“There are only two emotions: love and fear. All positive emotions come from love, all negative emotions from fear. From love flows happiness, contentment, peace, and joy. From fear comes anger, hate, anxiety and guilt. It's true that there are only two primary emotions, love and fear. But it's more accurate to say that there is only love or fear, for we cannot feel these two emotions together, at exactly the same time. They're opposites. If we're in fear, we are not in a place of love. When we're in a place of love, we cannot be in a place of fear.” ― Elisabeth Kubler Ros
Humans are capable of a wide spectrum of feelings, from happiness and contentment to sadness and outrage. Despite their complexity and nuance and just like Kubler-Ros, I too am of the belief human emotions may be reduced to two basic motivations: love or fear. Knowing the distinction between love and fear can help us make better use of these two strong emotions, both of which have the potential to profoundly affect our lives and how we interact with others.
When motivated by love, we show mercy, understanding, generosity and grace. When we act out of love, we want to build relationships, understand others, and improve the world around us. Love is an all-encompassing feeling that paves the way for new adventures and fosters a sense of community and belonging. There is no relationship, romantic, platonic, or otherwise, that doesn't benefit from love.
On the other side, when we behave from a place of fear, we do so out of worry, inadequacy, and uncertainty. Coming from a place of fear, our actions are driven by a need to shield ourselves from potential pain. Fear is both a powerful motivator and a limiting factor since it prevents us from attempting new things and expanding our horizons.
Love and fear are strong emotions, but they have vastly diverse effects on people. Making decisions that are in line with our values and move us closer to our goals is more likely when we are motivated by love. Feelings of happiness, thankfulness, and contentment are more likely to fill our hearts. Fear might cause us to make decisions that prevent us from realizing our greatest potential. Negative feelings like judgement, rage, resentment, and jealousy are also possible.
So how do we overcome our fear and learn to act from a place of love instead? Developing a more introspective and thoughtful outlook is one option. Being cognitive when we are reacting from a place of fear and actively working to overcome that emotion allows us to act from a place of love and compassion instead. Meditation, physical activity, and time spent in natural settings are all great forms of self-care that can help us feel more rooted and secure.
I watched the legislative session in TN yesterday, they had 3 democratic members who broke decorum rules and were before the committee to be ousted. The two black male members were ousted and the white woman wasn't. I listened to everyone's words with the intent on asking when each member spoke, are they coming from fear or love. Sadly and overwhelmingly I witnessed what I perceived as fear.
There was a provocative FB post I posted yesterday, it showed a beautiful trans person Dylan Mulvaney drinking a Bud Light. A few days ago Kid Rock shot up cans of Bud Light because of Anheuser Busch teaming with Mulvaney for marketing. Now there are country music stars and others speaking out and wanting to boycott the beer company. I had a few friends and family voice out hate and disdain for the soul sister in my post.
That hate and disdain over my post was most certainly coming from a place of fear. Fear from the God they have been taught will punish them and others with hell. Fear from people who are different than what they are comfortable with. I had one family member equate trans people to those who murder and commit other Biblical sins.
I thank my creator that the fear I was raised with has been lifted from my heart and spirit. Perhaps someday, we can all learn to turn away from the fear that creates such divisiveness and hate.
Whether our actions are motivated by love or fear is a personal decision. Choosing to act from a place of love allows us to craft a life that is richer in all the ways that matter. Inspiring people to follow in our footsteps can have a domino effect on society and the world at large. Consider this: the next time you must make a choice or confront a difficulty, ask yourself if your motivation is love or fear. It's possible that the response will shock you, but it could also be the key to realizing your greatest potential.
Light love peace and prayers,
Catherine (Cat) Valliere
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