Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Are YOU Afraid Of?

It's a simple question. And the answer might seem simple, too.
But keep asking.
What am I afraid of? Being betrayed again.
What am I afraid of? Being forced to leave.
What am I afraid of? Losing 24/7 with my kids.
What am I afraid of? Not being able to pay the bills.
What am I afraid of? Living in a tiny apartment with peeling paint and rats.

Danielle LaPorte was recently featured in fear.less, an online magazine that guides readers toward a life of authenticity. LaPorte doesn't suggest we abandon fear, but that we transform it. By asking, repeatedly, what it is we're afraid of. "The very act of being clear on what you fear transforms it," she says. "It's not fear anymore, but knowledge."
Those words stopped me cold. Yes, I thought. That's it. Exactly. Once I could understand that my fear of being betrayed had less to do with the betrayal (been there, done that, survived...) than with my belief that another betrayal meant I had to DO something about it. Like leave. And I was terrified of leaving.
And once I examined what, exactly, I was afraid about leaving, I learned that it's the unknown. I conjured up images of poverty, loneliness, abandonment.
The reality, of course, is quite different. And armed with knowledge of my fears, I could address them. I could meet with a lawyer to find out what my entitlement would be should I leave the marriage. I could look at houses in my price range and begin to imagine that, though my life would change, it wouldn't be a life of squalor in a tenement, surrounded by drug-dealers and gangland shooting. My kids' school would be okay. They might not be social pariahs at their new school.
In fact, it wouldn't really be all that bad.
And, bizarrely, being able to imagine this life without my husband has made me far happier right now with him. Why? Because I no longer live in fear of another betrayal. If he does betray me again, well then, I know what I can and will do about it.
With fear transformed into knowledge. And into action.


  1. A male friend of mine told me that his wife cheated on him. It totally destroyed him. He left the state. He got a divorce. He had to go through therapy, etc. A couple of years later, he got back with his wife and they remarried. I asked him how he deals with the fact that she cheated and it could happen again. He said this time I know I can kick her out and I will be fine. That really struck a chord for me. Yeah, if there's a next time for me, it will be done. NO big deal! I was a single mom with 2 children for 7 years (after the divorce from my children's dad). I know I can do fine on my own. That's not my fear. My fear is that I will miss him.... : (

  2. I think it's easy to forget that we will be fine -- all of us. Even those who think we need a man just haven't discovered our own strength.
    And yes, you probably would miss him. Or rather you'd miss the him you thought he was, or that he once was. I doubt you'd miss the unfaithful him...



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