With the reality of America’s current situation and all of the drama surrounding the current presidency, fear is at an all-time high. Many are afraid of the threat Trump poses to the norms that sustain many liberal democracies. His campaign thrived despite a divisive politics of identity. Ideals of equality, diversity, and inclusion were submerged under the weight of a rhetoric that raised ethnic and racial tensions while inflaming passions against imagined enemies such as Muslim refugees, Chinese exporters and Mexican immigrants.
The ugliness that characterized the country’s recent presidential campaign may be nothing compared with what ist to come. However, Americans cannot afford to allow fear to paralyze their dreams of a bountiful future. The former president offered a message of hope with a belief that America is a great country despite obvious issues; however, Trump preaches a very different message. His campaign centered on America’s brokenness with claims that he alone could make the country “great again!” The tone of his speeches either pushed Americans to fight or fear. Despite this season of uncertainty, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. We must keep moving forward as a country and as individuals.
Life has a way of drawing a line in the sand and daring you to cross it. Whether from experiences or simply the looming threat of the unknown, we all struggle with rising above our phobias and stepping into our destiny. Why are so many paralyzed by this inanimate object named fear? Where do others find the reserve to power through and become legends? I believe everything we need to know about mastering fear is found on the other side of our comfort zones. Ultimately, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Some psychologists say six out of every 10 people are fearful about what is going to happen. This means more are afraid of their future when it is their only chance at something better. Therefore, they subconsciously sabotage themselves in an effort to avoid facing it. The list of phobias recognized by the American Physicians Association is too numerous to name. There is everything from social phobias, fear of train tracks, fear of doorknobs, and even a fear of newborns. America has invested heavily in medicating, as opposed to conquering fears.
For those who are ready to make a dent in their future, here are a few things to remember:
- Fear is always driven by emotion: Just because we are emotional creatures does not mean we have to be controlled by them. Fear gets its fuel from the raw emotional state of an individual. If you begin to review the situation from a state of calmness, you usually see fear dissipate. Take a step back and look at it through non-critical eyes and you will see it differently.
- Fear is not fact or logic based: Remember fear is the most illogical thing in the world. As stated before, we are mainly afraid of events that have not even happened yet. We have no basis for our thoughts because it is not a fact. We have all had those conversations with ourselves about it and once we live through it, we realize how off base we were. Fear capitalizes on our ignorance of a logical solution.
- Fear is a byproduct of our environment: There are some places where fear seems to grow on steroids. Usually, a place where dreams have been broken and information is passed along. Fear can attach to “hurt people” like a virus and eventually gets into the atmosphere. Learn the early warning signs and choose to hang with people who breed courage and confidence.
How powerful is fear? It has single handily destroyed and hindered more dreams than skill and ability. People by the millions have chosen a mediocre lifestyle and lived far beneath their greatness by one single whisper from this invisible enemy of fear. Where could we be as a society if we all were to rise above it and cross the threshold of possibility? I think what we possess inside would shock us if ever unleashed. Author and poet Marianne Williamson once said:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
In 1932, the country was in the midst of turbulent times. Wars and the great depression seemed a perfect mix to cripple the nation and render us powerless against our enemies around the world. It was at this time that Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover for the presidency. And during his first inaugural address, he refused to sugar coat the issues we would face. He spoke of a nation not only of the brightest minds but the bravest hearts. We were poised to be world super powers but first, we had to remember nine powerful words, “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”
Many have allowed fear to paralyze them after the unthinkable happened; a man who ran his entire campaign by screaming random nonsense into the nearest microphone is now the 45th president of the United States of America. Truth is, real change starts from the bottom up, not the top down. Instead of cowering in fear, use that energy to focus on local elections, from your city council to assembly members, judges, and public advocates.
The recent presidential election unearthed a stratum of anxiety and uncertainty that extends across the country like a bad disease. Despite the negativity, keep pressing toward your dreams, aspirations, and visions of success. Fret not, America will be just fine.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Quote: Marianne Williamson
Top Image Courtesy of Thomas Hawk – Flickr License
Inline Image Courtesy of Nathan Rupert – Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Beverly – Flickr License