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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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Brad Johnson

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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