This blog post is part of an ongoing series on dating mindfully. For years, dating for me has been fraught with insecurities, fears and my favorite beast: "not good enough." I have finally found my groove and am learning so many lessons on how to date from a place of empowerment and authenticity. I of course will be sharing these lessons as I work through them with all of you - they're too important to not.
I’ve had dreams all week long of the guy I’ve been dating totally letting me down. In some, he’s breaking up with me for his ex-girlfriend (whom I’ve never even seen). In others, he bails on the date I planned for us this week. And in the moment, they feel SO DAMN REAL. To the point where I can’t help but wonder if they are, in some future state, the truth.
In the past, I would have interpreted dreams like this as signs that this was going to come to fruition. My anxieties had been right in the past, after all. To me, anxiety and intuition (the voice that guides us and ultimately does have a sense of knowing) were one in the same; my anxiety stood to protect me from what it knew to be so. But today I know that anxiety isn’t our intuition. Anxiety exists because it tries to keep us safe from perceived harm. It’s an extension of our ego, a fight or flight response that came to be to keep us safe from touching fire or running into oncoming traffic. So while we can give anxiety credit for trying to keep us safer, it also flares up at inopportune moments like those where we’re being really vulnerable. Anxiety, unfortunately or fortunately, doesn’t know it all. But we often treat it like it does, and that’s where things get hairy. Our ability to manifest is powerful enough that if we believe in our fears, they become our reality. The more this happens, the more evidence we build up in our minds supporting the fact that our anxieties are our truths. “Our fears were right,” we think. When really, we’ve made them right. And the cycle goes on.
The good news: the more we do the work to separate fear and love, ego and intuition, the more we start to see our fears and anxieties as not necessarily coming from a place of knowing. And when we stop believing in our anxieties, we stop giving them power. This changes the whole game, it breaks the chains. We start seeing that just because we fear something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Outcome after outcome mounts into tangible evidence (again for our simple minds, always seeking to compartmentalize our experiences) that our anxieties are actually not the truth. They aren’t all-knowing. They are often just fear-mongering crazies.
So how do we identify the crazies? How do I, for example, decide if I SHOULD be seriously considering that my guy is going to bail, or if I’m CREATING the situation in the first place?
For me, all it takes is slowing down and asking a few thoughtful questions:
What fears are creating these dreams [these thoughts, etc]?
My answer: The fear I’m giving too much and being taken advantage of. The fear of getting hurt, getting left, opening my heart too much and allowing it to happen, having to start over with someone else. Embarassment. Not being enough. Being too much.
Are any of these fears coming from a place of love?
Hell no! None of these serve me or are truly protecting me.
Are they ‘fight or flight’ responses?
Yes! Getting too close to something that makes me uncomfortable and wanting to push off simply because I am afraid to get hurt.
Are they based on old stories I’ve experienced or old evidence I’ve stored in my mind?
Yes! Guys have let me down in the past, too many times. I’m afraid that because I haven’t seen him for a few days that he must be ready to go that way too. But he hasn’t really acted like he isn’t interested anymore.
And based on the above, are they intuition or ego?
EGO, 100%, no question.
So what does my intuition have to say? [here you want to slow down, take a deep breath, and let your mind be quiet and your heart do the talking]
You’re scared. You’re playing into old beliefs about yourself and about love. I love you. You are safe. He’s a good person. Take the chance. You are so loved.
And there you have it. The answer, the truth, the non-anxiety-brain knowing.
Sometimes the answer will be the same- maybe your anxiety is simply screaming the same message that your intuition is gently prodding you with. If that’s the case, listen. The key is to get in touch with what is coming from within, under the layers of broken record going off in your mind. That’s where the magic lives.