What is the opposite of fear?
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/06/2020 (846 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
We are living in a time full of fear. Between the pandemic and its economic effects and the situation in some major cities in North America, it’s not surprising if you just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head.
Believe me, I know. That’s assuming you have the privilege of staying home — not everyone does. We are all grateful to the courageous souls who go out and keep our society functioning, our vulnerable ones taken care of, and the health-care system working.
You might be tempted to think that courage is the opposite of fear but I believe you would be wrong. Fearless people go out and do things and we often admire them. But truly courageous people are not immune to fear — they feel the fear and keep going anyway. I believe those people are the true heroes.
So what is the opposite of fear? How about love?
You’ve heard me talk before about how it is impossible to be entitled and grateful at the same time — if you are truly grateful for what you have, all your resentment and anger at what you don’t have (and think you should) will melt away, at least for that moment. Can we replace fear with love in the same way?
The spiritual activist Gabrielle Bernstein certainly thinks so. In her books, including the New York Times bestseller The Universe Has Your Back, she makes the case for a loving connection with the ineffable force she calls ‘the Universe’, to achieve inner peace and joy. Figures as diverse as the Dalai Lama and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel have said similar things. It’s a theme that repeats in many traditions all over the world.
In a more down-to-earth mode, love and service to others are a great way to get over fear that may stop you from doing the things that you want to do. It’s amazing how humans will do for others what they won’t do for themselves. That, too, is love.
To conclude with the words of the late, great Jack Layton:
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
West Kildonan community correspondent
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan.