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12 Reasons Why You Should Always Choose Love Over Fear

12 Reasons Why You Should Always Choose Love Over Fear

Life is an unpredictable maelstrom of events, people, thoughts, and feelings. Times get tough for everyone at some point, and it can be all too tempting to give in to the lies of fear. We foresee the obstacles ahead of us and think, “I’m never going to make it.”

Every individual is given the chance to choose between two avenues at multiple junctions in life: fear or love. The way to live in abundance and freedom is through love, and below are 12 reasons why you should always choose love over fear.

1. You are more often motivated by what you can gain and take part in. Love is a natural pathway to travel towards something you can gain.

If you’re excited about an opportunity ahead of you, it shows you recognize there’s something to gain from it. This opportunity to gain – whether it’s a new job, a valuable business partner, a new place to call home, or a romantic relationship – will be fully realized when you are acting through love. Embrace the sacrifices necessary to achieve your goal, and forget that fear was ever there.

Vince Lombardi, the famous football coach, reminds us that in order to be successful, we must embrace the kind of hard work that we love. “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

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2. If you truly love something or someone, you will continue working towards success, allowing your love to motivate you.

Despite the appearance that some people have it all together, life is not easy for anyone. The truth is, anyone who has established long-lasting success in life had to continually fight for it until it arrived. The exact same will be true of your story. Nothing that lasts comes easily, and nothing that’s easy will last. Allow your love for your quest to keep you fueled as you encounter hardships and rigorous trials.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once remarked about the need to collectively continue working towards success: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

3. Love requires sacrifice, and if you are willing to sacrifice for what you love, you will grow exponentially.

When we find something we love in life, it requires sacrifice. The magnificent events, people, and circumstances we come across in life are almost always the result of intentional sacrifice. We need to give something up in order to get something greater. Henry Ford once said, “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” Let the power of your love for your journey overtake any fear that claims you’re incapable of making the necessary sacrifices.

4. When you begin something great, it is because you “fell in love” with your project. Keep this mindset at the forefront of your actions.

Our brains possess an incredible power that awakens when we strike out to succeed at something we love. When we’re committed to achieving something we truly desire, it makes the work far simpler – practically a cakewalk! We become so enticed by our goals and results that our internal drive finds a way to make it happen.

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Your goals exist for a reason. They motivate with a keen love for your work. Famous author Jack Canfield says, “Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.” Let the fact that you “fell in love” with your goal or project guide your steps toward success.

5. Biologically speaking, the human brain is more likely to respond to something positive than something negative. Choosing love will guide your brain positively.

On a simple biological level, your brain responds with greater clarity and vision when thinking about something positive rather than something negative. This is why it’s a fundamental human inclination to listen to people who agree with us, rather than people who speak from a starkly contrasted point of view. Take a moment to reflect on how diving head first into a project you love will keep your brain focused on positive action.

Speaking of action, Confucius offers sage advice when you encounter unexpected roadblocks with your goals: “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” It’s better to keep your path flexible than to give in to fear and abandon it entirely.

6. Fear will darken and cloud your path, but love will broaden and enlighten it.

Embracing your fear toward a project or goal will only hamper your ability to move forward. Concentrating on love will show you that anything is possible if you care enough to make it happen. As Franklin D. Roosevelt would say, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” Don’t let fear have any place on your path towards success!

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7. Recognize that fear is an emotion felt when something huge is taking place, but that love will allow you to push through those obstacles.

Fear is a natural human emotion, and you should understand that everyone becomes afraid at different times in life. You’re normal and healthy if you encounter fear from time to time. But moving forward under the visage of love shows you that fear only creates obstacles through our own choosing. You have the capacity to look past those obstacles when harnessing love.

Famous basketball player Michael Jordan shares his own thoughts on overcoming obstacles: “If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”

8. In the words of Jim Carrey, “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love.”

One of the world’s most beloved comedians Jim Carrey delivers an excellent point about the battle between love and fear. Fear can keep you constrained within the belief that many things are “impossible.” Love is the key that unlocks the cage, showing you that it’s okay to mess up, even when you’re pursuing what you love.

9. Love frees you to act with confidence and courage.

Love will be the driving force that activates courage and confidence during your journey. These two characteristics are not experienced or delivered when acting through fear. Even Helen Keller struggled with maintaining courage and confidence at all times, but reached this conclusion: “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

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Fear seeks to place limits on what you believe you can achieve; love will be the patient reminder that confidence in taking risks and courage to arrive at results is all you need to fight through failure.

10. Fear says, “I can’t be enough.” Love says, “I already am enough.”

Fear tries to stunt your growth and sell you lies; love returns to your door every day and knocks until you open it. Famous psychologist Albert Ellis reminds us that “The art of love is largely the art of persistence.” Stick with what you love long enough, and you will be able to accomplish.

11. Love creates new opportunities out of problems.

Even with the most detailed or precise plan, sometimes life throws us a curveball and we’re forced to make do under less-than-ideal circumstances. Fear attempts to tell you this is the end; love is confident and secure in its ability to derive fresh opportunities out of unexpected events. Desiring something strongly enough can keep us on the path of love and success. Personal-success author Napoleon Hill shared much wisdom during his time, with one of his most famous quotes speaking about desire: “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” Let your educational or career desires create new opportunities that can powerfully alter the face of the world.

12. Love supports others and creates a more beautiful world through cohesion.

Ultimately, it takes every individual striving towards living in love to create a more beautiful world. Fear tries to keep people separated, discouraging beneficial and incredible collaboration. Love is the undying force that creates teams out of unassuming individuals, and empowers each person to contribute their best. In the words of famous speaker and author John C. Maxwell, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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