We frequently hear how much healthier1 people are when they act from love rather than fear, or how much smarter2 they will be. I had an insight recently that I’d like to share about yet another advantage of acting from love instead of fear.
When one lives in a context of love the full spectrum of human responses to the world is available to them. They can choose how they respond to any situation or event; freely and consciously choose. They can choose compassion, anger, resentment, neutrality, empathy, blame, equanimity, righteousness, sorrow, inspiration, guilt, envy, or any other attitude or emotion they choose.
In contrast when one lives in a context of fear, they have fewer options; their choices are more limited. Typically, these choices are largely the “darker” responses like anger, blame, and righteousness. Starting from fear often prevents one from trusting, so people holding this perspective anticipate betrayal and project their own darkness onto “the other.” This makes wars more frequent options for resolving differences than truth and reconciliation processes like I wrote about last month.
While love opens us so we see more options, fear contracts us so we see fewer options.
Russian President Vladimir Putin offers us a current example of how one responds when acting from fear. He sees NATO as a threat and assumes that if the Ukraine were to join NATO his country would be more vulnerable to attack. This make perfect sense when you are holding this point-of-view.
Since he holds an invasion perspective he assumes others do the same. Psychologists call this “projection.” Psychology Today defines projection as “Unconscious discomfort can lead people to attribute unacceptable feelings or impulses to someone else to avoid confronting them. Projection allows the difficult trait to be addressed without the individual fully recognizing it in themselves.3”
Given that I have far more options as to how I respond to the world, especially when that includes lighter less divisive options, this provides me with additional incentive to come from a loving place rather than a fearful one?
- “5 Ways Love Is Good for Your Health,” Time magazine (https://time.com/5136409/health-benefits-love/)
- “Love as an Advanced Mode of Intelligence,” HeartMath Institute, July 18, 2016, (https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/love-advanced-mode-intelligence/)
- Projection defined, Psychology Today, (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/projection)