People will test us, especially the ones we love. In relationships imperfections, backgrounds, situations, and botched expectations combine and create misunderstandings, confusion, and hurt. Our first reaction, while often genuine, is usually not the most sensible. Gifting ourselves with a moment to evaluate decreases the chances that we’ll be overly emotional and complicate what is already difficult and uncomfortable. It is far more valuable to have an intentional response instead of a spontaneous retaliation.
Anger is the most common emotion tied to retaliation, but my experience with this lesson involved fear. I carried the assumption that people would choose to walk out of my life if they got too close. I feared them not loving me enough to stay once they moved beyond my positive demeanor and perpetual smile. My fear took on the form of retaliation when I failed to exercise the patience needed to have an intentional, loving response. Maintaining relationships while clutching that overbearing fear limited the depth of those connections and caused confusion, distress, and anxiety. In order for me to be healthy individually and as a friend, I needed to love without fear.
Irrational and overly emotional behavior or internal dialogue is rooted in fear. In order to decrease this damaging behavior and internal dialogue we must learn how to love without fear. When we love without fear we can exercise patience and give ourselves and those we love space, time, and sensitivity when needed. When we love without fear we can extend genuine warmth and thoughtfulness when others need it most, even when it's a sacrifice. When we love without fear we demonstrate selflessness. It's only when we love without fear that we are able to fully give and receive love.