Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Fear and Love

Although I was initally worried about being a therapist again after so many years away from the profession, through the work I did in France I  began to see things with a new set of eyes. It became clearer all the time that there are some common elements in the difficulties people are facing and in the way they are reacting.

A wise friend told me in these past few weeks that there are two main emotions that drive most of what we do: Love and Fear. I have this favorite saying of mine that says "A heart filled with love has no room for discouragement, doubt, fear, hatred, vengeance, envy, lust or greed, because a heart full of love is full." (Elder Spencer J. Condie). 

What I have discovered is that when fear enters the equation then so does the need to control. They go together. For example, when a husband is fearful that his wife is not going to be attentive enough he may demand it and seek ways to control his wife so that she is 'present'. Perhaps there are the parents who are frightened that their teenagers will get themselves into difficulty and so impose a strict amount of control or extra rules in order to soothe their fears. There is the abuse victim who has been the victim of someone imposing an unwanted action on their lives. Often these victims play out their lives in fear from this point, trying to control who can access their hearts and minds to ensure that the abuse does not re-occur. 

And yet it is this very desire to control that destroys relationships and maintains barriers between us. I view the desire to control in some form or other to be at the root of almost all relationship difficulties, whether in the home, at work or in social situations. This includes when we shut others out with our silence or our absence. It is all a form of control.

If we want true happiness then we need to be willing to let go of the desire to control and operate from a different perspective, a whole new paradigm. We trust, we motivate, we encourage, we love, we have faith, we forgive. Those actions are the exact opposite of control and fear. These opposites are spiritual in nature and have been in place since before the world began when the adversary wanted to take our free agency from us. His plan was the ultimate control where we would be forced to be obedient. Our Savior replied with an offer of love and sacrifice and we each replied in trust and faith by accepting the Lord's offer.

And so faith is the opposite of fear. The desire to control others is the opposite of trust and love. We need to decide which side we are on and build upon true principles.