Making Decisions Based on Love or Fear

Just Two Things by D. Eric Hanson

There are just two things, love and fear.
That one there in the breast
Will make the other disappear.

In fear is where the ego dwells
To languish without rest,
Imagining all sort of Hells.

Yet love will cast this demon out, 
Which is all for the best,
Creating joy without a doubt,

There are just two things, fear and love,
To that I can attest.

I have been thinking about the decision-making process not only in relation to creativity…..but how it fits into my day job and life in general.  I noticed that humans, myself included, tend to make decisions based on one of two things…..fear or love.   As I was coming to this conclusion, Eric, who is my friend and an amazing poet, (he has published two wonderfully written poetry books “Acedia” and “Psychology 101” that I highly recommend) sent me the above poem about fear and love.

I also follow “Seth’s Blog” written by Seth Godin.  He has written many times about the Lizard Brain which is this mechanism in the human mind that makes decisions based on self-preservation.  The lizard brain is all about fear based decision-making.

I have noticed that when I make a decision based on fear, even if it is with the best of intentions, I end up either hurting myself, loosing an opportunity, and/or hurting someone else.  Fear decisions can come in many shapes and forms.  It can be the over-protective parent that doesn’t allow a child to play sports or participate in activities because of fear.  It can be sabotaging your submittal to an art show because you fear rejection.  It can be remaining in an unhealthy relationship, even though both people know it isn’t working, because of fear.  It can be turning down a job in another city because you are afraid of living in a different place.  Fear of loosing your job (self-preservation) makes you blame someone else, when it was your error that caused the problem.  I could go on and on.

As to when I make decisions based on love or joy, I tend to be more productive, lighter, and generally happier all the way around.  Decisions based on love also come in many shapes and forms.  It can be finding joy in being healthier and taking a yoga class.  It can be a love of the natural world and making a beautiful garden.  It can be love of another person just as they are and not trying to change them.  It could be finding a love for something, like painting, and sharing that love through an exhibition.  It can be a love for words that you share  with strangers, friends and family through your poetry.  Your love of cooking that translates into carefully crafted meals for yourself and your family or a career in the culinary arts.  Again I could go on and on.

When it comes to making a choice, even a simple every day choice, are you making it out of love or are you basing your decision on fear?  How can you tell?  Is the decision joyful?  Does it cause you to progress in any way, shape or form?  Does it bless your life and those around you?  Does it cause pain in any way, shape or form?  Does it shut down growth or forward movement?  Does it harm or hinder those around you?  Fear based decisions cause pain, stifle growth and spread misery.  Love based decisions spread joy, progress, and bless your life and those around you.

The thing that I learned from my contemplation on decision-making is that I can choose to make interactions positive or negative based on my choices.  I can choose a fear based reaction or a reaction based on love.

You have this ability as well.  How you make decisions are your choice.  You choose your interactions.  Positive or negative, it is all up to you.

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