Updated: Jan 14, 2021
Dear Survivor: many think that the opposite of love is hate.
However, I surmise that hate is merely a by-product of a bigger enemy, and the truer opposite of love: FEAR.
You see, fear is not merely a psychological response to danger or an imaginative thought process that happens during trauma and stress; fear is a spirit. A master spirit of darkness that has many minions beneath it, running around, doing its bidding in various forms that secretly, and sometimes rather quietly, dismantle the lives of survivors and victims everywhere.
No one is immune to this spirit of fear - that is, unless, you have a solid and firm foundation in LOVE, who love is, what love acts like, and the fruits of the spirit of Love.
Fear creates autoimmune responses in our brain that affect our entire bodies, minds, and souls. It wouldn't be able to do this unless it was a spiritual essence, because, dear survivor, at the core of our beings we are more than souls or bodies: we are spirit. When something is able to penetrate you on a spiritual level like this, it takes more than medication, meditation, and "positive vibes" to cure the ailment.
It takes faith, healing, and understanding of the character of true love.
Fear is a tormentor. It triggers the hormones in your brain that tell your body you want to run away, freeze in terror, or fight whatever invisible (or visible) threat you are anticipating.
This is called "fight/flight/freeze" mode, and it triggers a deeper response from your body that shuts down the parts of your brain needed for homeostasis.
Homeostasis, to put it simply, is your body's ability to maintain a constant atmosphere in the face of ever-changing environments and situations.
When homeostasis is shut down, disease, illness, and mental breakdown begin to occur.
Fear comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Love comes to give you life, and life abundantly. Enduring abuse is one of the most evil things a person can endure, because this abuse is not merely physical or psychological - it is spiritual. Many survivors and victims are not receiving the spiritual healing they need when going to therapy; many therapists only focus on the emotional and mental aspects of the side effects of abuse without really knowing how to mentor a person to find their true spiritual foundation.
Fear is an enemy. It is not a natural thing to walk around feeling afraid all the time. It is also not natural to fear your surroundings constantly; fear, oftentimes, is a trauma response that tells our bodies to prepare for war. When we walk around having this war mentality all the time, we create invisible enemies within ourselves. We now perceive everything as a threat: happiness, joy, peace. The ways and nature of love become foreign to us when we live in constant fear.
Fight fear with love. Love is not a feeling or an emotion. Love is a choice, a belief. Yes, we can *feel* love. That doesn't make it a feeling. Love is so much more than what society has told us it is. Love is a belief and a lifestyle, a daily choice, a conscious decision that we make in the face of adversity, stress, and trauma. We can choose love over fear. And in so doing, we can lead ourselves to true, spiritual healing.
The Characteristics of Love:
Love is Patient. This means love takes an extra moment to think things over, and gives others (including yourself) the space and time to process emotions.
Love is Kind. This means love has an automatic narrative of kindness. Love chooses to take the extra step of kindness over being petty and wanting revenge.
Love is not jealous, boastful, or proud. This means that love makes room for humility in all situations, not demanding to be "right"; jealousy does not dictate the choices made in love.
Love is not rude. This means love keeps its mouth quiet and chooses to be silent rather than speaking words that would purposely inflict pain on others, or self.
Love does not demand its own way. This means that love makes room, space, and time for the thoughts and feelings of others, and is flexible and humble when confronted or challenged. Love isn't threatened when it doesn't feel "in control".
Love is not irritable, and keeps no records of wrongs. Listen up, dear survivors! Love keeps NO RECORDS OF WRONGS. I know this is a hard truth pill to swallow since you endured so very many wrongs at the hand of your abuser. Love and healing has a narrative of forgiveness, period. Love knows that forgiveness is not for the abuser, but for self.
Love does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices when truth wins. This means that love does not seek revenge, or to avenge itself. Love gives the consequences to the heavenlies and moves on with its life. Love rejoices in truth and seeks truth, no matter what.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. This is also a hard truth pill to swallow, I understand, dear survivor. The feelings of hopelessness is a response to trauma that can only be cured with a narrative of love. As a survivor, you already know how to endure through the pain. Now it's time to learn how to endure through the joy, healing, and relief that comes with undoing the mindsets of trauma.
*Fun Mental Health Fact*
The positive effects of love are undeniable. Love promotes a feeling of well being and safety. Your brain releases oxytocin and dopamine when it is focused on choices of love.
Oxytocin is the hormone that helps couples form a loving bond. It also reduces stress levels and helps fight depression.
Fear, on the other hand, does the opposite. It wreaks absolute havoc in your hormones, which in turn wreaks havoc on your organs and thought processes. Fear produces cortisol, which is the hormone that induces flight/fight/freeze in your brain.
When making choices of love over choices of fear, your hormones literally win out and help keep your body healthy in your healing process!
Want some extra resources on this topic? Check out Choosing Therapy's article on the Cycle of Abuse by clicking here!