Updated: May 29, 2019
When I first started the journaling through series, a ton of research went into how we can empower ourselves, not only to live but to thrive with confidence and inner peace. These sound like lofty ideas that can only be attained by a few gurus and masters who spent their lives searching for truth. Though self-help books are useful in understanding concepts, the real work happens when we put pen to paper and discover the truth for ourselves.
There are numerous institutions that study the psychological effects ecological fear, propelled by the climate crisis, political uncertainty and division, often created by opposite ends of belief systems are prominent in the workplace and at home, have on human wellness. The conclusions are that we are more distressed, anxious and angered as a result. Certainly the access to information via social media creates certain narratives, either based on fact or bias.
Fear is one of the first emotional responses, meaning that if something happened, or we hear something, our body’s first reaction is very intense. They are also the first emotions that we experienced when we are little. Fear, happiness, sadness and anger evolve into more complex emotions as we grow older and our outer worlds expand, however stay as our primary emotional foundation. In marketing, eliciting one of these emotions will be the strongest to move consumers to action.
Let’s take this concept even further, when there is a power imbalance for example, fear can be a powerful driving force to not speak the truth, to not act upon an injustice or to simply make a better decision for ourselves. When we as a species were still hunting food, fear elicited fight or flight but these two reactions are still just as valid today. Think of your own circumstances today, how much fear based decisions have you made in the past week? Fear can be as prominent as a threat or act of violence in the home, or as subtle as perpetuated constructive dismissal behaviour in the workplace. Fear is an easy way for the power dynamic to try and diminish our self-esteem and self-worthiness.
So what will happen if we choose love instead?
How will our lives change?
A common misconception is that choosing love is somehow weak, partisan or unattainable. I spoke to a person recently who has been in the education system in Canada since the beginning of her career. She mentioned that after a training session they were introduced to a new way of interacting with the children. Instead of asking the children what they wanted to be when they grow up, we should be asking who they want to become. This is an incredibly powerful phrase. Inner reflection and connecting to our core values are at the base of thriving as a human being.
When we choose love, our lives become open to new possibilities, other points of view and we see the world differently. We will no longer subscribe to the narrative of fear based politics, workplace oppression or threatening home life. Choosing fear is sometimes easier to do, it’s an emotion we have had since our beginning, and perhaps needed in the past in order to escape dangerous circumstances. Fear is where the ego lives, we could even be comfortable in fear, because it resonates with a part of us that we perceive as needed in order to survive.
When we choose love, we actively step out of our comfort zones. This means that we may need to let go of some relationships, move to a different location, give up a career that we deemed as the ultimate social status or simply change our attitude regarding a certain topic. Early in my own career I was given the advice that it’s better to stick with the devil you know that the one you don’t. This is fear based advice at its best and emphasizes the idea that pursuing a different life, in line with my passion and values are somehow contrary to being stable and planning ahead. My personality does not align with a spur of the moment type, I was simply listening to my inner voice and mapping out my next step.
However, if we suppress our feelings surrounding a fear-based environment, we are depriving ourselves from living a fulfilled life. Let’s be clear, living a life based in love isn’t airy-fairy, non-factual, impractical or a complete disregard for order, just let everything go. On the contrary, it is simply a way of living, an attitude, a foundation of healthy and good decision making based on a core value: Love. Fear on the other hand is bred from insecurities, uncertainty, unknown information and unpredictability.
Imagine choosing love as it is explained below:
Love is patient and knows when to move on and let go.
Love is kind and understands that compassion for others and self-preservation are essential to a healthy life.
Love does not envy, instead it celebrates the joyous victories of others.
Love does the right thing, because it’s the right thing, without the need to boast.
Love is proud of its accomplishments to create value and serve others.
Love does not dishonour others, instead it creates a space for others to grow.
Love is not egocentric, instead values the humanity in all people.
Love is not easily angered, as it understands that anger is a messenger emotion for a trigger.
Love keeps no record of wrongs, instead love journals through the tough times.
Love does not delight in evil or division, but rejoices and speaks truth to power.
Love protects values, self-esteem, unity, dignity and equality.
Love trusts the process of enlightenment.
Love actively shines the light of hope in dark times.
Love safeguards integrity and aligns to the higher purpose.
Journal down what will happen when you choose love over fear in your life.
Keep Journaling, Keep Growing.