Each of us faces challenges and must overcome fears to become a stronger person. But what about the idea that we must have “No Fear” or to be “Fearless?” Will that, in itself, make you a stronger, more confident person??
I was reading Buddy Cushman’s ideas about this such topic, afterwards commenting. A short comment almost turned into a paragraph so why not just turn the thoughts into a post for my loyal readers??
Everyone has their own fears and seem to make excuses for not overcoming them. They create their reasons, irrational or irrational, for not engaging in those things that scare them but when you get right down to it, FDR said it best, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” The struggle I have is not overcoming a challenge but adopting the mindset that I am ABLE to overcome the challenge. This, I feel, is not uncommon in most people.
However, when it comes to OTHER’S fears, since those are not scary to me, they seem irrational or even absurd. “Spiders/heights/plane travel! Who’s afraid of that??” I must remember that everyone is different and has God-given abilities, not just to strengthen themselves but to build others up. Those who show courage in one aspect of life can help those lacking in that area. And vice versa.
I believe we are built with the need for social connection as a mechanism to create relationships. Through those relationships we can leverage each other’s gifts and talents to build a better community. In that sense, we need to see each other’s challenges and abilities as a necessary yin/yang. Underestimating another’s potential only hurts yourself in the end by denying yourself a new perspective on life.
A pet peeve of mine is society’s perception of fear and weakness. In the biblical story of David and Goliath, the Israelites sent little David to battle against the giant Philistinian Goliath; no one thought David had a chance. Goliath was bigger, stronger and more menacing. Since size and strength are seemingly associated to one another, David’s comparable lack of size was seen a complete weakness.
But as the band Spoon sang,
“You got no time for the messenger. Got no regard for the thing that you don’t understand. You got no fear of the underdog. That’s why you will not survive!”
Those with unique challenges, be them physical, mental or emotional, are made to feel shameful that they are not normal.
(On a side note, this word “normal” is just as hateful as calling someone “retarded.” If everyone is different, then no one is the same and therefore, nothing is the “norm.” Using that word is exclusive instead of inclusive and doesn’t help to serve the purpose of strengthening our communities.)
The truth is that being “normal” is more about people’s expectations than what is the best way to acquire success or happiness. Being an underdog can actually become a blessing. Those who face and overcome their fears build character and mental fortitude.
In my experience those who dismiss others who have apparent challenges do so in a weird way of self preservation, as if weakness are somehow contagious. What we fear is not becoming challenged, it is being “found out” that our strengths are fake or our weaknesses hidden. One might reasonably assume that by hiding or ignoring our weaknesses, only confidence and productivity will prevail. Unfortunately, it’s that attitude of rejection (or fear of rejection) that ironically minimizes our abilities to relate to each other.
Look deeper. Get to know each other. Use one another’s gifts to forge a social tapestry of positivity and strength and I promise, in the end, you will grow as a person. #BeCourageous!