The Opposite of Love Is Not Hate, It's Fear
One on man’s innate feelings is fear which is a natural response to danger. Fear helps us survive but also limits us.
When we are afraid, our body reacts with increased blood pressure, our pupils dilate and our heart pumps blood at high speed. But sometimes fear is only in our mind because it can be imagined when there is no real danger.
“Love without measure, without limit, without complication, without permission, without courage, without advice, without doubt, without price, without a cure, without anything. Do not be afraid to love, you will shed tears with or without love.”
There are many types of fear. We can be afraid of failure, rejection, loss of power and change. When we’re afraid we don’t make decisions, we are not creative and above all, we are not happy.
Carl Gustav Jung, the great Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, argued that we all have certain traits that we hide. From the time we were little we realized that this was necessary if we wanted to be accepted.
The set of features that we do not accept in ourselves is like a shadow that emerges at some point in our lives. Next to “the shadow,” we develop what Freud called “the ideal ego,” which is a self that we create to fit our environment and not be rejected.
The rejection of the shadow causes many problems because when we do not accept ourselves out of fear, we do not love ourselves. Fear is the opposite of love.
What would you do if you were not afraid to accept yourself, recognize yourself, or be rejected? You’d be free and would enjoy the love you have for yourself and others.
“Everything that irritates us about others can help us to understand ourselves.”
-Carl Gustav Jung-
What is the opposite of love?
Hatred or “odium” in Latin, is the rejection of someone or something. It’s actually useless. What good is hate? Nothing. We’re just going to feel bad ourselves.
Paulo Freire, a Brazilian expert on education says: “The opposite of love is not, as we many times or almost always think, hatred, but the fear to love, and fear to love is the fear of being free.”
Love softens you, fear hardens you. Love opens the universe, fear isolates you in yourself.
Why are we afraid to love?
“Fear is the most difficult emotion to handle. You cry the pain, you scream the anger, but fear is docked silently in your heart.”
Love is always a risk. Each time we have to take that risk by living life and experiencing the passion of love. Our past experiences and our beliefs limit us and induce our fear to love.
Our fear of love stems from our lack of love for ourselves or lack of self-esteem. If we cannot love ourselves, how can we love another person?
In order to love ourselves and others, we must grow in self-esteem. The Argentine psychologist, Walter Riso, proposes some keys to improving self-esteem:
- Encouraging self-praise. Every time we do something good or positive, we should praise ourselves. Look how well I did!
- Rewarding yourself. Any achievement of our lives, no matter how small, deserves an award. The prize can be something simple that we like and enjoy.
- Eliminating repressive beliefs that keep you from strengthening yourself. Although sometimes we put limits on our feelings, sometimes we let them out. What’s wrong with mourning in public or showing your love for someone to others?
- Not being ashamed of your success and your efforts, but rather enjoying them.
The extreme case of the fear of loving is philophobia. A person with philophobia is intensely afraid of falling in love with someone else, committing to another person, and maintaining intimate relationships.
The philophobic people use various mechanisms to defend themselves from love and stay in their comfort zone:
- They fall in love with impossible people.
- They start relationships that are bound to fail because the two people are very different.
- They provoke fights with the other person in order to cause the other to end the relationship.
- They tend to look for faults with the other person as a way of justifying themselves.
How can we overcome the fear of love
Being afraid of love is a normal feeling when we have had bad experiences, but we must not allow it rule our lives. The fear of love must be confronted face to face, without running away.
If you are afraid of having a relationship with another person, you should let them know so they can be involved.
Communication is essential to overcome our fears. It is also necessary to leave behind past relationships and live in the present every day.
“Not loving out of fear is like not living for fear of dying.”