"Fear will stop your love; Love will stop your fear"

We all long for connection, validation and understanding ("love") in our relationships, but often times, something triggers an old fear or vulnerability.

(For example, when my husband gets caught up in his work and seems to be overly stressed and not able to "be present" the way I'd like with the family, an old fear of mine gets triggered - rejection, not feeling important, etc. When I get critical of him - my typical reaction - a big 'ole rejection fear gets triggered in him. Not a pretty dynamic).

These fears, if not understood, can create distance or longing or struggle instead of connection and understanding.

However, by really truly listening to the other person, keeping our own fears aside for a minute, we promote understanding and connection (and love). And similarly, when we feel heard and understood and validated (rather than criticized, judged or ignored), we too feel safe, supported and loved (rather than afraid).

This concept applies to all relationships, including our relationship to ourselves (and specifically, our relationship to food, eating and our bodies).

Let me explain.


If you struggle with food, eating or your body image, this may sound familiar: You wish you looked differently. You wish your butt, your hair, your nose, your belly was different. You wish you ate better. You criticize yourself, often relentlessly. You may believe you are not good enough in some area of your life (I mean, geez, your kids aren't perfect and your house isn't immaculate). You may berate yourself for not doing more, being more, having more.

I get it - I really do. I've been there, and I still am there sometimes! We worry and we wish and we wish and we worry because, very often, we are tuning into our old, unresolved feelings and thoughts - thoughts and feelings that are full of judgments, beliefs, expectations...and most of all, fears.

These fears (fear of being rejected, fear of not being good enough, fear of being seen, fear of not being seen, etc.) and the resulting criticism, judgment, negative thoughts and hurtful actions are the OPPOSITE of what we need. What we really need is some variation of love: support, understanding, care, validation, empathy.

But instead, we do the opposite: we stress, criticize, minimize, maximize, ignore, or berate...and very often we disconnect from ourselves and our feelings (often using food)...all of which just perpetuate the struggling. We believe that if we just lost 10 pounds, started exercising, stopped eating sugar, got thin...THEN we could love ourselves.

(Well, I call "BS" on that! We've got it all backwards!)

Growth and change and health (whether personal or in relationships) do not happen with negativity and criticism and judgment and disconnection. Growth and change and health only happen with support and safety and love.


So what if you were to apply love, support or non-judgmental listening while in the midst of feeling frustrated or unhappy or afraid? (This is just what we want from our partners, right?) This would involve listening deeply to your thoughts and feelings as they arise, without judgment, and offering yourself support and understanding.

This would mean allowing your HUNGERS and your CRAVINGS and your PASSIONS (for food or otherwise) to exist, to just be what they are, so you can further understand them.

And it is from here, and only here, this place of understanding, compassion and love, where change is possible.

Love will stop your fear. And fear will stop your love.

(Oh, and by the way, this is no small gift to teach your children. Can you imagine if they learned deep self-love at their very core? Think about it).

Want to use this article in your next newsletter or on your website? You have my permission as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Schachter is a psychology of eating expert who is commited to helping women and girls develop positive relationships to food and their bodies. Ready to feel inspired and nourished? Get your FREE tips now at www.dishingwithyourdaughter.com