Monday, February 7, 2011

Love vs. Fear

Love is a funny thing. The feeling can be described in so many different ways. It's a noun and a verb. You can be open to it, guard yourself from it, let it devastate you, act out of character because of it, feel broken when it is no longer or simply experience it when it is present. Sometimes we mistake it for fear.
While my past "daddy issues" kept me on the run from the love of others for so many years, I've always felt God's love for me. And, I am now recently overwhelmed by all the ways I've come to experience it. Of course, I've loved, and continue to love, people from my mother, my sister, friends, children, and yes even my ex husband for the amazing, present and participatory father that he is. However I had not allowed myself to truly receive it from sources other than God and family. 

Someone wrote something on Facebook the other day that basically said you shouldn't love someone for a reason, because that reason may go away, then what will you do; you should love them.  I thought to myself, "how true". However, on the one hand, I have a fundamental and basic love for most people. It is a love that comes from the understanding that we're all spirits in this human experience together. It allows me to meet people where they are and to let go of any expectations (except that they won't physically harm me or my family) around what they can and can't provide to me. It helps me to see the foundation from which they draw from and why.
I even have a really healthy and unconditional love for myself. With all of my flaws, goof ups, silliness and mistakes, I dig this chick (smile). I believe that I am worthy of love from me and from others, though they may not choose to give it to me. No worries here. I have enough for me to compensate for anyone who decides to withhold it. LOL! 
Something interesting I'm learning is that many people are lacking the love of self and searching for it elsewhere. They are awaiting their knight in shining armor to bestow the love upon them that has eluded  them for so long. It may be in the form of a baby, a lover (or many of them), a husband, a friend, a group, family, etc. The obvious problem with this is that you are now leaving the opportunity to experience love in the hands of someone that you have absolutely NO control over. If this is your only source then what happens when it's gone?
Sometimes we do things out of fear and call it love. People who manipulate others while in a relationship may believe they are doing this because they love the person, when actually they simply fear losing them. A parent may talk their child into going to college nearby because they "love" them and want to protect them, when they are actually fearful of not having them close to them. Someone may accept bad treatment from someone, stating "I know they love me" when really it is the fear of being alone that helps them to rationalize it.
There is a magnificent power in love. When we act from this place, it helps us not to be jealous, to spread gossip, withhold information, manipulate people, lie, or wish anything but the best for them even when the best may not include us. You are whole and enough in your own right.
There is a debilitating power in fear. It keeps us on the defensive, always protecting our territory and working against the very purpose we were placed here to accomplish. Fear keeps us pretending things are okay when they're not, looking for love in all the wrong places, sticking it out when we should go (from a job, relationship or bad habit) and other anti love acts.
You know you're acting out of love when you can let go to the connection of the end result. For instance, you give someone a suggestion that will help them regardless of whether you get recognition or payment, when you make a tough decision to cut off a relationship that is harmful to your spirit, when you're honest with someone even though it will make you uncomfortable, etc.
In what areas of your life might you be acting out of fear being disguised as love? How might your life change if you made all of your decisions from a place of love? Can you think of any time when acting out of fear is healthy?
Love lives in the Land of Authenticity and Truth. Fear hides out in the Land of Make Believe.

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