What if each time you felt fear and anxiety, you made a decision to love?
And by love, I don’t mean to say that you should just “feel” love. What I am recommending is that you be loving toward someone, that you take an action that is characterized by moving closer and being giving to someone else.
If you decided even 30% of the time to notice the fear and anxiety that arose in your experience, and then, in response, turned your attention toward being loving toward someone else – what impact do you think it would have on your daily life? On your moods?
On your relationships? On your outlook? On your decisions?
The good news is that even if you don’t WANT to be loving, you can do it anyway. In fact, doing it when you really DON’T FEEL LIKE doing it is probably the best time to do it.
an anxious/fearful state of mind
From an evolutionary point of view, fear and anxiety are programmed into who we are so that we know when to move away from people and experiences that endanger us; however, this internal signal seems to have taken on a life of its own in modern times. Far too many people are driven by endless forms of fear/anxiety – much of them products of our own imaginations and obsessive thinking.
Can you identify with that? Do you find yourself in the grip of anxious/fearful states of mind without even knowing why?
This is far more common that you realize; I see it daily in my line of work. Fear and anxiety are no longer simply adaptive responses to environmental dangers; they have become prisons that keep people trapped in self-defeating patterns.
Thankfully, human beings can learn to regularly REFRAME their thinking and perceptions – thereby altering their own moods.
what does it look like to give love and be loving toward someone?
There are endless manifestations, including:
- surprise someone today by verbalizing your gratitude for the fact that he/she is in your life
- show up for someone else and be generous in your support of what’s important to him/her
- catch someone doing something right at work or at home – and give genuine feedback
- see past surfaces – to the spirit and the humanity of anyone who triggers negative feelings in you
- share your own fear and vulnerability with someone, so they feel less alone in theirs
- stop taking someone for granted, and instead reinvigorate the relationship by reinvesting yourself
- proactively plan a social activity and invite someone to participate
- go to someone and say, “I thought about our interaction, and I realize that I was wrong…that was me just being defensive and neurotic.”
reframing fear and anxiety: be a change agent in your own experience
When fear and anxiety arise in your experience this week – instead of responding by becoming more guarded or isolated, or instead of spiraling into obsessional thinking and paralysis – use it as a REMINDER, an opportunity to reach out to someone else in a loving and caring way. Yes, even though you will not FEEL like extending yourself in an open way to someone else, do it anyway. And pay close attention to the results.
But I feel anxiety and fear all day long sometimes!
Ok, then a lot of people around you are going to get a lot of love. Good for them…and you.
But what if I decide to extend myself, step outside my comfort zone and be loving toward someone – and they reject me?
A quote comes to mind:
Love talked about can be easily turned aside, but love demonstrated is irresistible.
W. Stanley Mooneyham