Do you do it out of love or fear?

Oprah once said that everything we do is done out of either love or fear. The more I contemplate this, the more I realize how very true it is. Some days I exercise out of love for riding my bike through the beautiful countryside on a sunny day. Some days I drag myself to the gym to exercise out of fear of gaining weight. Some days I go to work out of love for working with a child to help him learn to propel his wheelchair and gain independence. Some days I go to work even though I feel incredibly exhausted and overworked out of fear of losing skills, fear of losing a good job with benefits, and fear of financial instability. I almost always go out with my friends out of love for being with my friends, but every once in a while when I am especially tired, I might go out just out of the fear of missing out. I always go to the beach out of love for the beach and I always go to the dentist out of fear of rotting teeth. There is no love there.

When I think back to the jobs I have had over the years, there have been times where I had two jobs at once; one was my job, and one was my work. I went to my job to pay the bills and I was motivated to have that job because of fear of not having enough money or fear of losing my skills in a particular area of occupational therapy. My work on the other hand is my love. That is where I feel fulfilled and find meaning. Sometimes I have needed to do both at once.

Think about the work that you do. Is it your work? Is your heart in it? Do you love it? Or is it just a job? A paycheck? A means to an end?

Here is a radical thought… can we choose love over fear? Can we objectively look at our life, our responsibilities, our life roles, our identities and actively choose to act out of love verses fear? Does this autonomous choice require tangible changes? Career changes? Outlook changes? Often when we make the conscious decision to choose love over fear, we have to let go of ego. Ego can drive fear by influencing our decisions to do things we do not necessarily love. We may stay in a dead-end job because we invested so much to get there.  If our whole identity is “clinical supervisor”, it can be really hard to let go of that and move on, even if we are unhappy.

When we have the strength to actively choose love over fear, incredible things start to happen. Instead of protecting our ego, we become free to choose how we spend our time and energy and allow for love to take the reins. It is like a liberating breath of fresh air and the “choosing love over fear” philosophy can be applied to every area of your life! In the words of the great Jerry Garcia, “Without love in a dream, it will never come true”.