‘ If you don’t study hard this year all your friends will move to the eighth grade, while you repeat another year in the seventh grade with completely new faces ’, I said to my eleven year old nephew with a straight face and a sincere hope to influence a young mind towards growth.
He looked at me in silence, controlling his tears, secretly picturing a horrific scenario of losing his best friends while nodding halfheartedly in agreement to work hard the coming academic year.
A few hours later, I couldn’t stop thinking about the ridiculous conversation with my adorable nephew and realized that all I did was instill a deep sense of fear as opposed to truly encouraging him in the right direction. Rewinding through my childhood memories I saw my parents and the parents of my classmates reprimand us in the same manner for playing too much and ignoring those mystical-oh-so-interesting-textbooks.
The truth is, at every stage of life, society instills fear, limiting the natural course of existence, justifying it with one or more negative consequences. To make matters worse, this fear has a compounding effect as one gets older, resulting in abnormal behavioral patterns that have become hard to categorize by the most reputed mental health professionals.
Believe it or not, we are products of our social conditioning. And as we grow older, our fears grow exponentially leaving our minds in a constant state of self-doubt because who ever told us to just live this moment.
Growing up, my fears only seemed to evolve from one stage to another. From the fear associated with planning a career, to dealing with uncertainty in an ever growing competitive and fast-paced world, to securing the perfectly calculated dollar amount to establish stability amid volatile world economies beyond our control — fear is thriving in stealth mode while we remain oblivious of its very existence. And to add salt to fire, even the spiritual elements of our existence have an associated fear where our actions have a definitive good (read heaven) or bad (read hell) ending at the culmination of a life we never truly lived to the fullest.
The opposite of Fear is not Courage.
It’s Freedom !
The freedom to be able to think and act beyond all doubts and negative perceptions of existence and seize the day. The very purpose of life is curbed by compounding fears, often imposed by societal norms and traditions.
I thought back to my conversation with my nephew and wondered how different his reaction would be had I changed only a few words voicing my concerns.
Parents often think they can drive growth and success through the mode of fear, but they’re highly mistaken. Because fear only steals away the innocence while pressurizing a young mind to think beyond it’s means.
Fear is a Liar ! A liar who insists on following a set path in life, slowly imprisoning every hope and dream, big or small, real or unreal, to make this very existence devoid of the fullness it deserves.
Be fearless today and let freedom set you free. Drop the weight off your shoulders, just for a few minutes to experience what I’m talking about.
Think of one little thing that scares you — scared of telling someone how you feel ? Unhappy with your job, but can’t tell your manager about it ? Too scared to even post a picture online to avoid any negative trolls or judgments ?
Pick that one small thing that you’ve always refrained from doing.
Do it !
Say it !
Be loud & make it clear that whatever you did, no matter how stupid, crazy or immature it may be, you did it for yourself. You did it because you aren’t bound by the fear society has imposed on you. Let your freedom do the talking.
Society will try to scare you at every stage of your journey, because misery and fear love company. However, your journey is unique and only you have the power to change its course. Remind yourself that you’re FREE and have every right to do what pleases you. A day spent living in fear is a day never lived !
Freedom from Fear is where Life Begins.
Carpe Diem !