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Fear can affect every single person on this planet, at any point, for any reason. If you think about it, truly any decision we make in this world comes down to one of two reasoning’s: out of love for something, or out of fear of something. Often it is a response from the fight or flight reflex.
Any variation of “choose love, not fear” is great advice, but gives no indication of how, which more often than not leads to being a cute bumper sticker or a tattoo on your wrist instead of an actual concept you live by (not that either of these are wrong by the way, but living a way and talking about a way of living are two very different things)!
The Difference between living in love and living in fear
Living a life out of love will boost your confidence, give you a sense of satisfaction and joy you can’t imagine, and freedom you could otherwise only dream of. Living a life out of fear will hold you back from building a great life, destroy any sense of confidence or imagination, and center your life around anxiety and dread.
If this sounds dramatic, just think about it. Take a job example:
Love: living a life out of love will help you find the perfect job! You will make decisions that make you happy, which will help you make the right decisions to help you to create a career you enjoy, surrounded by co-workers you relish in the company of and whom appreciate you. Decisions based out of love help you find satisfaction.
Fear: living a life out of fear will help you find a job you dislike. You will make decisions that hold you back because you may be afraid of making the wrong one or upsetting someone else. You will end up in a series of jobs instead of a fulfilling career, or a job you simply resent, surrounded by co-workers you dislike and/or don’t appreciate you. Decisions based out of fear lead you to find dis-satisfaction in your life.
Living your life in love based decisions doesn’t mean you will have the perfect life with only happiness. But it does mean you will make decisions to benefit you in a healthy and joyful way, as opposed to not making any decisions at all or making them for the wrong reasons. However, another important component is understanding that love based decisions don’t always directly benefit you – they may benefit someone you love instead. This is not a selfish way of living, its simply a life full of love.
Signs you may be living in fear
If you think you may be living in fear, chances are you probably are. But if you aren’t sure, consider the questions below. If you answer yes to just one, you have some reevaluating to do!
- When considering a life changing decision you strictly consider how it will affect a loved one but not yourself.
- You find yourself constantly belittling or demeaning yourself.
- You avoid making any decision that has risk of failure.
- You have a difficult time letting go of something after completing/accomplishing/winning etc.
- You often feel surrounded by darkness or isolated from people.
- You find yourself critical or judgmental of others.
- You tend to drop hobbies, or jobs when things get difficult.
- You have a hard time maintaining relationships.
If you answered no to all, congratulations you are doing amazing! If you found yourself answering yes to any, it’s okay, we’ll help you open yourself up to love! And if you found yourself answering no, but still feeling unsure, there is always room for improvement so let’s discuss how!
How to choose love over fear
Choosing love over fear can be intimidating, but the trick is to create a lifestyle choice of love. Once you do, you’ll find choosing love to be natural and beneficial without even trying. Let’s explore the 4 easy steps:
1 | Evaluating Your Automatic Response
The first step is recognizing whether your automatic response to any situation (such as the ones listed above) are being triggered by love or fear. To do so, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the worst thing that could happen if I say “yes” to this situation?
- What is the best thing that could happen if I say “no” to this situation?
Sometimes, to get an authentic answer you will need to separate yourself from the situation, try asking yourself by inputting a loved ones name instead of yours. Having a realistic view of the outcomes of any situation will allow you to compare and contrast with your automatic response.
For example: If the situation was to accept a job offer or not.
–Yes: Could be a pay increase, potentially a better career trajectory with possibility for new friends.
–No: Stay with a low paying job with minimal to no career trajectory and no new friends.
Now compare this to your automatic response of “no”, and you’ll see that your decision was based on fear of something new. However, if your automatic response was “yes”
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2 | Seek Positives
Now that you know for sure your decision is out of fear, the next step is to kill it with kindness (to yourself)! This step is to surround yourself with positive thoughts so try any (or all) of the suggestions below:
- List the positives – find the positives in making a love based decision in this situation. You already started it in the previous step, so keep going. Try to find 10, or 20, or even 30! Go as far as you can, (tiny ones count too!) until you can’t remember a single reason why you wouldn’t make that decision!
- Positive affirmations – you deserve a joyful, positive life. Adding daily affirmations can help you lead the life you want to live. Sign up for my newsletter and get 365 positive affirmations sent right to you!
- Increase your confidence – confidence breeds more confidence, try some confidence boosting exercises to increase yours to make a more confident decision!
3 | Understand Your Fear
The next step is to evaluate the fear itself. Why are you feeling this way? Why does the fear control you? Fear is a natural instinct, and it is absolutely there for a reason. Even with all of the positives we have explored, there still may be a very good reason for fear to be a logical response. So, take a look at the negatives you explored in step 1, and consider each answer logically. Consider the follow questions as you compare the negatives in step 1, with the expanded list of positives in step 2.
- Do the negatives out weigh the positives? How about vice-versa?
- How will these negatives affect the people around me?
- How will these negatives define me or affect my future?
- Is my guttural instinct trying to tell me something? What?
- Is there an underlying reason to this fear? Such as anxiety disorder? Depression? etc.? If this is possible, speaking to a therapist should be your next step!
Exploring these questions, and any other critical ones that will help you define and ultimately understand your fear will help you better understand your relationship with the fear, and how to proceed.
4 | Conquer Fear
Assuming the answers you discovered in step 3 haven’t changed your course, its time to conquer the fear! The best way to conquer fear is to look at it straight on and do the opposite it says. But if you still find yourself with hesitation, there are two more things to try:
- Buddy System: Find someone who can hold you accountable, and be your personal cheerleader. It could be a friend, a colleague, a sibling, even a journal! Finding someone you can be honest with, and they can be honest back will allow you to work through the fears from a different perspective!
- Small Bites: in customer service we call this finding a way to say “yes” even when the answer is no. This system is about taking small steps towards conquering the fear without jumping in all the way. So find a small way to say “yes” to the situation, even when fear is telling you “no”. Taking the job example: You can’t get yourself to commit to the job, a way of sort of saying “yes” or taking a small bite, could be to give yourself more time before answering, or meeting the team before agreeing, or doing a “ridealong” before saying yes, or asking for more benefits in the contract. None of these answers are “yes” however, none are no either. They all give you a way in or a way out depending on how the manager responds!
There you have it, four easy steps to choose love over fear! The more you do this, the easier it becomes and soon, you won’t even need to do this because decisions made from love will become second nature to you! Now, ready to keep this up? Click the graphic below to download FREE printable wall art for daily reminders to choose love over fear!
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