There is a lot of fear out there in the world. And there are a lot of people out there telling you to be afraid. The bogeyman is coming to get you – be very afraid: The deficit is killing the economy; government spending got us through the pandemic. Vaccines will give you autism; vaccines are the only thing that will save you. If you interfere with my religious freedom to not bake that cake, you are violating my rights; if your behavior isn’t in line with the actual teachings of Jesus, you are not a Christian. Georgie Soros and the Illuminati are forming one world government; gerrymandering is killing democracy. The Muslims/Jews/Evangelicals are coming to get us; undocumented workers are taking our jobs.
Everybody and everything gets its turn at being the bogeyman.
Whether you fear death panels, creationism, being limited to one hamburger a month, cannibalism, or being told what you can and can’t do with your body, you all are aware of the fear-based insanity we have been living through. And everybody is doing it – certain members of the clergy, quite a number of politicians, and various media empires catering to whoever will listen are using fear to manipulate the masses into frothing-at-the-mouth levels of fear and anger. This is nothing new, but it has reached levels that are moving us toward the point where we have all taken leave of our senses and trust no one and believe nothing.
Any political leader, media figure, or businessperson trying to scare you is someone to run from. Usually they tell you either they are the ones to fix it or it can’t be fixed, so do as you are told. Don’t think for yourself, facts don’t exist.
Um, yes they do. These people are not interested in the greater good. What they seek to do is pit you against friends, neighbors, and family in order to serve their own ambitions or agendas.
There are scary things happening that do need to be addressed quickly, but the answer is never to give your power to others and then cower and quake in fear, nor to get so angry you’re incited to harm others or yourself. So, let’s take a small step together toward addressing all of the fear that is out there and, hopefully at the same time, take some of our power back, thus robbing the bogeyman of his power over us.
When our fears come up, they tend to cluster in certain groupings. We all have patterns. That is normal, expected and human. So, it is always helpful when some hobgoblin is trying to push your buttons to know which button is being pushed and then take their finger off your button.
For some of us, we fear that we will somehow or for some reason be abandoned, rejected, humiliated, or betrayed. These work together in all kinds of combinations.
Others fear the punishment of a martyr. No matter how hard I have tried or have worked, no matter how much I have loved or given, no matter how much I have personally sacrificed, no one will appreciate it. No one will understand what I have been through, how I have suffered, fearing they will misunderstand my good intentions. Or I am being expected to do things that are beyond my responsibility, beyond my paygrade, beyond my capability. I am afraid of getting punished for things that I had nothing to do with. Martyred somehow, for some reason. You see how this can play out from the absurd to real work situations or within relationships.
A third grouping of fears for some of us is the fear that if we are not perfect – at work, as a parent, in an intimate relationship, as a friend – that we will get blamed, that we will fall short, for some reason, of our own expectations, much less everybody else’s. Afraid of not getting it right, afraid of being wrong or incorrect or misguided or having misunderstood. The demand of perfection is often what many of us use as a substitute for self-trust, and when we have not learned to trust ourselves, we are open to being manipulated by those who seek to make us doubt ourselves and be fearful.
Others of us fear exclusion. It is not the same as fear of abandonment. You see a lot of this societally in the anger that so many have about some group or another supposedly getting advantages or benefits that they are being excluded from receiving. That fear triggers a lot of people.
Now, these are not the only types of fear. And, again, we all have our own patterns. When you look at yours, you will be amazed at the consistency of that pattern. Look at where you go when your buttons get pushed. You can start taking your power back just by recognizing what is happening and by refusing to give your power away to a habituated response to someone trying to make you feel afraid. You will find, as some darned Democrat once said, that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. And in recognizing that, you will have learned a universal truth that transcends politics, media and religion.
Living Skills offers positive psychology counseling, spiritual counseling and life coaching services in Atlanta for the LGBTQ community. Also available by Skype. If you have questions, comments or want to find out about our services, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.livingskills.pro.