Last spring, a compassionate and intuitive friend asked if a decision I was making was rooted in love or fear. This seemingly benign, but expansive question continued to prod at me. It was like a small mental grenade that coaxed vulnerability out of me. I didn’t ask for this recurring mental benchmark, but I kept returning to it.

At that time, I was stuck in an illusion of comfort and safety. My not-yet-identified fear of change was a fear of living more authentically and investing in myself. I clutched with tight fists onto what felt familiar, but internally stagnating. Even though I thought I appeared to be treading water just fine, this friend sensed more, compassionately cut to the point and met me at the starting place of a healing transformation. I became honest with myself about my stubbornness and realized that I was keeping myself stuck. My fear of the future and pain from the past resulted in just holding my breath in the present.

The decision to act in love was the decision to take action for myself and be open to change. It would result in a move from New York, reconnecting with family and, eventually, investing into redirection on a new path. Ultimately, it would lead to healing.

Why do we choose fear?

Whether we are conscious of it or not, the question surrounding love or fear is shaping our course. The love-or-fear questioning is an excavation into our motivations. Are we stuck or is our circumstance intentional? What are the reasons we fear our own bravery to move forward? Why do we sustain roles where we are not motivated? 

Self-doubts keep us staying below a goal we perceive as too lofty and looking up to it as a fantasy instead of a future reality. Unworthiness is a subconscious puppet holder that can yield self-sabotage and imprison the confidence that would be used towards achieving our goals.

The covert attachments to what others think of us leave us clinging to a fear of stirring up waters and can cost us the stunting our own growth and evolution.

Fear suppresses our inner knowing of what is in our best interest and surrenders our values to the vision that others hold for us. Fear creates and relies on excuses. Fear can look like turning away from gaining self-awareness or like clinging to familiarity over our true desires or our own wellbeing. 

What love looks like.

As we listen to what our discomfort is trying to tell us and prioritize our personal growth, we are acting out of self-love. This looks like taking the time to know what we want, tuning into what our body and mind are trying to tell us and actively pursuing this new picture. It looks like listening to what our values are over the opinions of others who will not face the consequences of our actions.

Love is brave, hard and where the rewards are found. Love and awareness propel us to move forward. Love can look like having the bravery to guard the gates, do the work and follow the vision. Acting from love is releasing our burdens. Love is allowing for evolution. It is acting from a place of love for ourselves – from this cup we have the capacity to give in meaningful and selfless ways.

We’re not going to get it perfectly every time and it may start out in the form of baby steps. But, the question exists and motivates – whether or not we are aware of it. Once we’re aware of it, we can learn to navigate towards thriving, acting from a newfound space where we bravely and repeatedly choose love over fear.