“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
― John Lennon
Why do we act the way we do sometimes? Why do certain people or events upset us so much? And why do we treat others so poorly sometimes? No matter how nice we are, we’ve all had our moments of anger, jealousy, rage, envy. These emotions have driven us to do some not so nice things to others.
Let’s look at four basic examples.
We’re out with our boyfriend and catch him looking at another woman. We fly into a jealous rage and unreasonably accuse him of cheating, or we give him the silent treatment for the next three days and the only word he gets out of us are “fine.” or “Whatever.”
We’re overlooked at work for a promotion we’ve worked so hard for. We were sure it was meant for us. But what do you know, that character down the hall got it. What? But he goofs off all the time, he doesn’t work nearly as hard, and he’s really popular. We just can’t bring ourselves to say congratulations.
Two of our best friends go out on Friday night, and we don’t get an invite. What the hell? We spend the evening at home sulking, feeling sorry for ourselves, and eating all the sweets in the house.
Our needy mother hits us with the “You’re never there for me when I need you.” guilt trip again, despite the fact that we’ve taken her to two doctor’s appointments in the past week alone, did all her laundry, and patiently listened to her describe, in detail, every ache, pain, and bowel movement. We’re riddled with guilt regardless, and the injustice of it all has us losing sleep for days.
There are many, many circumstances that crop up in our daily lives that fill us with negative emotions. Anger, jealousy, guilt, powerlessness, and insignificance just to name a few. They swirl around inside us, breaking us down, stressing us out, causing health problems, and affecting how we respond to the actions of others around us. Fear says “Give away your power, peace, poise, and self-respect.
Are these feelings justified in all of the above instances? They’re certainly understandable, but they aren’t necessary. Reacting to another’s behavior in a negative way is always a choice.
There are only two true emotions that exist. Love and fear. If you’re not acting out of love, then you are acting or reacting out of fear.
Every negative emotion that exists is rooted in and driven by fear. If you’re feeling a negative emotion, then it is fear driven, no question. We must ask ourselves in a bad moment, “What is it I’m afraid of?” Once we understand something, fear loses it’s control and we can respond from love. Love is the opposite of fear. It is empowering, uplifting, exhilarating, and expansive.
Let’s revisit the examples above.
In the first scenario, jealousy takes over. Jealousy is an ugly green monster that will ruin a relationship quicker than fake ice cream melts at the local buffet. The underlying fear here is our boyfriend finding someone more attractive than us, or worse, that we will lose him and wind up ‘gasp’ alone. Is this a reasonable fear? Let’s keep in mind that we don’t usually go out with someone we aren’t really attracted to in the first place. It makes sense that he already thinks we’re pretty hot right? And if he’s the type of guy who would drop us for someone else based solely on looks, then we don’t need him anyway. We need to be alone so there’s a space open for the right guy. We deserve the best after all.
The second scenario shows us envy. We’re so upset at being overlooked for a promotion we can’t bring ourselves to congratulate our coworker. What is the fear driving this emotion? Perhaps it’s that we’ll never be good enough, we aren’t really liked as much as we thought, we just don’t have ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is. Maybe it’s this fear that’s preventing us from being promoted in the first place. Are we pointing fingers with blame and refusing to take responsibility for our mistakes, wearing our lack of self confidence like a big neon sign hanging around our neck? With this fear acknowledged for what it is and set aside, we can walk up to our coworker, pat him on the back, congratulate him, and truly mean it. And then we can focus on the next promotion go around.
In the third scenario, we’re sitting at home, sulking and eating anything remotely resembling chocolate. (Admit it, you’ve contemplated melting down that nasty baker’s chocolate and adding some sugar. Maybe mixing it in some milk. Mhmm. . .I know.) The fear in this instance is not being loved or wanted. Listen, we know this just isn’t true so put down the chocolate and walk away. Let’s stop feeling sorry for ourselves and go text our friends and tell them to send us pics of all the hotties at the club. Maybe we’ll even get a hookup.
In the fourth and final scenario we have the guilt trip. And it doesn’t have to be our mother. We all have someone in our lives who has nothing better to do than remind us where we’re falling short. As we carry this guilt trip around, now actually avoiding this person as much as reasonably possible, and staring at our phone when it makes noise like there’s an 8 foot boa constrictor hiding under it, we must ask ourselves what it is we’re afraid of. (Bet you knew I was going to say that.) In this case it’s a fear of disappointing a parent or perhaps other family members that count on us. Set this fear aside and calmly and lovingly express our needs and set limits and boundaries that make our daily existence more tolerable. And kiss that nasty guilt goodbye.
We’ve covered four everyday examples where fear is involved and we probably didn’t notice it for what it is, but what about how others are behaving. The next time we see someone losing their business all over the place and perhaps even pointing the finger at us, we have to ask ourselves what it is they’re afraid of. What is the fear driving their behavior? Once we put a face on it, we see this person in a whole new light, and we can respond more lovingly to them. Take it a step further and start offering a heartfelt well-placed compliment or thank you here and there, and we may see a whole new person begin to emerge.
Fear has been the catalyst behind every rotten thing that we as humans create in this existence. It’s definitely time to eradicate fear from our lives. Fear on a large scale has driven wars, hate crimes and bigotry, and divides us as a species. Taking the time to think about what we’re feeling and what’s driving it on a personal level is the first step in changing this on a global scale.
A life without fear is a truly joyful experience. We can choose today, right this minute, to no longer be controlled by fear. We can fill our lives with peaceful, tranquil moments and exhilarating experiences if that’s what we want.
There are only two true emotions. Love and fear. If we’re not acting out of love, we’re acting out of fear. What are we afraid of?
Wishing you a magic filled day,