Be Not Afraid of Love: Lessons on Fear, Intimacy and Connection

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Be Not Afraid of Love: Lessons on Fear, Intimacy and Connection

Be Not Afraid of Love: Lessons on Fear, Intimacy and Connection

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They cannot stop themselves from falling in love (again), but they can stop themselves from being in a relationship . The easiest way to do this is by entering the dreaded friend zone . Zhu might no longer be afraid of love, but other fears still linger with the release of their book. They’re afraid people will think they are “speaking out of their ass,” or that readers will think they don’t deserve the platform they have. They’re afraid that the inevitable criticism will affect their self-esteem, which they’ve worked hard to maintain. They are afraid that they’ll have nothing left to say after this book (they’ve already proven themself wrong, considering they’re currently working on another book). I was surprised to know Zhu has these insecurities — from the outside looking in, they seem charmingly at ease with themself. Then again, considering Zhu has taken everything that’s sacred to them and put it out into the world, it’s understandable. In their early twenties, queer Chinese-Australian writer and artist Mimi Zhu was a survivor of intimate-partner abuse. This left them broken, in search of ways to heal and find love again. They found that in words. In sharing their own intimate encounters with oppression, healing, joy and community, Mimi invites readers all over the world to reflect deeply on their own experiences, with the intention of acting as a guide to undoing the hurt or uncertainty within them. Do not force yourself to like things to get their attention. It will also raise alarms if you are “too perfect.” Limit your time alone together

When I was a teenager, I attended my po po’s (grandmother’s) funeral in Hong Kong. It was a traditional Buddhist ceremony held in a temple, and my extended maternal family had all come to pay their respects. As part of the sacred ritual, we prayed and chanted for nine hours to usher my po po’s spirit to the afterlife. Several monks guided our chants while we were kneeling, standing still, or walking in circles. It was pivotal to chant out loud so that her spirit could hear us, and the louder and more repetitive we were, the better. We had to commit to the melodies of the chant so that our message of grievance was clear. Her spirit needed to hear our grief so she could travel safely. It may sound like a silly question, but a lot of broken-hearted folks worldwide are now afraid of love. They are too scared to fall in love again for fear of reliving the unbearable pain they went through. Be Not Afraid of Love brings forward wisdom teachings like impermanence and the law of karma in a way that is accessible and relatable to a new generation. This book is bound to help those who are ready to reclaim their power.” Be Not Afraid of Love is a stunning collection of interconnected essays and affirmations that follow Mimi Zhu’s journey toward embodying and re-learning love after a violent relationship.When our grief is neglected and unfamiliar, we begin to isolate ourselves in confusion. We cannot see that there are whole and multidimensional beings around us who have experienced heartache, and we become ignorant to the fact that we can be supportive to one another during these painful times. In a world dominated by performances that encourage us to portray ourselves as our most joyful, we begin to assume that everyone is free of grief. Perhaps we just want to cry with one another without judgment, or weep by ourselves and know that we can process our grief with somebody we trust. What happens when I am no longer embarrassed of my grief, and I am surrounded by humans, plants, and animals who hold me while I cry? It's actually quite complicated because I think I go through phases sometimes where one moment I'll be “No, you're cut,” whatever. And then the next I'm “Oh, but people are not disposable.” It can be both ends, where, for example, if it's someone who you truly are realizing is causing you harm and has no accountability, then by all means for your own self-preservation, for your own healing, that relationship is no longer healthy. Maybe it needs some time. Maybe it needs some space, but I don't think that relationship can continue if there is no accountability or efforts there or if you've just tried so hard and there's just nothing you can do anymore. Mimi Zhu’s Be Not Afraid of Love is the kind of book that is effused with such candor and care that the words themselves become a salve. Zhu’s generosityto delve into their own life and circumstance to speak to the necessity of investing in love, in finding it in oneself, is such a tender and ripe offering. This is a book written for the community in an effort to help us all tend to ourselves in a deeper and more honestly profound way. This book will sit close to my heart for a long time. I am so grateful for Zhu’s words, mind, and existence.” Tender, insightful, and deeply affirming. These precious chapters are a nourishing constellation of hope, truths, new light,and the words on love and fellowship that we need;have always needed.” They are no longer willing to leave themselves vulnerable and open their heart and soul to a person and then be cast aside.

Talking about the future will have the same effect. It will remind them how they once had a future with their ex and how everything broke apart like a house of cards. There’s this trend lately, especially among online mental health communities, of encouraging cutting people off or walking away from anything that’s “not serving you.” While on the other hand, in the end, in the both ends of it, I also believe there's some people who are willing to try with you and they make mistakes, but if they do have a level of accountability. Similarly, if I have a level of accountability, there's like this mutual willingness to keep trying, then I don't believe that people should be cut off that easily. So I think it's deeply circumstantial, but I have always had an issue with the phrase “If they don't serve you, cut them off.” Nobody is born to serve anyone. I think we're here to be in relation with each other and every relationship is circumstantial to how you want to continue, how you want to nourish, or how you want to separate and detach. I think it's very much depending on the specific dynamics. Consider some of the most common fears about loving and being loved. Many people have fears when it comes to loving and being loved. Among those fears are the fear of getting hurt, fear of hurting someone, and fear of commitment. Consider these different types of fears and try to determine if your feelings align with any of these categories. [4] X Research source I noticed that with repetition, the chants began to envelop my body. They allowed a vital energy to be released from my soul, an energy that had long been constricted in my chest. During the lengthy ceremony, some of us wept in between chants, some of us chanted loudly then softly, and some of us needed moments of silence. There was no judgment, no hushing, and there was always immense respect. It dawned on me while I was chanting that this was the first major death I had experienced. I realized that the purpose of chanting was not only to usher my grandmother peacefully into the afterlife, but also to release our grief into the ether. It gave us a safe space to express how much we missed her and loved her.Take things slow. Don't think all the way to the end of the relationship—just focus on small steps, like making a phone call or going on your first date. [13] X Expert Source Donna Novak, Psy.D Mimi Zhu's Be Not Afraid of Love is the kind of book that is effused with such candor and care that the words themselves become a salve. I am so grateful for Zhu’s words, mind, and existence.” The more they see you are comfortable with “their crowd,” the more their defenses will consider you as a “safe” person. Do not talk about their past or future

Zhu embodies this ethos via “rigorous citation,” a framework they attribute to their friend, the theorist and performer Neema Githere. They cite several sources in footnotes throughout Be Not Afraid of Love, from books and TV shows about survivors that empowered them to tell their story (such as Carmen Maria Machado’s lauded memoir In the Dream House and Michaela Coel’s acclaimed HBO series I May Destroy You) to the IRL conversations they’ve had with friends and fellow organizers who have informed their politics. This practice is a textual enactment of love. Zhu constantly finds the political within the deeply personal, and vice versa. They don’t shy away from revisiting generational trauma in their family, which was impacted by their move from China to Australia, or delving into painful memories with ex-lovers. In one poignant section of Be Not Afraid of Love, Zhu processes their ex’s Asian fetish, drawing a line between X’s sexual interests and the history of orientalism, Western domination, and white supremacist ideology. As a writer working in memoir, how do you navigate writing about people you know and real life events? People who are afraid of love were most likely betrayed by their ex. One of the ways that betrayal manifested is through lies. It follows that they will detest lies and liars.

1. Real love makes us feel vulnerable.

How do we mourn the relationships that we have lost with people who are living? I have heard many friends describe breakups as a kind of death. X [my ex-partner, who was also my abuser] had not died, but our relationship was long deceased despite our toxic efforts to revive it. Our relationship had a soul of its own. We must remember that it is not love that that we are afraid of we fear the abandonment betrayal violence and abuse that come with the complexity of human trauma and the relationships” Fear of Hurting Someone Perhaps you have hurt people in previous relationships and it made you feel guilty. As a result, you might want to avoid getting into another relationship and causing the same pain to someone else who you care about.

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