Love or Fear: That is the Question!

She didn’t aim an Uzi at us in staff meetings, but if words could kill, we’d be all dead. Working for a crazy lady who struck the fear of God into her employees whenever the mood struck was terrifying. This woman was so difficult to work for that 19 of her 22 employees quit within a period of three months. Each time someone walked out through the revolving door, the remaining few would stare at each other and ask ourselves, “Why? Why are we still here?”

Why indeed?

My answer came in a profound journal entry at the end of my first three months when I was struggling over whether to stay or to go:

“If you can stay and be happy, then by all means, you should stay for there is much for you to learn. If you cannot stay and be happy, then by all means leave, because to stay in a situation in which you are not happy does not benefit you or anyone else.”

Words to live by. My choice. I decide. 

I stayed, and for the next five years and learned life-changing lessons from an unbelievable teacher of love and fear.

One evening after a particularly brutal verbal assault, I went directly from work to a weekly workshop series that I had been attending. Still reeling from her most recent verbal attack just hours prior, I sat myself down and tried to settle in. The workshop leader began with a simple exercise in which she invited us to close our eyes and imagine a situation in which we felt fearful. No problem. I was right there—in it!

After a few moments, we were asked to switch gears from a state of fear and imagine a situation in which we experienced love. It was in that moment that I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life. Love and fear cannot coexist. While in a state of fear, it is absolutely impossible to experience love. As hard as I tried, I was not able to move beyond fear and find love. 

That memory reignited the realization that in today’s challenging world, fear is running rampant in our lives. It makes me wonder—if just one person can strike fear into the heart of just one other person (me!), or into the staff of an entire company, imagine the mayhem caused by fear running amuck on a global scale.

My experience in that exercise was a turning point in my life. My journal rambling was right; there were lessons to learn, if I was willing to hang in there long enough to  learn them.  Either I control my thoughts, or my thoughts control me. 

Just as I was confronted with a choice point about love or fear so many years ago, it seems apparent that we are all being confronted with the same question and asked to make a choice now. We can either add to the world turmoil with fear, or we can help to dissolve it with love.

Love and fear cannot coexist.

The mind can hold only one thought at a time.

If your life depended on it, would you be able to choose love?

And with that question, I will stop writing and start pondering about what love is. Compassion, forgiveness, understanding, empathy, non-judgmentalism, acceptance of self and others, acknowledgement that we are all one. If what we think is what we get, rest assured—I’ll be thinking love. 

Will you? I hope so!

22 thoughts on “Love or Fear: That is the Question!”

  1. I have to admit that I don’t understand why you chose to stay in a toxic, abusive work environment. Surely you could have learned similar lessons in a less toxic work environment. Would you have stayed in a toxic domestic environment because there were positives to be had? I’m conflicted about what you were willing to tolerate as you pursued this learning journey.

    1. Good point, Jane. I can certainly understand why you might find my actions (or lack thereof!) to be puzzling, I like the expression, “Save your beef for the big stew.” I on a hard-wired spiritual journey, and have chosen my battles carefully—and yes, I have exited marriages when I felt that they were toxic. Note—marriage(s)! I always try to follow the call of my soul in matters of personal growth, and in the case of this job, the call was to stay and learn powerful lessons. It felt like the speedy route to enlightenment—like ten lifetimes of learning consolidated into one. The effort was well worth the effort. And—I have some really great stories to tell. It wasn’t ALL bad! 😉Thank you for reading and commenting!

  2. Ah…”dissolving fear with love” speaks to me. Thank you, Jules. I want to believe in my capacity to do just that. Most days I can summon the resolve. Thanks for the encouragement. ❤️

  3. I have complete faith in your ability to do just that dear Ms. Vicki! You do it every day just by being who you are. To which I say, keep up the good work! Your love benefits all. 🥰

  4. Thank you, Julia. Both fear and love are pervasive but the choice is ours. I am wondering if choosing love does not require practice and persistence.

    1. I think you’re right, Mary—choosing love does require practice and persistence, but it’s so worth it in the end. I am grateful for each and everyone who masters the art of love over fear!

  5. Great post Julia! Wonderful example of learning by fire and a great lesson learned about love and fear. So many people live in fear now by design, feeling love will be challenging as your story exemplified. May we all endeavor to open our hearts and allow the love to flow while we are living through the revolving door. Thank you! x

    1. Thank you for reading and for your kind comment, Donna. Yes—may we all endeavor to open our hearts to love, no matter how difficult the challenge may be! The more of us who are able to do so, the greater the flow of love!

  6. That’s a tough one, Julia! How did you become bigger than your fear? Does it begin with compassion do you think? These things are not easy when your life or your security is at stake. I read about this old lady who was about to be attacked by a mugger. She knew she was about to die and yet she said, “Bless you son, I forgive you,” because she was thinking more about his eternal soul than her own safety. What a big soul she had. Truly Christ-like. I’ve always wished I could be like that if I was faced with a similar situation. Fear is useful for self-preservation. But then, so is Love, if we only knew it.

    1. Wow Nancy! You’ve just asked the question of the century! How do you become bigger than your fear? For me, part of it was the willingness to recognize it, face it down and let it go, which in turn triggered the awareness that left to my own devices, my little persona/ego self was incapable of doing so. Then it dawned on me—”Oh—I don’t have to do it alone because I am NOT alone. I have help.” So I asked, and voila! Help arrived right on cue. 😇

  7. What a beautiful post, Julia! You amazingly distill the choices and dichotomy of life into such clarity that we all can help but get that we are making that choice over and over again. And the way you choose? So inspiring and delightful!! Thank you for this gift!

    1. The more I think about it, the more I realize that the choice is really a moment-to-moment decision and requires a keen awareness of what the mind is doing when we are looking the other way! Sometimes, I’m good at it—often, I’m not, and I have to keep reminding myself to pay attention. I guess that’s just a part of being human! Thank you for your kind thoughts, and bless you dear Wynne! 💕

  8. Love and fear cannot co-exist. Thank you for pointing that out. If you look back on your choice to stay working with that toxic person, would you make the same choice today?

  9. No, because by choosing to stay back then, I learned the lessons I needed (or wanted?) to learn, and happily, will not need to relearn them. Too many new ones to conquer! LOL. Many thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it!

  10. Thank you for reminding us of the choice, dear Julia. Here’s to Love — the force that literally makes the world go round and binds us all together. Let’s envision what it will be like when the love of the human heart becomes manifest in our world.

  11. I find myself in a tug of war with my self everyday. It’s a trying time. However, I reflect on my past experiences and come to the conclusion that I am absorbing increasing amounts of information which I don’t need or want. I remember times when I was happy. Skiing, hiking and dancing. Enjoying the company of my grandchildren.

    1. In today’s world full of unhappy news, it’s really easy to become “infected” by it! Watching main stream media is the speedy route to becoming infected—so I stay as far away as I can get! Instead, I try to stay gently abreast of world happenings and send healing energy, love and light. It helps my peace of mind! ☺️ OR—if all else fails– find me a dog to pet! Whatever works, right? The world needs your light, Judy. Keep on shining!

  12. Great post. Sometimes the hardest and most challenging situations in life teach us the most valuable lessons. When I think of the impossibility of fear and love coexisting, I think of a familiar verse that I’ve had to repeat many times in my life when fear rears its ugly head… There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

  13. Perfect! Well said, Nancy. Sometimes for me the hardest part about fear is that when I’m IN it, I don’t always recognize it! It’s really a continuing practice to be mindful of what’s swirling around in my head. If I’m slow to realize my state of mind, I’m even slower to change it—which says to me that if I’m not walking around in a state of peace and joy, I must be in fear. Well now, there’s something for me to chew on for a while, huh?! Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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