The Ultimate Battle
(This post originally appeared on a blog my daughter and I share: The Falcon and the Dove
There are many sports playoffs going on right now: basketball, hockey, track is thriving; baseball and softball are well under way. The ultimate battle is not on a field or on a court, but, as Bobby Jones once described where competitive golf is played, “ on a five inch square space between a man’s ears”.
The ultimate battle for mankind is not in a space ship or on a battlefield: it is where the mind rages against its own fears.
There are only two motivators in the universe: love and fear. Both can coexist at the same time as propellers, sustainers, or forces of absolute stagnancy, depending on the circumstances and ratio of love to fear, or should I say, fear to love.
Love is accepting, patience, understanding, and all that stuff. Love increases our capacity to expand love, to sustain in troubled times, to emerge from impossible challenges, and to grow in strength and positive action when negativity and doubt are spiraling all around us.
Conversely, fear (unless you are escaping from a life threatening situation) increases anxiety, worry, stress, reduces creativity, and most importantly, mutates desires.
This last point is the most dangerous. Fear can create undue paranoid feelings, and those can translate into jealousy, arrogance, rage, and violence. Internalized fear can result in illness and take even the most sacred forms of love and alter them in a viral way into something that cannot be reasoned with.
What is fear, really? I came upon an epiphany on this subject while spontaneously talking to someone who was clearly on the negative side of the balance sheet in their personal balance of love and fear. I will be the first to say that I am absolutely sure I did not come up with this answer, but it came from somewhere outside of me much more connected to The Divine than I am. Fear…is self-doubt. Doubt that I will survive against the mountain lion about to attack me; doubt that I can provide for my family after being laid off, doubt that I will be loved in return and end up alone. While the mountain lion thing means we better run much faster, and that is a good thing to do in that situation, the others can wear on the body and the soul, causing a series of events to trigger more negative decisions based in the ultimate battle that is between fear and no doubt.
So what is no doubt? No doubt is when you can say to yourself: I can handle whatever happens. “ If I lose my job, I will get another one; if one relationship doesn’t work out, I will find someone else who I can share my world with, or not…I will be fine regardless”. That is the direct result of self love.
Self love means that you love yourself when you are right and wrong, fat or thin, light or dark, employed or unemployed, rich or poor. It is kind of like the vows two people take to marry, but should be spoken to the soul of the self. Why? Because if you don’t love yourself, honestly and truly, fear will become your closest friend. It will alter the way to do your job, relate to those you try to love (because if you don’t love you, how does that translate in to how you share your affection with others?), and impact (and often poison) every single other emotion you think and feel. This is no small matter.
When you love yourself, you become more confident. You are not afraid to go for that higher goal, you share yourself more openly and honestly with others, you garner greater opportunities, and you are more patient, tolerant, and truthful with others. If you are exposed by other threatened souls, you don’t care, because you are comfortable in your own skin. Does that mean you will always do the right thing? Well, no, it doesn’t. You will still make mistakes, maybe laugh at them more easily, not be so hard on yourself, and let go of blame and anger of yourself and others and move on. This is not lip service to those emotions, but real surrender.
When you don’t love yourself, fear takes hold. You begin to doubt your worth and value to the world; you question others’ affections toward you, and you show signs of dissatisfaction in your work, play, and how you relate to others. Everything becomes a chore, and nothing seems sacred. As those feelings grow, more negative emotions can emerge like prejudice, judgment, bullying, self-deprecation, and alienation. These feelings can spiral until there is no real perspective on the balance of love and fear; indeed the love can now become a reinforcing element of the fear: For example: “I better do this, or they won’t love me, no matter how much I don’t want to do it”. Or…
“I have to hide my secret or others will judge me, and I will be hurt.”
“I have to protect my reputation, no matter what the cost”. “If I don’t go to that school, then I am worthless!”
Friends, this is the time of year when these emotions may fly higher and farther than usual. Many high school students are dealing with college acceptance decisions, prom, jobs, the military decision, etc. They can be overwhelmed, and it is hard when you are a teenager to feel self worth when all those pressures are upon you. If you know a young person who is dealing with all that drama right now, give them a hug, a break, and a laugh, even if they look like they are handling it all well.
Many companies are nearing the end of their fiscal year, and may realize that they need to lay off more employees. If you lose your job, do not despair. Network, and remember that you have friends, family and coworkers who can sympathize. Don’t assume that all will be doom and gloom. This may be the change you need to do something you never thought possible. Ultimately, this loss may become an opportunity.
Break ups happen all the time, but so do new relationships. Out of the ashes may come something completely different, or not. What is actually wrong with being single and unattached? Don’t think of being lonely, just alone. Is that such a bad thing? Maybe it is a time to do some introspection work. Maybe you are getting an opportunity to get out of a relationship that was no longer working and into one that will do more for you than you imagined. With someone else…or with yourself; this may be a sign of a type of graduation of sorts for you.
When love doesn’t triumph over fear, trouble brews. It is only a matter of time before things get ugly. Don’t let them. Remember the Commandment: Love they neighbor, as Thy Self. Love yourself first.
Good things happen when you love you. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer, or have losses, or challenges, or disappointments. It will mean that you have a beautiful way to handle them: let go. Surrender and let that old stuff fall away. No matter what is on the horizon, rest assured you will handle it. Love combined with self acceptance gives you a whole new result in the equation: peace.
That is what I will leave you with…