Anais Nin wrote this in her diary, between 1947-1955 (it was later published in Volume 5 of her diaries)…”Anxiety is love’s greatest killer”.
The next bit of the quote:
“It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
And so anxiety doesn’t so much kill love. Love drops the anxious and moves on to sturdier ground. The anxious are left to fend for themselves.
Which is one of life’s cruelest ironies: the very people who need help, push it away at precisely the time they need it the most.
I’ve had many years alone to wonder why humans would evolve this way. Some could say it’s “survival of the fittest”; anxious types don’t help further humanity.
But the thing is, they have. And do. Research I’ve read over the years indicates a lot of village leaders or shaman displayed clear obsessive compulsive behavior. Their vigilance when it came to safety and hygiene served a critical role. A disproportionate number of leading minds in art, philosophy, literature and science were afflicted with bipolar or some other anxiety-related condition. Extended moods extend the human experience. It lunges us all forward into wonderful things.
So what’s the broader reason for anxiety killing love? I think it’s to push us back to love. Anxiety can be the very thing that pushes us to become our best person. When worked through, dug through, sat through, anxiety can be turned on its head. Anxiety doesn’t go away; you just flip to the other side of the same coin. And on this other side you find passion and bigness, and a desire to reach out and connect and …to love.
Anxiety can kill love. And then you realize you can flip the coin.