Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The "F" Word

No I am not talking about that "F" word, I'm referring to a more profound and impactful 'F" word , FEAR. A four letter word that seems to be creeping into my conscious thought quite frequently.

Do we all live our lives out of fear? Were we all born fearless and something came along, bit us in the butt and made us fearful? Are we born with certain fears inbreed in us like genetics? Do we all have the same underlying fears but handle them differently? I have to wonder. Does everyone have a fear of being unloved and unwanted? Some say even people who act like they don't care or need anyone actually do. They have just created this facade to protect themselves from getting hurt. But whose hurt more, the one who doesn't try or the one who puts their who heart and soul into not being hurt only to be scarred in the end?

I think my fears have been alive and well in me from a very early age. My fear of being unliked and later in life unloved. I never felt I wasn't loved by my family, never. Even when I was a TOTAL nightmare to them (and I do apologize for that Sissy, Mom) I never felt like I wasn't loved. I've always wanted people to like me. I think I acted like a jerk when I was little to avoid the rejection of other kids. Then I decided to be nice and hope everyone would like me. I still hope for that today although my years of life experience have taught me not everyone is going to like you no matter what you do or how you are. I try to just be me and hope for the best but deep down, I do want everyone to like me. :)

New fears pop up through out the process of living life. Fear of trying something new and failing (writing). The fear of doing something you know is right but is hard because it might make that person (or pet) not like/love you anymore. My beloved dog Jackie is getting old, bless her heart. I love her to death but she has now become almost completely blind, deaf when she is asleep and her back legs don't work quite as well as they used to. All these circumstances have lead to her having accidents on the carpet, repeatedly. I know the only solution is to lock her up in the kitchen at night (where there is carpet in the dining room for her to lie on, her water & food plus her doggie door to go outside) but this would prohibit her from coming into our room and sleeping on her bed next to ours. I did try to barricade her in, several times and every time she broke through so I caved in and let her have run of the house even though it inevitably leads to an accident, me cleaning it up and my husband getting more upset with me. I finally bought a gate wide enough to enclose the space between the living room and dining room. It's nice and was expensive. I've used it during the day when I know we are going to be gone for more than an hour or two and it's been fine. But I still can't bring myself to use it at night. Is that a fear that the dog will suddenly hate me and not let me pet her? That doesn't sound very realistic when you really think about it. Maybe it's not fear at all just selfishness on my part. I love her like a child and I selfishly want her with me and I want her unconditional love for as long as I can get it.

My fear of being unloved can be tracked back to my first boyfriend, Eddie. He was a nice guy, they always are. Never mean or abusive but Eddie definitely took advantage of my kindness. My open generosity to him based on his living situation, his family life, his past. My naivety on life and relationships. I let him take advantage of me out of fear of being unloved and unwanted. Of course eventually I woke up and got tired of it and saw what he really was and got over it real quick. Then it was the doctor. The doctor who I convinced myself was the one for me. I was going to be a doctor's wife if it killed me. He liked me but never loved me. I tired all I could to be the one for him but he wasn't looking for that one or I just wasn't it for him. When in reality he wasn't what I really wanted or needed in the one either but at the time I had convinced myself he was. Thank God he didn't do his residency at UCLA.

When "the one" does come along and you decide to marry, it isn't just about you anymore. It's about us. I honestly and truly believe that any relationship; friend, lover, parent can only be successful if their is compromise on both parties part. We all at one time or another have made compromises to make a relationship work. I am willing to compromise, especially in my marriage but what I find myself asking lately is; is compromising really just an excuse for settling? Have I allowed things that bother me in my marriage to just be a compromise all these years when really I was just settling for the way things were or are because I am fearful of being unloved or unwanted? Did I not stand up for things I wanted or believed in early on in the relationship because of those fears or were they things I could really compromise on to make things work? Did I allow these things or not do things because I knew/know they would make the other person happy? What if I did settle or compromise to make the other person happy and now they aren't? Where does that leave me?

I can not redo the past. I can not go back and change the things I've done or may not have done that I should have, no one can. So now I have to look to the present and the future. Next time I find myself compromising on something, I should stop and ask myself if this is really something I want to do or am I just doing it out of fear? Can we really succeed in life when we live in fear constantly. I think we can survive but that's not really living. I think I will always have the fear of being unliked, unloved and unwanted but I want my new fears to be my driving fears. The fear of the unknown, the fear of never trying, the fear of my children not being proud of their mom. The fear of not being the best I can be for me.