Married to Zac less than six months, Heather discovered traces of lipstick on his shirt and a woman’s phone number in his wallet. All men cheat; none can be trusted, she reasoned.
The truth is all men don’t cheat. Unfortunately, Heather encountered one who did. Stereotyping people based on a single experience will not improve the bad behavior of others, and living with doubt, suspicion and cynicism will condemn you to a life of unhappiness. All people are not the same, and to stereotype them as such is flat-out unfair. Relationships are not always doomed to end poorly.
Many thrive and, yes, there are those who live happily ever after.
Staring at the floor and biting her nails, Samantha timidly confessed, “I am afraid.”
“Afraid of what?” I asked.
She said, “I am afraid my boyfriend will leave.”
“Why do you feel he will leave?”
“I don’t know. My daddy left when I was seven and no one explained why. I just feel like my boyfriend will do the same thing.” Seventeen-year-old Samantha remained emotionally paralyzed by her fears as a seven-year-old. Her first romantic relationship was ruined by fear that all men she loved would eventually leave.
Can you relate to Samantha’s struggle?
Have you been guilty of labeling people based upon a single personal experience?
Would you feel comfortable with others treating you the same way?
Give friends, colleagues and potential romantic interests the opportunity to express their love and gain your trust. Don’t let negative relationships of the past be the downfall of positive future relationships. Stop categorizing, and start enjoying the benefits of healthy associations.
Lenny writes, “I worry about my wife cheating. We are both loving and committed to each other. There is no rational reason for me to feel suspicious or threatened. Our relationship has not changed, and neither of us has close friends of the opposite sex. We attend Bible study once a week, and I should feel totally secure in our relationship. Why am I worried, and how do I quit obsessing about something that isn’t happening?”
Perhaps, like Lenny, you realize your fears are unfounded, yet you struggle to control feelings of fear and anxiety. Afraid to face your fears, you remained trapped, consumed by situations that rob you of peace and joy.
The good news that in spite of how out of control your feelings may seem, you can overcome them. Fears may not vanish overnight, but with patience and persistence they will lessen over time. Confronting the fear of abandonment may be easier than you have imagined.
Below I have listed important keys that will help you overcome your fear:
Keys to Overcoming The Fear of Abandonment
- Share your fears of abandonment with someone you trust. Voice your fears to a friend, then ask that friend for positive yet honest feedback about the validity of these fears.
- Write down personal strengths that would enable you to thrive if faced with the challenge of living alone. Having a documented list of personal strengths reinforces confidence and self-assurance, especially when facing discouragement or disappointment.
- Stop dwelling on the past and move forward. Mistakes and wrong decisions are a part of life. Release the pain, move past negative memories and begin again.
- Spend time with and enjoy those who recognize your worth. Quit obsessing about the one who left, and focus on those who have stayed. Stop expending emotional energy on past relationships, and begin investing in those who are a part of your future.
- Cast worry by the wayside. Worry is like cyanide: tasteless and highly toxic. Create an outlet for anxiety. Discover new interests and explore channels for personal creativity. Learn to paint, join a gym, or better yet, find someone in need and discover ways you can help better his or her life.
- Create a list of things you fear. Then, beside the list of things you fear, create a list of correlating Scripture verses that will help you overcome any negative thoughts that create anxiety or fear.
Putting the above keys into practice will safeguard your heart and help you form healthy, satisfying relationships. If you’ve ever been in a relationship where you didn’t feel comfortable expressing your feelings or ideas, take some time to think about what you really need and how you want to feel in your ideal relationship. It is important to know what makes you feel safe and secure. Being able to clarify your feelings will help you recognize which relationships are worthy of pursuing or preserving. You are worthy of relationships where you feel loved, treasured and appreciated.