Today you have two choices.
You can act from a place of fear or you can act from a place of love.
I used to have a visceral reaction in my gut when I heard people talk about love like this. It made no sense to me and it rubbed the academic in me the wrong way.
“Listen you hippy, take off the Birkenstocks and put down your granola long enough to listen to yourself. The world is not full of love! It’s full of pain and betrayal and broken hearts. Stop with the idealism and float back down to earth to see what’s really going on!”
I still agree that the world has pain, betrayal, and broken hearts, but it’s also full of a lot more than that. Not everyone I meet is cold and jaded, not every experience I have is a negative one.
Life consists of what a person is thinking about all day. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Over the last several months, I’ve taken a good long look at the person staring back at me in the mirror and asking what it is she was so afraid of.
In the past, some of these things included:
Fear of giving up my eating disorder
Fear of letting go of an unhealthy relationship because I was scared I’d never find someone else
Fear of applying to my dream university for my undergraduate degree
Fear of putting myself out there and being around people
Fear of rejection
Fear of failure
Fear of imperfection
Fear of the unknown
I spent so much of time and energy being enveloped by fear that I came up with excuse after excuse to not live. Somewhere along the line I made the choice that sacrificing my authenticity was a good alternative to being uncomfortable and vulnerable because I put myself out there.
If you want the whole thing, the gods will give it to you. But you must be ready for it. --Joseph Cambell
What happens when you abandon who you really are and the life you really want to live is that you feel it. You walk around every day with that nagging feeling that this is all wrong. You know that you don’t want to be in this job, you know that you need to get out of that relationship or you want in another one, you know that there’s something more out there for you and yet you stay where you are.
I get it.
It’s a lot easier to stay miserable or unhappy than it is to try and heal all your emotional baggage so you can move forward. The question you have to ask yourself is: Is it still worth it??
Sometime last fall, I decided it wasn’t. Walking around London with my best friend last October helped me remember that I want more out of life, and that started with cutting off the dead limbs, as painful as it was, and moving on.
I decided that love for myself was more important than fear of the unknown.
It was damn difficult but oh how thrilled I am that I took that first step.
I cut off and cut out the people and parts off my life that no longer served me and almost immediately, new people with kinder hearts showed up.
I decided that I was no longer going to live with depression, so I took the steps I needed to create a healthier mental environment, and today I’m happier than I have ever been.
What I learned about fear is this:
Fear is natural but not always rational
Acting from a place of fear creates self-fullfiling prophecies and situations that perpetuate the cycle of fear
Learning to act from a place of love or hope will help diminish fear and the situations that cause it
When I act from a place of fear, I over think. Instead of just letting life, actions, and words flow from a genuine and natural space within me, I try to force my way through the world. That happens a lot to me on the blog; I tend to get fearful about what other people will say or think and wonder whether or not what I’m saying is helping anyone.
What I’ve learned is that when I let it all flow from me, when I act from a place of self-love and love for others, the message that needs to be conveyed will come out and those who need to hear it will find it. Judging myself is not going to help anyone.
Anybody can learn to make that shift from acting from a place of fear to acting from a place of love. What that really means is that you have decided to be courageous and to act in spite of fear, not because of it.
Fear will still come up, you just have to decide how to use it and when to use it. When I feel fear (and I feel it very viscerally in my gut), I know that something is pushing a button of mine. When I feel fear, I use it as a sign to be introspective and ask myself what’s going on. Then I get to make a decision to act on fear, which generally keeps me feeling small, unimportant, and powerless, or I choose to act from love, which keeps me feeling hopeful, powerful, and strong.
Any feeling of discomfort or stress is an alarm that lets you know you’rebelieving an untrue thought -Byron Katie
Ways to Act From Love Instead of Fear
1. Remember that you create your world. If you let fear interfere with your life today, you will breed more fear. Make the choice to act in a way that will bring you closer to your dreams and your life’s purpose.
2. Do life experiments. Today, keep a tally of the amount of times fear comes up or you don’t do something you want to do because you are scared (of failing, of judgment, of rejection, etc). At the end of the day, look at the tally marks because those are all missed opportunities to change your life.
3. Be brave, be bold. What is one of your biggest fears? Write it down. Now draw a pathway or a picture of a mountain. At the beginning of the pathway is you now (or bottom of the mountain), and at the end (or top of the mountain) is you conquering your fear. What are the steps you need to do to get there? Do step one today.
Fear: That I will slip back into depression
Love: Do everything in my power today to make sure I don’t feel depressed today
It’s easy to get caught up in the future, or “future-tripping.” It’s easier to spend our time worrying about what will happen tomorrow instead of focusing on what we can do today, right now, at this moment. Today I will: go for a run (because it makes me feel strong, powerful, and confident), meet with mentor and be honest with her (because if I’m not honest, it’ll end up hurting ME), and go to Target to get a notebook so I can do my work for this course I am participating in (because it fills me up and nourishes my spirit).
4. Write a letter to fear and a response back.
5. Get clear on who you want to be and what you want your life to look like. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to act from love because you won’t be clear on your life goals. When you have the destination in mind, only then can you begin the journey to actually get there. If you live in America, you can’t get to Australia by driving a car, so plan accordingly.
Today is the day you change your life…if you so choose.
For more of the Missing Link Series, click below: