Fear Or Love

A dear friend of mine recently read a piece I wrote that ran in New York Times under “Faces of Breast Cancer.” He asked me, “My question is …where is the fear?”

I replied, “Because love conquers fear”.

I believe in that statement with all my heart. That is how I have lived my life. I just didn’t understand it as well as I do now. Love always conquers fear.

As a psychiatrist, I listen to stories steeped in fear and anxiety. Sometimes entire life spans spent in avoiding the fear and lives embroiled in the anxiety of change and acceptance.

Anxiety is cruel and visceral. It lives under the skin, from tip of the finger to end of the hair, in every pore, in every cell. Once it takes over, it is so hard to limit it. Its like a raging forest fire, you can only contain it and it takes forever to extinguish. And lots of damage follows.

Dreams usually burn first in the fire of anxiety. Dreams need one to be fearless, to take on the world and the pain that is required to see them through. Self esteem is the second this that is reduced to ash in anxiety. Lack of faith in one’s self is so toxic to the psyche. It takes away from the contentment of the soul, bit by bit, till one is merely a shell of who they are.

When I was told I had cancer, I was afraid too. Just like anyone else would be. Why not? When you are handed uncertainly for lifetime in a concrete word called “cancer,” it evokes fear and lots of it. However, the antidote of fear is love.

I saw cancer, I loved myself more. I trusted my self. I saw my needs. I reassessed priorities.

Change causes anxiety. We all make excuses to not change the status quo. Its predictable and certain, we know to a certain extent how to deal with it. Unknown is scary but not taking the chance closes the world of possibilities forever.

I took the chance and said, “I am afraid, but I love more than I fear.” I opened my heart and made the uncertainty certain. The love for myself, for others, gave me the courage and strength that I needed.

Its a choice, a daily choice that requires practice. Choose love over fear and let the magic unfold.

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