Have you ever heard of the story of Mr. Fear and Mr. Love?
Once upon a time in a small village in South France lived two gentlemen, Mr. Fear and Mr. Love. They were both perceived as relatively smart and had a very similar life by many standards. Physically speaking they also looked very similar and in fact many people mistakenly believe they were brothers. The biggest noticeable difference between them was probably that one loved cheese while the other hated it. (Is it possible for a French not to like cheese?)
More seriously, the real difference between them was that Mr. Love was significantly happier than Mr. Fear. Why was that? I let you guess!
So how were these two gentlemen different? Let’s have a look now.
1a. Mr. Fear was controlled by his fear
Mr. Fear never fully realized that his lack of satisfaction in his life was the result of underlying fears! Never noticing that fear was his biggest enemy, he would use excuses all the time and stay comfortably in his victim mindset making sure that he would never have to face his fears. He enjoyed pitying himself for not being good enough, being too old or not knowing the right people to do what he wanted to do. He could easily have filled a whole book with his never-ending blaming list.
Eventually, he turned himself into a self-help junkie going to many seminars on personal development and investing thousands and thousands of dollars in personal materials. However, that it didn’t work. That’s was simply another distraction to keep him away from his fears and make him feel momentarily good about himself.
1b. Mr. Love faced his fears and outgrew them
Mr. Love realized that when it comes to personal development, one very simply criteria was enough to tell whether he was evolving towards a more fulfilling life: It was whether he was getting rid of his fears or not. Or, to put it in a different way, whether he was getting out of his comfort zone or not.
When he felt a butterfly in his stomach or an uncomfortable feeling while he was about to do something, he knew that he had to do it. He became almost addicted to that feeling as he realized that each time he got out of his comfort zone, his fears weakened and the field of possibilities expanded. What an exhilarating feeling!
He didn’t even need to read personal development books or go to self-help seminars anymore. What he was doing was pure raw personal development work: destroying fear!
2a. Mr. Fear cared too much about his self-image
Mr. Fear was constantly worrying about what other people would think of him and was trying hard to control his self-image. However, he failed to realize that his self-image was largely a creation from people around him who wanted him to be a certain way. He was living up to other people’s expectations not his own. As a result, he often felt like people around him had no clue of who he really was. It is because he wasn’t taking responsibility and being himself.
Even worse than that, in order to be accepted, he was constantly trying to please everyone. His reasoning was that if he did everything other people wanted him to do, they would love him. Wouldn’t they? He was pretending to be nice to everyone, but in reality he was simply afraid of being rejected. His inability to say no was eroding his self-respect and creating resentment towards people who were constantly asking for his help. Deep down, he didn’t feel like he was worthy and was hoping that people around him would tell him that he was. Similar to a drug addict, he needed his regular dose of approval.
He had to admit that he felt quite comfortable acting like a nice guy and pleasing everyone? Was he such a nice guy? Arguably not? Why? He wasn’t pleasing people because he liked them, but out of fear: the fear of being rejected, the fear of not being part of the group. It was nothing more than a selfish act.
2b. Mr. Love was just being himself caring little about his self-image
On the other hand, Mr. Love was doing his best to be honest with everyone he met. He was being himself and weren’t afraid to say no when necessary. His reasoning was very simple: if I don’t want to be liked for someone I’m not, I’d rather be myself. He knew that if he were himself, some people would like him for who he was. He also knew that other people wouldn’t like him. However, that was unavoidable or even necessary.
Rather than pleasing people to keep his self-image under control, his focus was always on doing and saying what was best for them even if it meant being hated from time to time. He realized that in order for him to be himself, he had to let go and to stop trying to control people around him. After all, he couldn’t force people to like him.
3a. Mr. Fear was never good enough
Mr. Fear had a deep feeling of not being good enough. He was constantly comparing himself to others and tended to focus his attention on what he « wasn’t good enough at » making him even more insecure. To overcome this sense of insecurity he was working harder than anyone else trying to gain power and become more popular and chasing one recognition after the other. However, nothing seemed to satisfy him.
3b. Mr. Love never compared himself to others
Mr. Love understood very well the danger of comparing oneself to others. His father taught him early on that he should NEVER compare himself to others. Never! His father simply said to him that since we are all different, comparing oneself to other people wasn’t totally irrelevant. « Son, comparing yourself with other will only bring you pain and sorrow in life. The sooner you will understand that the better». That was his words of wisdom.
4a. Mr. Fear was all about competition
Mr. Fear was a very competitive guy. Well, how does it relate to fear? Why do you think people compete in the first place? To win of course. What do they need to win for? To prove themselves? Why? Because they are afraid that deep inside they are not good enough as they are. That is a fear-based mindset.
4b. Mr. Love was all about cooperation
Mr. Love, him, believed in cooperation over competition. He understood that he couldn’t do anything on himself and that by leveraging other people’s strength and inspiring them to become the best version of themselves, he would get better results and everybody will win. He wasn’t against « friendly » competition but winning wasn’t a concept he liked very much. He believed cooperation was way more powerful than competition and didn’t think that competition could be the solution to the world’s major problems. Not everybody can win but everybody can cooperate.
5a. Mr. Fear’s focus was on getting
As Mr. Fear doesn’t feel good enough, he is constantly trying to get something out of every interaction. A little bit of approval here, some recognition there, some more power over there. How can I get more? He would ask himself. How can I receive so much love, recognition, fame, power and money that I will finally feel good enough?
5b. Mr. Love’s focus was on giving
How can I serve more? How I can help more people? That is what Mr. Love was always focusing on. Mr. Love understood that the first step to receiving was giving. He also noticed that the more he was giving to people and helping them, the more fulfilled he would feel. Each time he thought of a way he could help someone he knew, he would do it. If he had found some information that could help an acquaintance he would happily share it with him/her. His motto wasn’t “I give therefore I shall receive” but “Because I’m giving I’m already receiving”.
How the story ends
Eventually, stress took a toll on Mr. Fear’s health. His doctor told him that he had only 3 months live. In an instant, all Mr. Fear’s trouble about not having enough and not being good enough vanished. It was just irrelevant. He then realized that all his life he has been asking himself the wrong question: It wasn’t “how can I get more so that I can become more?” but “how can I can become myself more so that I will receive more?”
Are you more like Mr. Fear or Mr. Love? What fears are you running away from? In fact, you probably already know what kind of fears you are running away from, but you won’t admit it to yourself would you?
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you fears are.
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