Several years ago when I was a newbie counselor, my supervisor remarked that there are two types of people in this world: those ruled by love and those ruled by fear. Now any statement that bold, yet that simplistic couldn’t possibly be accurate. Yet I can honestly say some two decades later, I stand by the claim. Let me explain.
Take employment for example. Countless people all over the world get up every morning and go to a job they detest because they are AFRAID. Afraid of being poor, of not ever finding another job, of going hungry, of having the courage or even the RIGHT to pursue something they really love. Perhaps, your parents or even you were affected by a catastrophic event such as a war that caused “scarcity” of resources. Food was rationed, no jobs, everybody was poor homelessness. That fear is very real and unfortunately, children pick up on it early on and often carry it with them for the rest of their lives. Now, we also know that sometimes these situations produce the opposite effect in people. Think of a family with too many mouths to feed growing up and the sibling who in adulthood is driven to make money 24/7. He or she too is fear-based. Afraid of being poor and they will do anything and everything to run as far and as fast as they can from that possibility.
I currently work with people who struggle with substance abuse and many are prison-released felons. Now, at first glance this population does not look like a bunch of cowards. Clearly, they aren’t afraid of taking chances or of getting caught, but something strange happens whenever I ask almost any one of them …”what would you LIKE to do if you could do ANYTHING?” Most get a glazed or confused look on their faces as if they shouldn’t even be thinking like that. It is as if they have two choices in life; work low-paying dead-end jobs or commit crimes and go back to prison and the thought doesn’t realistically occur to them that they have other options. They CAN LOVE what they do.
Let’s move onto another aspect aside from employment. How about relationships? How many people marry or stay with partners because they love them? Now how many people marry or stay with partners out of fear? Fear of being alone, fear of being poor, fear of losing …fill in the blank. I once read “if one marries for money, they earn every penny” but if anything comes out of this column it should be there are no easy answers where human nature is concerned. It is easy to take a haughty, judgemental stance from the lofty perch of “I have everything”. However, I have reminded many couples over the years of a line I stole from Dr. Phil (because it’s true!) “Relationships succeed or fail to the degree that they meet the needs of the parties involved.” For some, material comfort is at the top of their list and so it motivates every choice they make. For others, it is stability, still, others crave security, companionship and the list goes on.
Now in the age of Social Media, we are regaled by images and stories about people who appear to be totally loved-based; they don’t even seem to be familiar with the concept of fear! They jet off at a moment’s notice to part’s unknown to scale Mt. Everest, commune with the Dalai Lama or run with the bulls…all in the same week!!! I must admit, the researcher part of me is just itching to fact-check some of this but what does it matter anyway? Because while I do believe that most of us lean toward one or the other where love or fear is concerned, as I have grown older and hopefully wiser I do believe one can temper the other just a bit. Perhaps a little bit of fear can be a good thing in the wild heart of a love-based person who is always willing to fly off in search of his/her dreams to ultimately have a home-base to softly land in. Or when the fear-based person shows faith by choosing love and remembers the universal law that like attracts like and stepping out in faith that is not a harm to yourself or others is what makes life truly worth living.
Angela Bozorth, is a certified substance abuse counselor in Florida and NC.
Email at AngelaBozorth50@gmail.com