Choose love, not fear.
If I had to break my entire counselling philosophy and practice down into just 2 words, these two words would encapsulate the wisdom of my practice …
love / fear?
My whole practice is grown from these simple, but incredibly powerful, roots.
If you make decisions from a place of love, not fear, you are more likely to gain the outcomes you desire – outcomes of love, growth, harmony, contentment, joy, connectedness, acceptance, gratefulness, kindness, respect.
If you make decisions from fear – your are more likely to create outcomes of restriction, limitation, resignation, hurt, pain, grief, loss, abandonment, rejection, reproach, resentment, reaction. There are lots of ‘re’ words here – the latin prefix meaning ‘again and again’, or ‘repeating’, ‘back or backwards’.
Yes, fear takes us backwards. Counselling is to take you forwards, to create new, to change the old neural patterns and physical ways of being, to evolve.
After meeting and counselling thousands of clients, I am yet to find a situation where loving compassion was ever wrong.
I can almost hear your objections!! “What? Even when there was domestic violence or a narcissist emotionally abusing his wife and kids?” Yes even then, I would prescribe an outlook of love, over fear. But let me explain.
I’m not talking about a simplistic version of intimate love here – the plastic superficial version fantasied for Hollywood movies. I’m meaning love that consist of loving self care, loving self respect, loving self nurture. Yes, this sort of love that overcomes fear, MUST begin, by being given to yourself first.
Think about it, when are you the best version of yourself, that you can be?
Yes – when you feel good about yourself!
So self love is not a selfish act, but an act that everyone gets to benefit from. Self love isn’t at the exclusion of loving and caring for others, but creates that possibility of assertively loving others whilst not disregarding your needs. It provides the greatest chance of creating reciprocal, inter-dependent relationships.
Loving others without first knowing how to feel true respect, nurture, care and love for yourself, is very likely to create codependent love, echoeist love, where you love the other and dance to their needs, in the hope they may just care for you.
First and foremost, always start with self love in the form of self compassion. When we are able to be compassionate, loving, kind, and gentle with ourselves, we become the very best we can be. Which means we can set respectful boundaries in kind but assertive ways. Ways that are more likely to support others to change.
Can you see now, how a framework of love is still better than fear, even when leaving an abuser? In such a case, it is the self love and self respect that empowers the person to be able to leave.
When we act from fear, we often resort to blaming, shaming, humiliating or belittling others to try and seize some sort of power. Wounding others is not empowerment, it’s abuse.
My entire practice, no matter whether I’m working with individuals, couples or families is about helping them to choose love over fear, and it always needs to start from a place of loving kindness or compassion for self.
You would be amazed how many of us live our lives from a place of fear, which inevitably creates the reality of the fear. I challenge my clients to give me a fear, any fear, and I will show them how that fear creates the thoughts and actions that make the fear become a lived reality.
But love is the antidote to fear. When we feel fear as a child, the loving arms of a parent, grandparent, older sibling, or just a kind caring person, soothes and melts our fear away. Love makes us feel safer and braver. It’s the same, no matter whether we are a child or an adult.
Love calms our fear.
Love allows us to be brave.
Love heals, not just our emotional wounds, but helps our bodies heal too.
Love is the miracle cure for most everything.
When we have the internal process of self compassion and self love, others magically treat us that way too, but when they can’t (because they don’t love themselves!), we can weather their mistreatment from a place of calm courage and self caring wisdom.
Still not sure you can love yourself?
Start by practicing Loving Kindness to Self meditations – there’s many free versions on the internet for you to try.
If it’s still really challenging, a counselling session or two, using Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping), will help free the love that everyone of us is born with. Yes our need to attach, to love, to care, is innately hard wired into our DNA and neural pathways. It’s just waiting for you to dig it out from underneath all that fear!
Use self love to overcome fear.