How facing our fears increases our capacity to love
Love is the opposite of Fear. Hate, jealousy, doubt, anger, violence are all the progeny of Fear. If you feel hatred, it is because you fear the subject of your hatred. If you feel jealous, it is because you fear not having something. If you doubt, it is because you fear what comes next and so on and so forth. All of these feelings are perfectly natural in our human experience and should not necessarily be denied but we can so often be unconscious of just how much our fears shape our decision making processes on a day to day basis. And that is the real power of Fear, the way it secretes into everyday, apparently minor decisions and therefore shapes our reality.
Love is the opposite of Fear. If you experience Love (I don’t mean sexual, romantic or familial love), the unconditional Love that stems from the secure knowledge of the interconnectedness of all things and the sense of compassion and empathy that comes with that awareness. If you can accept this truth, you are far less likely to experience Fear and therefore less likely to be inclined to hate, be jealous, doubt or resort to violence.
The only way I have found that works is to bring what is unconscious into the conscious. That requires slowing right down and, before reacting to any stimuli or making a decision of any kind, ask yourself first if this action or decision comes from a place of Fear. For instance, you may secretly desire to take a particular dance class. You instinctively know you would really enjoy dancing but your ego decides against it because it doesn’t want to make a fool of itself. You/your ego have sabotaged an opportunity you instinctively know would bring you joy because of Fear. You/your ego fears being a failure before you have even started. Instead, the feeling is buried, dismissed as stupid, and then you reach for your mobile phone and scroll through facebook to take your mind away from the painful truth that you did indeed act out of Fear.
Had you taken the time to make your fear conscious and asked yourself why you really don’t want to go, you would find your excuses flimsy and invalid. Your ego would be exposed as fragile and brittle. Acknowledging this and then acting from a place of Love, you would understand you fully deserve every opportunity to experience joy, whatever form it takes and that any perceived judgement from others (including your own ego) is empty and meaningless.
Now, this is actually much easier to do when faced with big decisions because we tend to take a little more time over them anyway. What’s really difficult but much more rewarding is taking this time before all the tiny little decisions you would normally make almost instinctively. Learning to pause, ask whether your immediate choice of action or response comes from a place of Fear or Love and then choose Love...That’s really difficult. The ego throws up all sorts of nonsense in a bid to remain in control and keep you fearful. At these times, try to acknowledge that the ego is working and you’ll already have taken a step in the right direction.
Once reading this blog, you may think, “Yes, that’s right, I believe that,” or you may not. But in order for anything to change you really need to practice Love. It’s not enough to intellectually or even emotionally acknowledge that this resonates with you as truth. You actively have to practice Love and face your fears everyday, as often as possible. Remember, if your thoughts or emotions are of anger, resentment, hatred, jealousy or doubt, it is because you fear something, so be conscious of your emotions. Feel them. Don’t deny them but ask why you feel that way and if the answer is because you fear something, then try to act in spite of that fear. Bring it into your conscious mind and examine what it is about that situation that you fear. It takes great courage to do this, so be gentle on yourself and try not to judge yourself too harshly for any perceived failures or setbacks. What is important is that you continue to practice, continue to bring your fears into your consciousness and examine them objectively. They will soon begin to dissolve and your capacity for loving yourself (most importantly) and then others, regardless of their thoughts or actions, will increase. And it’s through that practice of Love that we find Peace.
Your future is made up of your present decisions and if you act from a place of Love as often as you can, that means your future will be filled with more Love and less Fear. As your actions increasingly come from a place of Love, so your future will increasingly be filled with Love. Only you are responsible for your actions. You can choose to act from a place of Fear. Or you can choose to act from a place of Love. It’s entirely up to you. But don’t be surprised by the result, be it positive or negative. You are responsible for it. So, what’s it going to be?
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