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To some degree we all fear abandonment. In fact, we often go to great lengths to hide our shame in order to finally be chosen, included, and accepted by others. And understanding this common fear allows us to offer grace to each other.

Some people have a constant need to be with others, while others are very comfortable with an abundance of solitude.

But either way, no one wants to be utterly alone – completely disconnected from everyone.

We were created for relationships  – a place to call home with others and be fully accepted without shame.

This is what Adam and Eve experienced before sin entered the picture – the joy of being naked and without shame. There was no fear of being rejected or counted as unacceptable.

But these are regular fears for us now. And like them, we hide with our very own custom fig leaves.

We fear that somehow we’re not good enough to be truly loved and accepted in the deepest part of our being.

And so we adopt various masks to hide our shame and manage our fears.

For instance, we might play Mr. Tough Guy – believing somehow we can be tough enough to overcome our vulnerability of needing others.

Or we might play Mr. Nice Guy – the cuddly little puppy that seeks to win the affection of all around.

Likewise, we might also play Mr. Isolation – keeping others at arm’s length before they get a chance to reject us.

In the end, we long for connection but fear our naked vulnerable self is not good enough. And, unfortunately, many of our attempts to manage our fears actually keep us from the connections we desire.

Understanding we all desire deep connection and fear abandonment allows us to graciously address the many crazy things we do in relationships.

Shame and fear is often at the root of many of our relational disruptions.

Acknowledge your fears and courageously risk vulnerability to open the door to deeper connections.

Photo by Courtney Clayton on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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