Years ago, a wonderfully wise mentor of mine named Carmine once told me, "Every human behavior ties back to one of two emotions: Love and Fear". At the time, it seemed like an oversimplification of people. But as I have assumed the role of mentor and coach to many as they transition through their lives and careers, I have found it to be that simple.
Love is an easy one to understand. When we demonstrate compassion, forgiveness and charity, it is clear what actions are love-motivated. With love comes light. However as we know, the opposite exists. Anything outside of this is rooted in fear. Anger, insecurity, and conflict stem from a fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of failure, fear of judgement, and even fear of self.
Swiss psychotherapist Carl Jung believed our fears manifest themselves through our "shadow side". He maintained that we all possess a duality - we can act in line with the light (love) or the shadow side (fear) in any archetypal situation. We as the archetypal "ruler" can inspire order (light side) or impose chaos (dark side). We as the "explorer" can discover new things, or succumb to a life of wanderlust. As the "caregiver", we can provide stability, or we can over-control. In order to grow professionally, emotionally and spiritually, we must acknowledge that we are both light and dark. It is not meant to be an exercise in judging ourselves, but rather an act of self acceptance.
Ultimately, growth is about seeking truth. Fact finding. Exploring with an open mind and open heart. Allowing ourselves to be open to the possibility of seeing things in a completely different light, and letting go of the people, emotions and limiting beliefs that no longer serve us. This requires courage, and a intentional releasing the fear of the "What ifs..."
As you go throughout your day today, pause and ask yourself before you act, "Am I acting out of love, or fear..." If it is anything but love, ask yourself "What am I afraid of? Why am I afraid?" It is okay if the answers are not immediately intuitive. Keep asking. The process of growth and discovery begins with you asking you.
Only after we identify the fear can we examine and dispel the fear. With each fear we release, the more clear, open and whole we become. That is how we grow, and become lighter and happier.
Perhaps John Lennon said it best: "There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life."
You can choose love, or choose fear. You are in control of your own destiny.
I say choose love. When you choose love, you choose your highest and best you.