In their quest for power, some people manipulate, abuse, or destroy others. Their lust for power is based on fear. They erroneously believe that they have to control others, and whatever happens to them, in order to be in control of their lives. They have yet to understand that if we wish to control OUR lives, we need to control OURselves. Rather than trampling on others, we need to raise ourselves. And the best way to do so is to transcend ourselves. That is, we need to realize that there is more to life and the world than just ourselves. When we awaken to the fact that people are not here to serve us, but we are here to serve them, we awaken to a life of purpose, meaning, and significance.
We can live in one of two ways: in fear or in love. When we live in love, we live in a friendly, joyful world, but when we live in fear, we live in a hostile, scary world. The world we live in is a world of our own creation, for what we see is what we feel, and what we feel is what we believe. That is, if I were to believe that I live in a hostile world, that people are untrustworthy, and that life is full of suffering, that is exactly what I would experience, for our beliefs are self-fulfilling prophecies. An understanding of this is vital. For as Albert Einstein wrote, “The single most important decision any of us will ever make is whether or not to believe the universe is friendly.”
When we surrender to love, we become victorious over fear. But what do I mean by love? I mean the unconditional acceptance of all that is. That is, living without complaint and without demands. Another way to put it is, living with gratitude and appreciation. This way of life is natural and is the way we once were. Infants cannot help smiling, laughing, and squealing in delight, for they are in awe of life, trusting, fearless, and joyful.
So, what happened to change that? Caring for children who are anxious to explore and experiment with everything in sight is no easy task. Especially if mom is busy with two or more children at the same time. Her eyes cannot be everywhere. How can she remain vigilant and do her housework at the same time? Even the best of parents at times will lose their temper, express their frustration, or grow resentful. That’s understandable, isn’t it? But not to a 3, 4, or 5-year-old. For at that age, they lack the power of rational thought. But born with the capacity to recognize facial expressions, they know when mama and papa are angry, which makes them fearful.
Moreover, as children are exposed to occasional bouts of displeasure by their caregivers, they develop self-doubt. They grow to believe they lack the ability to fully cope with life. Born to live in love, they find themselves as adolescents and adults living in fear more often than not. The result? They experience frustration, shattered dreams, and mediocrity. Overwhelming success eludes them. At times they feel like prisoners of their own self-limiting beliefs, for their insecurities and fear limit their choices.
But for the fortunate few that live in love, their lives are characterized by freedom, empowerment, and happiness. For those who live without fear, there are no dead ends, only possibilities. They delight in what is, trust in the world, and have faith in themselves. Their relationships are free of conflicts and rife with cooperation, harmony, and mutual respect. For the contrast between living in love and living in fear, let’s turn to a poem written by Sarah Nean Bruce, for she skillfully portrays the differences.
LOVE VERSUS FEAR
By Sarah Nean Bruce
LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL (fear is conditional)
LOVE IS STRONG (fear is weak)
LOVE RELEASES (fear obligates)
LOVE SURRENDERS (fear binds)
LOVE IS HONEST (fear is deceitful)
LOVE TRUSTS (fear suspects)
LOVE ALLOWS (fear dictates)
LOVE GIVES (fear resists)
LOVE FORGIVES (fear blames)
LOVE IS COMPASSIONATE (fear pities)
LOVE CHOOSES (fear avoids)
LOVE IS KIND (fear is angry)
LOVE IGNITES (fear incites)
LOVE EMBRACES (fear repudiates)
LOVE CREATES (fear negates)
LOVE HEALS (fear hurts)
LOVE IS MAGIC (fear is superstitious)
LOVE ENERGIZES (fear saps)
LOVE IS AN ELIXIR (fear is a poison)
LOVE INSPIRES (fear worries)
LOVE DESIRES (fear Joneses)
LOVE IS PATIENT (fear is nervous)
LOVE IS BRAVE (fear is afraid)
LOVE IS RELAXED (fear is pressured)
LOVE IS BLIND (fear is judgmental)
LOVE RESPECTS (fear disregards)
LOVE ACCEPTS (fear rejects)
LOVE DREAMS (fear schemes)
LOVE WANTS TO PLAY (fear needs to control)
LOVE ENJOYS (fear suffers)
LOVE FREES (fear imprisons)
LOVE BELIEVES (fear deceives)
LOVE “WANTS” (fear “needs”)
LOVE versus fear: what do you feel?
Sarah Nean Bruce is a storyteller and filmmaker.
Read more from her at http://sarahneanbruce.wordpress.com
Shifting from Fear to Love
How Do We Turn Things Around?
1. In your dealings with people, choose to learn rather than judge. That is, instead of looking at people as good or bad, right or wrong, wonderful or nasty, look at them as good, right, and wonderful. Look for the good and you will find it and learn. Remind yourself that everyone deserves to be heard and understood. Use every interaction with people as an opportunity to practice love.
2. Would you do what a 4 or 5-year-old child told you to do? Every time you give in to fear, you are following the wishes of your 4 or 5-year-old inner child (your subconscious memories and beliefs). Isn’t it time to acknowledge that you are now an adult and your happiness is more important than playing it safe? Gently take the hand of your inner child and lead it to freedom and victory. Tell it that it has nothing to fear because you are big and strong enough to safely accomplish whatever you wish. And prove it to it and yourself by taking action. In other words, stop acting on the false beliefs you inherited as a child, and start using your skills as an adult to build new, positive beliefs based on reality, not on the fears of a child.
3. You don’t have to hold on to fear. You can release it. Let it go. For as Dr. Gerald G. Jampolsky says, “Love is letting go of fear.”
4. Start the day by choosing to feel grateful, looking for good, and remaining determined to make the world a better place for everyone you meet. As you grow increasingly grateful for what you have, you will grow less fearful.
5. Why are we so afraid of criticism? Remember how we developed self-doubt in childhood? Well, because of it, we believe we are defective. And we don’t want anyone to know our faults, so we build walls to conceal our imagined weaknesses. And once someone criticizes us, we believe our walls of defense have been breached, and the criticizer has discovered our defects. This embarrasses and angers us because of the fear of further discoveries. But if you remember that everyone shares the same fear and is equally vulnerable, you can change your feeling from one of fear to compassion. After all, why are you being attacked? It is only because of the insecurities of the attacker. Confident people who are at peace with themselves don’t go around attacking others!
6. Fear is often a signal that we haven’t yet coped with a situation. To overcome this fear, we need to face, think through, and resolve what is troubling us. Look at the issue for what it really is, not a ‘problem,’ but an opportunity to grow stronger and more creative. Once we embrace it, the fear will dissolve.
7. The surest way to get rid of fear is to do what we fear. For what blocks us is not horrible consequences of actions we wish to take, but horrible imagined consequences. And it is only when we act despite our fears that we discover they were the mere imaginings of a child. Allow this discovery to set you free.
8. It is important to remember that acquiescing to fear or standing up to it is a choice. You don’t have to act automatically. You can stop and reflect. Before acting, you can decide to do what is best, rather than what is easiest.
9. Practice this fear-busting exercise. Pick a time where you can spend five minutes thinking about something you would like to do but are afraid of. Next, imagine what you would think, do, and say if you were not afraid. Now pretend to be unafraid and write in a notebook what you, as a courageous person, will think, do, and say. Next, complete the following sentence, “These are some of the first steps I can take now…” Follow this by completing this sentence, “This is the first step I will take now (today, tomorrow, or on this date)… Finally, take the action you committed to. Repeat as often as necessary.
10. Take the time to regularly enjoy laughter, inspirational material, art, and nature. There is nothing like beauty and inspiration to remind you how much you love the world. Don’t get so busy or wrapped up in useless worry that you neglect this important practice.
Just as darkness is the absence of light, fear is the absence of love. To cultivate it, love those that hurt you, but never hurt those who love you.
And don’t allow fear to kill your dreams. Rather, kill your fear, for the birth of dreams begins with the death of fear. Are you now ready to choose how you will live from this moment on? Will it be the way of fear or the way of love?