laced issues.
Pain means being serious. Slowing down. Becoming aware of your life. Becoming present to reality. ADD developed for a reason.
Finding love would mean giving up on fun. Giving up on adventure. Giving up on freedom and settling down into the boring reality of loving only one person. Forever.
No more options.
But, is it true though?
What if, settling down with the person you love forever could be the ultimate undiscovered option? The greatest adventure ever? A limitless bungee jump into a lifetime of love, fun, family, friends, challenges. Yes, also pain, but having someone to share even that with.
What if love is the invitation of being a sojourner with your soulmate?
What if, your pain is an invitation to find love, and give love?
What if, embarking on the quest of exploring your inner landscape is the adventure of a lifetime, reaching the summit of love with the one you love?
REASON #8: You don't need it.
Love is for weaklings. There, I said it. Deal with it.
In fact. Showing any kind of need - especially emotional needs...well, it's a clear sign of inner weakness.
To survive in this world, you need to be tough. Outwardly. And inside, too.
Love just complicates life. Unnecessarily. When you love you also need to trust. And trust means you need to rely on someone else for something. That's like needing something.
Weaklings rely on others.
If I find it? Cool.
If I don't? Whatever.
I didn't need love anyway.
Denial is an exceptionally effective way to hide from not finding love. The fear of betrayal drives people to construct formidable emo-armour.
When you're in deep denial like this it means you've been hurt in your life before. Hurt meaning, betrayed. In whatever shape of form. Probably, by your parents. Or at least one of them.
So. You become resolute. It. Will. Never. Happen. Again. EVER!
>> ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO QUIT YOUR HEART DRIVE? Y/N
>> sys_re_config in progress
>> anti_vulnerable_software installed successfully
>> WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONTINUE LIVING WITHOUT VULNERABILITY ELEMENTS? Y/N
At this point, you choose yes. It's safer. Less painful.
But, as Richard Rohr says: Pain that is not transformed is transmitted.
This anti-vulnerability software will be effectively used to keep people, even loved ones - away from your very vulnerable, yet fortified heart. In the process, you will hurt them, too.
Without a heart drive, there's just a hard drive through life.
But, what it you are in fact only betraying yourself?
What if the truth is, that vulnerability is a sign of magnificent inner strength, and not weakness?
What if trusting people and opening your heart is the bravest, strongest thing you could ever do?
What if it's okay to need love. Intimate love. True love.
And to give it. Innocently.
REASON #9: Hakuna Matata. It's not such a big deal, man.
Let's just chill for a while. No worries.
Wow, love? Serious stuff. And yeah man, I don't know?
I don't know. What do you think?
Look, as long as you're happy and you've found love, I'm happy too man :)
Love is everywhere. It's in nature. In music. In people all around us...we're surrounded by it.
Another truly fantastic way of hiding from love is hiding away in it. Love camouflage. The fear of being abandoned and left all alone drives so many people to merge with what looks like love, anywhere they can find it.
Merging with other people and what they love is a way of keeping yourself away from knowing what you truly want, and love.
"Am I really that important that I can actually choose love for myself?", you ask.
"Banish the thought! I need to help my friend find her true love or she won't want to be my friend anymore."
This kind of thinking leads to insufferable inner conflict. Not acknowledging your own, individual need to have someone in your life to love, is heartbreakingly painful.
In an attempt to avoid your inner conflict, you direct it to deep distractions - numbing your soul and preventing you from waking up and taking action.
Imagine, deciding that you matter, and that you will not abandon yourself anymore.
Imagine coming home to yourself - being in yourself, and deciding for yourself to be found by love?
You don't have to hide away in love if you are love.
Flaunt it. Make waves. Be yourself.
You're a big deal.
What's Your Go-To Reason?
We all have a reason. Which one resonated most with you? Maybe there were more than one reason?
I'd like to end this post by extending an invitation to you:
Have lots of grace for yourself.
That's it. Judgement and criticism just makes things worse.
Grace is love in action. What would it look like for you?
Please leave a comment below if you found this valuable.
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Lukas de Beer holds a Master's Degree in Management Coaching and is an Enneagram Coach and Practitioner. To find out more please visit www.lukasdebeer.com