February 3, 2020
Why are we where we are? Why are we right here right now? Why are you contemplating my questions? 30 seconds ago we were doing something else. What were you thinking about 30 seconds ago? Were you contemplating changing some aspect of yourself? Acquiring some new thing? Growing?
It’s quite safe to say that you are here, wearing what you’re wearing, with your hair styled as it is, in those shoes, reading these words, for one overriding reason:
But don’t feel bad. That person across from you/in the next apartment/downstairs/upstairs, whoever you want to think of, they’re there, wearing that outfit, with that hairstyle, in those shoes, doing their thing, for exactly the same reason. They’re perpetually afraid. So much so that they are unable to make any decision of their own volition. We all are.
Trace it all back to it’s source. Discover this truth for yourself.
You live where you live. Is it an accident? Maybe you live there because you didn’t want to leave your parents in isolation. You were concerned that they may not be able to look after themselves. Maybe you live there because you were absolutely determined to get away from your parents and your home town, anxious that you wouldn’t turn into a carbon copy of them. Maybe your partner had to move for work and you felt that separate lives might damage your family unit or the prospects of one. Or maybe no, maybe you chose THAT place out of all the places in the world because it was perfect! Perfect for what? For your children’s education? Your status signalling? Perhaps you felt your children’s education would suffer if you didn’t move. Perhaps you believe it’s simply a ‘safe’ neighbourhood.
Those shoes you’re wearing (Anything you’re wearing). You’re wearing them for one of two reasons. To fit in, or to stand out. Why? What would happen if the opposite of your intended outcome happened? Are you concerned that people wouldn’t notice you/would stare at you? Are you worried afraid that they’ll think you’re boring/poor/showy/vain? Would that unwanted outcome make you feel uncomfortable? You’re wearing what you’re wearing because that outfit makes you feel safe.
Are you a reader of self help books? Philosophy? Religious doctrine? You may say that you’re reading those words because you want to change for the better. I put it to you that in fact you are afraid that if you don’t change, things for you are going to get a lot lot worse.
Fear motivates us. Our brains are constantly checking in with our senses, and thereafter our emotions, to make sure we’re safe. It makes sense. If we didn't stay safe, well we could get hurt, damaged, destroyed. But when we tell ourselves that our ‘status’ is our safety, then we tell our brains “I don’t want that, so give me this other thing instead” and our brains work out the best way to manipulate our circumstances to give us what we want. All built on fear and aversion. It works. Unfailingly.
If fear is our motivation, are we perhaps only living to the extent that we exist just above our perceived ‘danger line’? “Phew, I’m safe, I can switch off my brain and watch Love Island!”.
Maybe you like feeling fear. Perhaps fear keeps you busy. Maybe you don’t have time to dream while you worry about making payments on that new thing you bought that you didn’t really need. The thing that stops you looking unsuccessful.
You’re afraid. And that’s ok. So am I. But if fear motivates us, can we maybe choose the things we are afraid of? Can we say “I want this” because we actually want it, not because we’re afraid of the alternative? I think we can…It’s a challenging process, but once completed, we can live life in a whole new way.