As we begin 2023, imagine what the world – your life – could be like if we gave fear a rest. A long rest, a longer than a day rest.
Fear mongering has surpassed fever pitch and has created schisms and disunity on a global and ecclesiastical scale. Even without reading, watching, or listening to the news, we can feel the tension and negative energy in the air. A collective consciousness of fear has caused some people to alter their lives drastically. They won’t venture out after sundown, travel to visit friends and family, and have totally eliminated adventuring. And then some seemed to have thrown all caution to the wind by not being willing to adhere to public health policy. Those who appeared to be fearless were, in fact, extremely fearful, not of an invisible and unknown virus, but that their “right” to do what they wanted to do was being infringed upon. Public safety be damned.
Fear-mongeringIn the week leading up to Christmas 2022, meteorologists and weather forecasters whipped audiences into a frenzy about a violent winter storm approaching. According to three computer models, up to 18 inches of snow was predicted (more on that trend some other time). But, as food staples quickly disappeared from store shelves, a friend and I mused that it was likely that a fraction of the predicted snow accumulation would fall.
And we were correct. At least here in Chicago and immediately surrounding areas, 4 to 6 inches fell. Meanwhile, at some of the local grocery stores, the day before the snow was to start falling, not an egg or loaf of familiar non-exotic bread could be found. It was definitely the topic of amusing conversation in the aisles.
Fear prompts us as a society to denigrate others for their thoughts should they dare not believe as we do. God forbid they express their thoughts out loud or forward a link to an article they found interesting. Strip them of their accomplishments, wealth, and ability to earn a living. As if it is written somewhere on a stone tablet that everyone should believe as you do and agree with you on everything. That doesn’t even happen in families, much less with strangers.
And finally, the most egregious impact of pervasive fear-mongering we are susceptible to daily is that it has helped us forget that all of us, every one of us, is human. How we treat others, whether they are the same or different from ourselves, is a testament or defilement of our humanity and our divinity. We have become anesthetized to the evidence that presents itself to us daily.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Emma Lazarus
This inscription is on the Statue of Liberty, which is permanently stationed in the New York Harbor. She greets everyone to the United States, whether visitors, immigrants, or returning citizens.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control.” From the sacred texts of the Christian faith, 2 Timothy 1:7
Fear! Can we just give it a rest?
Deborah Gray Young
Deborah is an ICF-accredited coach working primarily with professional women of color to help them better manage their personal and professional brands to achieve their next levels of success. She is also the author of three books.