The Art of Emotional Awareness: Embracing Love and Confronting Fear


“If you truly want to change your life, you must first be willing to change your mind.” ~Dan Altman

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts recently, and the guest speaker, Gary Zukav, was explaining that humans operate from two major emotions. Once you learn this and can differentiate how you’re truly feeling, life can feel easier and more peaceful. He said this:

Every emotion stems from only two: love and fear.

It took me a second to let the message sink in, but the more I thought about this statement, the more I realized how true it is. Humans can experience a gamut of feelings such as anger, guilt, love, happiness, sadness, worry, shame, etc. But if you look closer at each emotion, you can trace them back to love or fear.

I started to apply this reasoning to my thoughts and began identifying which emotion was causing each one. I found that the heavier emotions like worry, anxiety, and insecurity were stemming from fear. Fear of what will happen, fear of what people thought of me, and so on.

When I started this process of identifying the thoughts, I realized I was spending way more of my time in fear than love. (It’s common for humans to be here because our brain is built to protect us.) I set out to train my brain to think more love-based thoughts like recognizing the abundance and love I already have and how I am so grateful to have the relationships I do.

Now, this isn’t to say that fear-based thoughts are bad; we need them for survival. And I’m also not saying that you should ignore any negative emotion and only think happy thoughts; that isn’t realistic or healthy!

But I found that I was consciously focusing on the heavier emotions instead of finding all the beauty around me. The fear-based thoughts turned into my comfort zone because making a big change felt intimidating. I’d rather just stay safe and let the worry dictate my actions.

I think we humans love to complicate life and be constantly in worry mode, fearing that if we let our guard down something bad will happen. But what if you consciously chose a thought that felt better? What if you chose to see the beauty and ease in life? Try it for just one day and see how you feel.

One area of my life where I was stuck in fear was my relationship with my physical body. I started a new journey this year, one where I am taking care of myself through choosing healthy food and movement. Releasing excess weight I gained from a stressful year in 2023.

Although I knew what foods to eat and that I needed to move my body more, my mind was still against me. Telling me I couldn’t do it or it wouldn’t make a difference. But this time around, I wasn’t going to throw in the towel just because my mind wanted to.

I decided to choose love-based thoughts about myself and my new journey. I figured that no one was going to do it for me, and I needed to be my biggest advocate. I had to choose the thoughts and beliefs that would support me and remind myself that I was worth the extra effort.

Let’s take a look at love-based vs. fear-based thoughts and how I completely changed my perspective by reframing my thinking.

Fear-based thought: I have to cut out “bad” foods so I can lose weight quickly.

Love-based thought: I’m choosing to eat whole foods that give me energy.

Fear-based thought: If I’m not spending an hour in the gym every day, then what’s the point in moving my body? It won’t make a difference.

Love-based thought: I choose to move my body daily, in a way that makes me happy, because it improves my mental and physical health.

Fear-based thought: I have to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount to be happy and confident.

Love-based thought: I’m taking ownership of my health so I can feel and look my best and be confident in my own body, not because I need to look like anyone else. I know that external appearance has little to do with being happy.

Fear-based thought: I need to punish myself for past decisions and actions, so that means I can’t have fun anymore or enjoy food.

Love-based thought: I know that this is a journey, and perfection is not the goal. I’m making daily decisions that support where I want to go, and that includes having fun.

See how supportive and kind the love-based thoughts feel? Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges or setbacks along the way. Of course there will be! But I can choose to be kind to myself and have my own back.

The love-based approach to this journey reminds me why I’m doing it—to take care of my body, not because I am trying to look like someone else. The love-based approach is what is going to set me up for long-term success.

Fear wants everything immediately, and love knows that good things take time to grow. Fear will tell you to stick to what you’re used to, even if it’s not the healthiest choice. Fear likes comfort because comfort = safety. That’s why so many of us find it challenging to change our habits.

To make any change, you first need to start with your belief system and how you see yourself. Doing anything out of punishment, shame, or insecurity will never last. These are all based on what other people think of you and don’t give you a greater sense of purpose as to why you’re making a change.

Now it’s time to look at your own life and identify which of these two emotions you are living in. The next time you are starting a journey or just feel like you are stuck in life, first ask yourself what thoughts and beliefs you are carrying. Do they feel supportive and loving or fearful?

If you find yourself having more fear-based thoughts, that’s okay and normal. What you choose to do with those thoughts is where your power lies. Start to look at the fear and question what it protects you from. Will it get you to your goals? Would you talk to your best friend this way? Having awareness and confronting these thoughts is what will completely change your life.

Do you desire more love and kindness? Start by being kind to yourself! Write down all the ways you are worth the extra effort and care. Start finding the beauty that already exists in your life, all around you. Decide right now that you’ll be your biggest cheerleader because when you have your own back, almost anything is possible.

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