How to Choose LoveAs we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. ~Marianne Williamson
In my mere forty years of experience on this wonderful planet of ours, I have come to realize many important (and not so important) things. For example, I have never really been one to get huge amounts of satisfaction from housework or spending my days at home.
Respect to those who do, it’s just not me. So, once my children were at school, I saw very quickly that a life without a career was not for me. As I love to share experiences and knowledge, I then realized that the world of education was the one I was meant for, and I became a teacher.
All of this is important — it has led me to do what I do, but it is being a mom that has led me to the most profound of realizations. You see, I was telling my children to be confident, to have faith in their decisions, to not let others affect how they think of themselves, when I suddenly recognized that I was guilty of doing the opposite.
- I was not confident.
- I did not have much faith in my decisions.
- I did let others affect how I thought about myself.
My words were just words. I understood that my children would not learn from what I said unless I backed it up with what I did. I had to understand why I was not practicing what I was preaching. After all — I believed in it. I would never tell my children anything other than what I truly believe would bring happiness. So what was going wrong?
Fear or Love?
I began to read books and articles, and after some time I discovered the answer: Everything we do stems from either love or fear.
The problem was I was choosing to be consumed with fear.
- I feared that I did not shape up as a mother.
- I feared that I was not the best teacher I could be.
- I feared that the wonderful love I share with my husband might not last forever.
Although I never said any of this out loud (it was just my internal dialogue), I realized that my insecurities were clear in my behaviour. I was not happy. I had so much to be happy about, but I did not truly feel it.
I was not available emotionally, at least not to full capacity. My light was flickering rather than shining because I had been choosing fear. I had to change it to love and I had to figure out how.
Although this was not an overnight process, I became aware of my thought patterns and I changed them; the results have been like striking gold. Therefore, my advice is this: In every moment, do not choose fear, choose love.
What Does This Look Like?
- Set Yourself Up. Start the day with five minutes of “thinking time.” Remind yourself that throughout the day you need to question your intentions before you act. Think of all of the people who make it easy for you to feel love and all that you feel grateful for. This will make you smile; it gives you a cosmic hug. It sets you up for a good day, every day.
- Ask Questions. Regularly remind yourself that you are in control of your thoughts and feelings. No one else. Question your thoughts — don’t just accept the first ones you have.
- Act with Understanding. If you feel bad, you have most likely picked a fear-based response to something or someone — question it and change it. Wait a moment, and choose to react from a place of love and understanding, not from one of judgement.
- Everything Changes. Remember that a mood is not permanent. If you feel out of sorts, it will not last forever. Do whatever you need to do to make you smile again. Think of those you love. Extend love to those around you. It can’t fail to make you feel better.
- Be Compassionate with You. Tell yourself you are enough. If you can’t do this without believing it, take action. Do what you need to do so that you can believe it, but be compassionate with yourself. Focus on how far you have come, not how far you still need to go.
- Focus on What Inspires. Try to not watch too much news. It focuses too much on the negative. Instead, read something that inspires you, or listen to someone who you admire (this could be on the television; it does not have to be face-to-face). Websites such as this one and self-help books can be a real tonic. Dip into them regularly and take from them what you need.
- End with Gratitude. Finish the day with the same thoughts you started it with. Pick out all of the good in your day and say a silent thank you for it. Make sure the last thoughts you have are ones that come from a place of love.
Why Choose Love?
You are the star of your own life — just as I am the star of mine and our brothers and sisters are the stars of theirs. And here’s the thing: We are not all that different, not really.
Essentially, we all crave the same thing — love and acceptance. We just make the mistake of thinking we have to look for it in someone else when, really, the only person we need to find it in is ourselves.
Once we do that, everything falls into place; we are in our lane. If we think of life as a race, the winners are those who stay in their lane, who train, who are focused on what really matters, who are not looking around at anyone else.
It is these people who naturally attract others, who bring success to everything that they touch. Why? Because they have chosen love — love for themselves and a love for the lane they are in.
This then spills out into everything else. We can all do this. We simply need to recognize when fear is present in our lives and practice replacing it with love until it no longer requires practice.
It is then that others see our true light and can be guided by it. It is then that we feel truly happy.