Our fears reflect our hurts, according to Marianne Williamson. The parts of ourselves that we want to hide, to protect, to cover up and defend are those parts of ourselves, of our character, where we have been hurt in the past.
This makes perfect sense to me; the characteristics that I was praised for, I accept and allow to shine. The characteristics I was rebuked for or that were made fun of by the people who mattered at that time, I tend to hide. Yet most of those characterisitics are not necessarily 'bad'; they were just not acceptable then.
When they are pointed out now, I get defensive and either pull back or react unconsciously, attempting to distract my 'enemy' with a smart comment, joke, or an equally wounding observation about them. After all, we do know where our loved-ones buttons are located too.
The way to heal our wounds, thereby healing our fears, is through love and acceptance, Williamson says. When we are seen and accepted, without judgement, the wounded parts we hide seem to soften and, over time, they melt and disappear.
This is one of the spiritual purposes of intimate relationships, healing through love. When we provide a safe space for our loved ones to be, without censure or judgement, we create a healing space for them and for ourselves. When we accept them as they are, not for how we want them to be, we create a healing space for them and for ourselves.
I have to admit that I'm not there yet. I still give out to Dirk (thereby creating a wounding) for the most mundane things. But at least Williamson's perspective has given me a vision of how I would like our family life to be, a vision of a safe, loving and healing space for all of us. And it is towards that vision that I strive now, even if I haven't made it yet.