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How to Grow When You Hide from Your Fear-Based Choices

We Live Too Much with Fear-based Patterns

I spent four hours listening to my delightful energetic 85-year-old cousin yesterday. In the last hour I could feel my energy waning and my head nearing explosion. What should I do in the face of her saying, I don’t know whether I’ll be around on your next visit and there’s so much to tell you?

Later I talked with my partner who had just edited a piece for me which I started with the tip: You are always choosing between love and fear.

Can you think of advice simpler than this? In every moment, you only have a choice between love and fear.

Truth is simple.

We Aren’t Truth-Seekers in General

Humans have a way of making things complicated. We analyze, discuss with others, become confused by the emotions that arise, and are deluged by association of past experiences as we face a disturbing situation.

We become confused, we struggle, we get stuck.

Many topics I mention above are addressed by personal development or self-growth programs such being stuck, struggling, finding your truth, honest human relationships.

What Would Happen if You Look Through the Lens of this Choice?

What if you gain clarity when you boil your issue down to this choice between love and fear? How much freedom would you gain, the kind of freedom you are seeking in the books and programs you are purchasing?

The answer is: don’t just think about it, try it. Try looking at your choices: is it fear or love?

If you spend time with this experiment, you might discover concerns or fears such as: what others think. I don’t want to hurt my cousin’s feeling. I’ve already said to her that I needed to get back to work, but she doesn’t seem to think my plans for the day are important to reign in her talking.

In my Japanese upbringing we are hard-wired to be suggestive and not straight-forward and bold. “Saving face” is important. Hints can communicate our desires to the other without shining a spotlight on them or the other person.

I hoped that a hint would work. It didn’t.

What a Choice for Love Looks Like

I announced that I was leaving because I was getting tired. I chose self-care over caring what someone might think of me. I chose love over fear.

Most of my life I haven’t done that.

The Choice of Fear

Recently I also learned about women hating their work or/and feeling overwhelmed with their responsibilities. Where does the stamina and courage come from to start each work day?

Is it a choice of love or fear?

One has worked for the same company for decades, her only job. Another has just started. The third somewhere in between. Hmm…Papa Bear, Mamma Bear, and Baby Bear.

How Fear is the Basis of Your Choice of Work

You might choose to work because it provides the means to live. To look for another job would bring complications and challenges. How do these compare with arising each day to go to a job that you hate?

Many work in whatever situation they are in because it provides the basics or more. Many don’t consider other jobs because the transition involves insecurity.

Insecurity is about fear, isn’t it? Experiencing the unknown, not knowing what is going to happen to you.

What if the motivation to look at work and making changes was about discovering your passions and acquiring the skills to live your unique purpose in the world? From this perspective, staying with an uninspiring boring job would be a choice of fear, and moving to work that feeds your heart would be about loving yourself.

How Fear Operates in Relationships

Relationships can be seen in the same way, can’t they? They are in marriages that aren’t working. Spouses and partners have fallen out of love, find only complaints in the relationships but are too afraid to leave. A bird in the hand syndrome. Choosing fear over love.

Do you recognize that in friendship you often feel used or abused but you hold your tongue? Or with your boss you don’t speak honestly for fear that it might be a reason to be fired?

What Do You Do Once You Recognize Fears

Fears are uncomfortable to feel. It’s easy to run from them.

It takes courage to feel and face fear. But once you do, they don’t run your life.

You become aware of other choices, and get a taste of freedom.

If you don’t decide to face and feel your fears, they define your life.

Fears are at the Base of Your Strategies

  • If you have a need to control, you probably fear helplessness.

  • If you have the strategy of being a giver or a people pleaser, you probably fear being abandoned or rejected.

  • If you are perfectionistic, you probably fear feeling defective or flawed.

  • If you are driven, you may fear feeling your lack of worth.

  • If you stay in your head, you may fear what is in your heart.

(See the list of Strategies, page 205, in Listen to the Cries of Your Heart.)

The Secret Source of Fears

There’s a gentler way of being with your fears.

It’s the Child-Heart method of compassionately being with the young child’s heart that holds fears from early wounding.

Join others who have moved into better lives by connecting with their fearful child-selves.


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