Wednesday, November 29, 2006

fear and love

Recently I've been learning a lot from my clients about fear and love.

What has struck me is how very easy it is to make decisions in life based on fear. Taking a job because of a sense that you will be respected, rather than because there's something you love about doing that job. Going somewhere with a group of friends (when you don't want to) because of a fear of social rejection. Losing weight because of a fear of losing social approval. Avoiding one's partner or spouse because of a fear they might discover your secret.

Life can so easily become overwhelmed by fear. And then life becomes empty because all we find is a sense of relief from avoiding some dread consequence.

It is interesting to me, too, to think about what it means to substitute love for fear. To find ways of doing a job because you find something about it that makes you feel happy and alive. To find ways of relating to a spouse or partner openly, genuinely, lovingly -- to support, encourage, and cheer for each other in profound ways despite our flaws. To make brave choices based on our sense of ourselves and what is right (out of a provound love of ourselves).

Fear is easy in part because the rules of avoidance are simple: you just don't bring up the truth. Love is often far more complex and difficult because it involves relationship and courage, vulnerability even. But there is no joy in fear, no life, no freedom. These can only be found in love.

6 comments:

more cows than people said...

i've really appreciated these last two posts, steve. thank you.

steve westby said...

more cows! It is so good to have you back. Reading your comment made me smile. Thank you!

Magdalene6127 said...

Wow... I really feel that something is going on with me right now along these lines. In a relationship I am trying to learn new ways to be connected that are not based on fear. Example: I want my friend to go somewhere with me. Friend is not so interested in that particular event, for some pretty good reasons. I am disappointed, but I see why that decision is the right one for my friend. Now, in the past: I would be working my butt off to coerce/ manipulate/ convince my friend to come because I need to be shown that I am important. Classic fear-based response. But today (just for today!) I am trying to know that my friend needs to make this particular decision, and that I am shown I am important in so many other ways. Love-based response.

Thank you for posting.

Blessings,

Mags

more cows than people said...

we sang a song at worship tonight that resonates with this posting. we'll be singing it every saturday night in advent. every verse i sing a name for Christ "Word of the Father", "Servant and Sufferer", "Risen Savior" and then everyone sings "Come Lord Come. Drive our fear away. Drive our fear away. Replace it with your love." we sing this seven or eight times through... i seem to always find songs in your blog. anywho... thought of you as we were worshipping tonight.

steve westby said...

Mags,

You did your friend a great kindness. And if it means anything, getting your thoughts and comments always brightens my day. Thank you for sharing your time and wisdom.

more cows,

i seem to always find songs in your blog.

What a lovely compliment. Thank you. I'm sure if I had any musical talent whatsoever, I would find music in your writings as well. =)

Thanks, friends.

Magdalene6127 said...

Thanks Steve... I love hearing from you as well!

Blessings,

Mags