Monday, 11 March 2013

Love or fear ?

The first piece on this new blog is a guest post.

There is nothing more natural for a child and their childhood than love.

Several months ago, I came across the idea that every decision we make and action we take is motivated by either LOVE or FEAR. I started playing with this, and asking myself at every opportunity, “Is it Love or Fear that is inspiring me to act / talk / feel this way?” I found that in every scenario, careful focus on my feelings and motivations brought me to one of these two fundamental emotions. I then focused on Love and became fully aware of the many fears I was carrying. It literally changed my life! I switched jobs, had different (more rewarding) relationships with family and friends, slept better and started to eat more healthily. I even began meditation and yoga! So many things changed. It was profound. And, quite remarkably, it was effortless.

I started to apply the same philosophy to parenting and became aware of so much Fear! I was afraid that my children’s behaviour might endanger them ‘out there’ in the real world. I was afraid of the perceived negative influence of somepeople. I was afraid of what chaos might ensue if I lost control (probably my biggest delusion was that I ever had any!) I was afraid of “building a rod for my own back”. I was afraid of them hurting themselves, failing at school, getting ill or having difficulties with friendships. From a place of Fear, my ego, prideand feelings got hurt by the children’s actions. Focused on Fear, I missed the beauty in individual moments and unwittingly limited and reduced my children’s experiences. By simply asking, “Is this action / reaction based on Love or Fear?” I was able to shift my focus. Asking that question provided just enough detachment from the issue at hand to allow me to view the scenario objectively and truly choose how I reacted, rather than reacting mindlessly.

There is, of course, a legitimate amount of Fear that is only felt because we Love (the safety and health of our children, for example). But by recognising that even Fear comes so often from Love, it allows a re-focussing of attention. When you are open to this possibility, you will find ways of getting the same outcome by focussing on the Love rather than the Fear. Think about… being afraid doesn’t, in itself, prevent any bad things from happening, does it? Feeling frightened that your 3 year old has climbed too far up the climbing frame doesn’t stop her falling. Lovingly supporting her ascent, and being present and ready to catch her is far more productive.

Consider the challenge I faced recently when my 7 year old daughter starteddancing provocatively. There were two equally loud voices in my head! One shouted, “Make her stop! Right now! This could get her into all sorts of trouble!” That was Fear talking. I was afraid of this behaviour. I was scared that it could be misperceived by a person of malicious intent. I was even afraid that other grown-ups would judge me if she acted like this in front of them. I had learnt this from what I’d picked up in my own journey towards adulthood. I’d inherited the ideas of my parents, friends, school, church, the media and society at large and never questioned whether or not those ideas actually served me, or were true for me. But at the same time, Love was saying, “Let her be. This is natural. This is a beautiful expression of who she is right now. She is safe here. Let it be.” I went with the latter voice. After a few minutes, she stopped dancing, and all was well. (Please see TheLoving Father’s response to this challenge for the loving explanation of this behaviour.)

Focussing on Love allows us that tiny bit of separation from the ‘issue’ or ‘drama’ that we’re involved in at any given moment. We can then use that separation to take a breath and consider our loving response. Give it a go, and try it! There’s nothing to lose!

I would urge you also to apply this one simple principle to yourself: Love yourself first! Ask yourself, “If I truly, deeply loved myself, would I allow myself this experience?” Whilst Fear is limiting, constrictive and the source of so many anxieties, with Love, you will find easier expression, expansion of your experiences of life and joy in the liberation from Fear. By loving yourself you become full up with Love, which you will then effortlessly give to those around you.

The Loving Parent was set up as a way of giving a ‘voice’ to Love, in the parenting context. The One Who Learns (the OWL) writes about her parenting experiences. She then receives advice from The Loving Mother and The Loving Father who are unafraid, uninhibited and always loving and supportive.

Many thanks to The Loving Parent for this guest post .

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Claire for the opportunity to write it. x