Not too long ago, my sister, Paula asked me a powerful question. I was in the middle of a very difficult situation and the stress and anxiety of it all had my thoughts in muddy water. I wanted to believe that my choices were coming from a somewhat clear
place. A place my entire being was in agreement with; a place of love. Then Paula got super real with me and asked: "are you doing this from a place of love, or fear disguised as love?" This question cut straight to the core of my motivations and it became obvious: instead of acting from an empowered, loving place, I was acting from a place of trying to escape a potential reality. I was coming from a place of fear.
If you listened to our last podcast, Episode 29: Overcoming Codependency & People Pleasing Habits, you heard us say how as young kids, we quickly learn to mold our behaviors in order to get our needs met. If mom or dad is not happy, they may abandon us and then our safety will be compromised, so I if I want to be protected I have to make sure I keep mom or dad happy. This style of thinking quickly and easily becomes the norm for our kid brains trying to make sense of this thing called life. We learn how to be good little girls and good little boys, we learn how to do A in order to avoid B. With the key word being avoid, we quickly learn how to act from a place of fear.
Most of us take this thinking into adulthood. We take it into our friendships, relationships, and into our jobs. We believe that in order to control a specific situation, we must act in a certain way. The problem with this is that it entails us compromising ourselves on the way to reaching our desired conclusion and whether we realize or not, we quickly lose self-respect. We start thinking about everyone else and what they will and won’t do or think, and we stop thinking about ourselves and what we deserve.
Sooner or later we will find ourselves, as I did, in toxic situations. All for the sake of wanting a healthy situation. Many of us are so focused on trying to keep the peace, keep ourselves safe, keep (the illusion of) a good thing going, that we actually believe we are acting from a place of empowerment - a place of love. In reality, many of us are acting from a place where fear is disguised as love.
If we were acting from a place of love, it would be much harder to stay in situations that did not genuinely align with the highest versions of ourselves and our happiness. So how do we help ourselves recognize if this is what we are doing? Well, first of all, we have to be willing to get real. Even if it is hard to digest, even if it means that now we have to take a different, less familiar route. Next, literally ask yourself, am I doing this out of love or am I doing this out of fear that IF I don’t do it then:
They might think I am a bad person
They might be mad at me
They might leave me
They might judge me, etc...
This part is huge because all too often we end up betraying ourselves by ignoring our own needs in order to keep others happy or to keep the peace.
One of the most powerful habits we could all get better at is learning to sit in the discomfort of uncertainty. If we learned how to do this, we would stop compromising ourselves. If we learned how to act from a place of authentic love and detach from what may or may not occur, we would be SO much more empowered. I can personally attest to this. The next time you catch yourself in a situation where your needs may feel compromised, before you take your next action, ask yourself: am I doing this from a place of love? Or fear disguised as love?
Then choose love. Every time.