WHY DO WE FEAR SO MANY THINGS?
Fear has been a coping mechanism since the beginning of humanity. Fear is a primal instinct that has told us what we should draw in and avoid from day one.
However, somewhere along the way, those primal instincts – such as fight or flight – have jumbled up with our environments and cultures to be projections looking to serve as protection rather than logical rationalisations based on our perceived ability (or lack thereof) to confront them. How do we live from a place of love (instead of a place of fear)?
But what does it mean that we ‘project to protect‘? Well, that’s it; many of us fear what we don’t know. When we don’t know something, we have two choices; face it and educate ourselves OR make assumptions and (often) draw irrational conclusions to protect ourselves from pain or worse!
I lived in New York City – the Bronx – for years. And even now – living in Scotland – people say, ‘Oh, I couldn’t visit a place like New York. It looks so violent and terrifying and expensive.’ Even without so much visiting, they can draw that conclusion.How to live from a place of love (instead of a place of fear) #growthmindset #gratitude #journaling #courage Click To Tweet
The expensive thing is a rational fear, but many aspects of New York City are incredible, even magical! So, it’s sad to hear people say they wouldn’t ever want to experience visiting New York City because the only things they’ve ever known about it are its perceived negative aspects. They believe the trope that people in New York City are aggressive or unfeeling. Closing ourselves off to experiences is just like the example above. Closing off from potential and growth is how many live their lives from a place of fear.
Making decisions based on a perceived outcome of suffering or discomfort sets a dangerous precedent for other areas of our lives.
WHAT DOES LIVING FROM A PLACE OF FEAR LOOK LIKE?
Living our lives from a place of fear is stagnation. Living from a place of fear is about rejecting action towards anything unfamiliar. For example, I have a family member who is afraid to fly. She is scared of flying for several reasons.
However, her primary fear of flying isn’t claustrophobia, forgetting to pack enough socks, or even the airline’s beef stew (a healthy and rational fear!). At the top of the list of reasons my aunt won’t fly is that she is afraid to let a stranger (a trained professional pilot) get her where she needs to go.
Perhaps laced within my aunt’s fear is the fear of the plane having technical issues or turbulence from bad weather, but no matter which way we view her fear, it’s a fear of the unknown based on second-hand experiences and the illusion of control.
We all know people who fear or reject things without having any direct explanation. The explanation itself is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the reaction. Fear of rejection. Whatever it is, fear is at the root of that decision.
“The guy who takes a chance, who walks the line between the known and unknown, who is unafraid of failure, will succeed.”Gordon Park
Fear can be isolated to specific situations, but people can inherently live their lives in a permanent place of anxiety. When we live from this place, we close ourselves to connection, expansion, and ultimately, love.
WHAT DOES LIVING FROM A PLACE OF LOVE LOOK LIKE?
Living life from a place of love is an inside job. We have to decide that living in a place of fear is making our lives limited and miserable. It’s an experience of contrast and expansion.
Sometimes, we live from fear because we believe our external experiences are the absolute truth. We think we’re not worthy of things, which leads us to fear rejection that, in turn, causes us to fear the OUTCOME of taking a particular action rather than fearing the act itself.HOW TO LIVE FROM A PLACE OF LOVE (INSTEAD OF FEAR) Click To Tweet
WE MUST BELIEVE THAT WE ARE WORTHY AND CAPABLE
We must believe that we are worthy and capable. And these are not things we can switch on and off; feelings of worth and capability. Maybe throughout our lives, we’ve been told that we’re not good enough, which scared us out of trying new things.
So, what’s the solution? The solution is to move toward self-love. The solution is moving lives to a place where new experiences are opportunities to grow from and not just new ways to prove we are failures. A place where compassion is the key decision-maker when we decide if we’re brave for trying and failing or weak for having ever believed we are fearless.
HOW TO WORK TOWARDS LIVING LIFE FROM A PLACE OF LOVE
Seeing life and all of its obstacles as part of a co-creative prospect rather than a daily landmine of disappointments is not something that happens overnight. Let’s not forget that change in itself is something most people fear.
Thus, even decisions intended for personal growth can seem intimidating or terrifying. We can offer ourselves the best protection by turning inward, telling ourselves that stagnation and limitation are scarier places to exist than the unknown. The unknown has unlimited potential and opportunities.
Meditation is one of the best ways we can begin to live our lives from a place of love while removing limiting beliefs and fears. A meditation practice doesn’t have to mean hours spent in a quiet room with your thoughts – it can be in smaller increments, done with music or sound, or can even be incorporated into your exercise routine. Try this excellent 15-minute meditation for beginners as a way to get started with developing your meditation practice.
Benefits of regular meditation practice:
- Stress reduction
- Emotional growth
- Reduced levels of anxiety
- Inner connection / self-awareness
- Creates a mindset of kindness
- Decreases blood pressure
- Improves sleep
CHANGE THE STORIES YOU TELL YOURSELF
“Each one of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”Sheryl Sandberg
We are only as strong as the stories we tell about ourselves. And we are not only the author but the gatekeeper of this narrative. No two people interpret a story the same way. Why is this? Because stories resonate with our beliefs. We believe it is possible or impossible is rooted in our ability to see a deeper meaning in all we do.
We often interpret a situation as either good or bad, but nothing holds that much power. Too often, we forget the truth that without darkness, we can not know light. The stories we tell ourselves about the decisions we should have made differently or the people we shouldn’t have let into our lives always leave out their silver linings.
For example, people might spend years beating themselves up over not getting a job some years back. They interpreted that they didn’t get the job because of personal failure or setback. This interpretation is an irrational narrative because there may have been a person in-line to get that job all along, which had nothing to do with their abilities.
Yes, this is purely speculation but isn’t it also speculation that had they been offered that job, it would mean life would be better than it is now? Maybe yes, but perhaps no. The point is that when we tell ourselves a story repeatedly, it doesn’t make it any more real. It just makes it more believable. Repetition of a non-truth doesn’t make it any less of a lie.
And it’s time to start being more honest with ourselves by finding the strength and positivity in all that we’ve survived, rather than its limitations and failures.
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many of us struggle with feeling thankful and appreciative of all we have, especially during the pandemic. It is normal to feel like we lack messages all day, reminding us how much we need to have. A daily gratitude practice is one of the quickest ways to raise our vibration and one of the best ways to feel inner peace and security. Here are some ways to develop a daily gratitude practice.
Create a ‘gratitude jar’. Each morning, first thing, open the jar, pull out a strip of paper and centre your day around that thought of gratitude. Cut out some paper strips and write down one thing to be grateful for on each strip, like, ‘I am grateful for my health.’. Write out as many things that create an attitude of gratitude and place them in a jar.
Start a ‘gratitude journal’. If it is a struggle to come up with things to be grateful for during your day, start a journal to ask questions like, ‘what act of kindness happened to me/from me today?’ or ‘what was the best part of today?’ Spoiler: Even if the answer to the best part of today was leaving the office, be grateful for workers’ rights that allow for personal time and rest outside of work. Or be thankful that you have a job and the free will to look for something better. Always look for what there is to appreciate.
Tell one person a day that they make you grateful. We all have people in our lives who, even when they frustrate us, we couldn’t picture our lives without. Pick one of those people and let them know you’re grateful for their love, support, or friendship. Send a text if it can’t be said in real-time, but let others know that they are important, and for that, we are grateful.
A daily gratitude practice makes it difficult to focus on lack and negativity. We cannot have positive and negative through simultaneously – one will always overshadow the other. Focusing on what makes us appreciative and grateful makes it easier to see all we already have.
It is easy to feel afraid and protective over our hearts – especially in these times of uncertainty. However, if we see uncertainty as a pathway to potential and opportunity rather than a scary and sinister force, we can learn to live each day from a place of hope, acceptance, and love.