One of my biggest pet peeves is fear. “A life lived in fear is a life half lived,” is the famous quote. My version is, a life lived in fear is a life not worth living.
We are programmed from the time we are tiny to be afraid. A common and widely used style of parenting uses fear as the primary motivator to affect children’s behavior. You disobeyed, so you get punishment. “Just wait until your father gets home. Then you’ll really get it.” If one punishment doesn’t put a child in a sufficient state of fear of repeating said behavior, than the punishment gets ramped up and up until the child is too afraid of the punishment to repeat the unwanted behavior. It moves from banishing the child to a corner of isolation, to the chair of embarrassment, to taking away prized possessions, to spanking and washing out the mouth with soap, to putting the child in a freezing cold shower. Parents used to prefer punishment that used physical pain to affect the child’s behavior. Today, parents are more into emotional pain. This is what is also known as obedience= submission, subordination. Institutionalized fear of reprisal.
If it isn’t enough that we get it at home, mass media and communication (tv, radio, magazines and newspapers) constantly bombard us with advertisements designed to scare us into buying their products. Buy this anti-wrinkle cream or you will have a face full of wrinkles!! OMG! Just what is wrong with showing a wrinkle? Oh yeah, if you have wrinkles that means you’re old. So what? I wouldn’t go back to 20 years old for anything. (I usually refer to my 20’s as my stupid years).
And one of my personal pet peeves is the scare tactics and hype about GERMS! Oh no! A germ!!! We have millions of germs that live on us and in us. We couldn’t survive without them. And if you use germ killing sanitizer on you and in your house on a regular basis, you are not only killing harmful bacteria, but the good bacteria that we need. Especially when it comes to our skin, we need the outer layer of bacteria and their defenses. If you wash with soap and water, those bacteria will be able to repopulate hours quicker than if you use an alcohol based sanitizer. Having a healthy respect for things that could potentially make us sick is one thing. But being bombarded over and over again until we are afraid, is more than annoying.
What is our biggest fear? Death. We are scared to death about dying. Why? Because we have been misinformed about the death experience. We are taught that when we die, we will be judged. And if we haven’t lived a life in a particular manner, doing the right things, saying the right things, looking the right way, thinking the right way, we will end up in a very nasty and painful place for the rest of eternity. WRONG!!! So very wrong.
So, no more fear. No more getting sucked into marketing and advertising based on it. No more getting tied in a knot if my kid doesn’t sail through school learning everything he’s supposed to learn, because his brain just doesn’t get some concepts. No more feeling bad about all the things that society tells me I am supposed to do, or wear, or say, or feel, or think, that go against my grain or don’t ring true or right for me. Moving toward authenticity.
My authenticity. Not necessarily anyone else’s. Just mine. Where did this rant come from? Half of a lifetime lived in fear. No more.