It is said that everything we think and do comes from either love or fear. I used to dispute this. But in the many years since first hearing it, I’ve been putting this theory to the test and I have to admit, it is the truth. When I take an honest look at my words, my reactions and my choices, every other feeling is rooted in either love or fear.
This can get a bit tricky sometimes, though. Sometimes I’ve thought I was doing something out of love. I love this person; therefore I am doing this loving thing, both of which may be quite true. But then how could it turn out to be something harmful or destructive to either me or the other person in some way? Can anything motivated by love actually be hurtful?
Well…yes and no. The “no” is the easiest bit; love, in and of itself, is not harmful or destructive. “Yes” if there is fear connected to it in some way – because the bottom line is, a choice that is ultimately destructive will still have been rooted in fear that lies beneath the love.
For example, there is a big difference between “I need you because I love you,” and “I love you because I need you.” In a relationship, it should be the former, but unfortunately, it is very often the latter, which is quite destructive.
When we are living in the latter situation, the love is driven by need – or in fact, it might actually BE need, more than it is love. And the need is driven by fear, for example a fear of being rejected, abandoned, alone or unloved. Therefore, although our actions might have a loving intent on the surface, they’ve really come from fear on an even deeper level. “I’ll do this for you because I love you and I’m terrified that you’re going to leave me, or stop loving me” (or whatever).
You might genuinely love someone for all he or she is – or isn’t – and how wonderful that is, unless that person is disrespectful to you, abusing you, or taking advantage of you. Love, in that case, is certainly not doing you much good on a personal level. And chances are that if you look beneath the surface, you’ll still find fear lurking there, fear that allows you to tolerate such behaviour.
When you allow yourself to examine your fears and perhaps discover what might have caused them, you can also allow yourself to heal them. And sometimes, even if you still carry the fear with you, you don’t have to let it make your choices. You can acknowledge it; you can even embrace it, and not let the fear stop you or be the reason for a decision that will ultimately hurt you.
You might be saying, “But wait a minute! Sometimes people do things out of anger or hurt or jealousy!”
Yes, that’s true. But if you peel back where those emotions come from, they will all be rooted in fear. For example, if you’re jealous about a woman at the office who keeps eyeing your husband, it is because you fear losing him to her. Greed might stem from a fear of poverty, or of being seen as inadequate or unsuccessful.
And how many parents do you know who are furious with their children for having gone missing or for doing something that could have hurt them? Their anger is borne out of a fear of losing them or seeing them suffer.
I’d love to say that I’ve healed enough or become spiritually connected enough that I’m finally beyond feeling fear. I’d love to tell you that I live in a constant state of peace and joy, never having a scary thought or a worry enter my head, let alone allow it to settle in my soul for any length of time.
But as much as I’ve learned, I’m still human and I have those off moments or days, especially if I’m extremely tired. It’s in those moments and on those days when I can still let fear creep back into my thought processes.
Thankfully, I recognise its hateful and ugly little spirit and if I were to make a decision in that frame of mind, it would always lead to a poor outcome. It’s taken many years of consistent effort but finally I can see through every brilliant facade that is manufactured by fear, and I’m well acquainted with the damage it can do. I respect how nasty it can be if I let it infiltrate my life and my choices. I’m not about to give it any such power or pleasure again.
When you can do this, you can see quite clearly if your choices are fear disguised as love, or whether they’re based on the real thing In all difficult moments, difficult interactions, frustrating and painful situations or stressful times, if you repeatedly – and honestly – check your motivation as you move through them, the best result will always – and only – come from love.
Check it out and see for yourself. You’ll discover that everything comes from one of only two places: love or fear. Which one have you been choosing?