© 2015 Lynsey

I’m not afraid

How I wish that were true.

Frequently I am afraid, and I loathe the feeling and I loathe myself for being afraid.

I don’t mean watching horror movies in the dark by myself with all the doors wide open and then go down in the basement afraid, I mean day-to-day afraid.

When I was at high school I promised myself that I would be fearless when it came to borrowing books from the library. If the book was on the shelf, and I could borrow it, I gave myself permission to get the book, go to the counter, have have the book issued, and I would read it. I’ve read all kinds of radical, dangerous, disgusting, obscene, useful, fascinating, amazing, and inspirational books. I admit that I followed the time honoured tradition of hiding some books under my bed. I didn’t see the point of frightening my parents unnecessarily with books about politics and passion. I remember the most frightening book I read at that time was Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle“. Over 100 years later it still makes The Smiths: “Meat is Murder” seem like a comedy.

When it comes time to change our minds on something we often feel afraid. New people move into the neighbourhood and they’re a different colour, wear different clothes, speak different languages, and if that wasn’t enough, they eat different food. It’s natural to feel afraid. When I moved in with my (then) new family I wore different clothes, spoke differently, and oh, believe me, the food I made was way different. Fearful! Don’t even mention the music I listened too. Some years later, we’ve all got to know each other, perspectives on both sides have expanded and we have become enriched.

What’s more problematic is when changing our minds becomes impossible. We end up with black blobs of gunge hooked up in our brain streams and change becomes painful and difficult. Ideas can’t get in and ideas can’t get out – there really is two sides to the fence.

Years ago I taught unemployed people how to set up and run their own businesses. Many of them had been out of paid employment for years. The hardest work was helping them feel in their heart/heads that they could own/have/run a business. Some had never worked before, so the thought of working for themselves, day in and day out, was foreign in every respect. I don’t recall any of them having the benefit of entrepreneurial parents or siblings as role models. Some had parents who were also unemployed. Intergenerational self-concepts are difficult to change.

In 2014 I had the opportunity to see how corporate culture was essentially the same as the cultural models of thought exhibited by my students. People struggle to see beyond the razor wires in their minds. I don’t know how to cut the wire and bend it away, or how to untangle the black snags that tangle and obscure. I’m not 100% sure about how to do it for myself even. Knowing that change probably will be painful makes us wary. But we can change, a few words at a time, a little taste of a different food perhaps, changing the channel of tv or listening to a different radio station. I call this the ‘easy new’ – things we can brush up against and run away from easily if it becomes too scary. Over time we can adapt and learn to see beyond the wire. As a result we become wiser, more resilient, more adaptable people.

Anything to be less afraid.

08. Every day choose to bring about change.
09. Every day learn something new.
16. Every day looking at the order of things gives you power.
23. Every day retain your personal power. It belongs to you. No one else.
38. Every day be brave and give things a go. Use fear to trigger you into action.
43. Every day accept you will make mistakes. Learn from them. They are opportunities in disguise.

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