The opposite of love is not hate. It’s fear.
As we digest the scary recent events in Europe and beyond, and wonder how this impacts on our daily lives, I noticed a message that was plastered on signs all across Paris.
“We are not afraid.”
How heroic are those who have seen danger, felt it in their core, and moved on with courage? And how can we take this lesson into our everyday lives?
By keeping fear outside our Inner Circle.
Here’s what I mean by that: When fear rules how we interact with our friends, family, business partners, patients – – our heart drops out of the equation. We become motivated by a scary slime that coats all our actions. It feels yucky, doesn’t it?
And fear can even harm your health – It can make our breath shallow and our bodies stressed. It increases our cortisol levels and weakens our immune system, which can even set off allergies.
Whether we’re deciding on a new plan of action, a move, or how to address someone’s good or bad concerns, when we let fear into the inner circle, all bets are off.
What is fear stealing from you?
- Are you afraid that if you make that big job change, you will be even less happy than you are now?
- Are you afraid if you leave your current romantic relationship, you will be alone and wearing old raggedy slippers, eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream on the weekends?
- Are you afraid if you hire that business coach that you might have to take a few steps outside your comfort zone and it’ll feel, well, scary?
Fear can steal our time. Our joy. And our lives.
We all know folks who say things like, “I would go back to school, but I’d be 47 when I graduate.” And while we may nod in agreement, the truth is, they will be 47 anyway in a few years. Why not be somewhere when they reach the age of 47 that brings them more joy?
Fear can creep in and lead to bad decisions, or — perhaps, even worse, indifference.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve made decisions based on fear many times. And not always been proud of myself in the final analysis.
Lately I’ve learned an important lesson on fear. And it was reinforced by the brave people who held up the signs stating “We are not afraid.”
Here are three ways I’ve found to empower ourselves and overcome fear:
1) Before you act, hit the PAUSE button. Think for a moment. Does this feel right? Am I being authentic here? Is anything getting in my way?
2) And if things feel the least bit wonky, wait. Breathe. Look inward a bit longer.
3) Step back and think about your very best self. And ask: What would he/she do? Something that works well for me is to think about it as if you were coaching yourself at that moment – what would you coach that person to do?
Then, and only then, proceed.
Go forward. Bravely.