When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of human emotions, I often say there are only two types of emotions. Some are constructive and others are destructive. Constructive emotions build and sustain emotional health. Destructive emotions break down and reduce emotional health.
Most people would agree that love is a constructive emotion. Fear can be destructive if it lingers too long, although a fear of fear is common. Fear is often useful, if that is what it takes to motivate us in the right direction. Fears of dying of tobacco related disease has inspired many to give up smoking and embrace a healthier lifestyle.
The two categories I use to describe emotions are love and fear. Love represents all the positive emotions you can identify, such as forgiveness, relief, contentment, peace, mutual respect, personal honour, kindness, beauty, growth, trust and integrity. This list is endless.
Fear represents all negative emotions, such as guilt, blame, resentment, bitterness, decay, anger, rage and violence. The list of fears is also infinite. However, there are hidden benefits in fear, as demonstrated in the example of smoking. When you find the benefits, you will have transformed the fear into a constructive emotion. Conquering an addiction to smoking by letting go of an attachment to it brings a great deal of relief, knowing that you are on your way to a much healthier lifestyle.
Fear is a good trigger that you can use to alert you to your opportunities to bring a positive or constructive emotion into the situation, and thereby transform it into an expression of love. In the case of smoking, the love expressed is for yourself and your loved ones.
In the end, love wins. If love was your favourite pet, then fear would be love’s dark underbelly. Love is the only real power you have to transform your life and the lives of others. Love needs fear for its existence. Fear needs love for transformation.