Fear can affect our ability to achieve many of the things we want in life—from financial freedom to interpersonal relationships to true love. Jean talks with life coach Martha Beck about the role of fear in dealing with defensive people, finding a soul mate and combating the "lizard brain."
Martha says that highly defensive people can be baffling to deal with, but if you realize their anger is rooted in fear, you can gain some insight. "When we're scared, we're scary," she says. People often become defensive because they're scared, but it rarely comes across that way. Martha says this is the kind of reaction that uses the "lizard brain"—an actual portion of the brain that creates two fear impulses: fear of not having enough of something, and fear that someone is out to get you. "The 'lack and attack' brain helps lizards survive in the wild," she says. "When we feel threatened, we revert to being dominated by the reptile brain."
So what should you do in a situation with a defensive person? Martha says you should take the high road and not come down to their level. "Kindness and humanity are going to rule the day if you can hang onto your purpose," she says. Assure the other person that everything is okay—your calming energy will send them out of their lizard energy into a place with no fear.
The same fear that causes defensiveness may also keep people from finding love, Martha says. "Most people supposedly looking for love are actually scared and running from it," she says. "There's always some kind of resistance. Very often it's fear of the consequences of intimacy—[you'll] get your heart broken or fall in love with the wrong person." In these cases, Martha says it helps to talk to someone with an outside perspective or to honestly look back at your history and find where you pulled back from an opportunity to fall in love. Martha says knowing who you are draws the right people to you. "You have to become more yourself, so you know what your soul looks like and you can find a mate."
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 13, 2013