Former US President FD Roosevelt once said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Smart guy, since his strategy was intended to resuscitate the U.S. people’s confidence in themselves, the economy, and the nation in general. As old and effective as that comment is, it is still as relevant and still more often forgotten than not.
I have family and some friends in the U.S. who seem to me to be afraid of something that isn’t just fear itself. On the surface, they have wonderful lives with wonderful families and wonderful homes with wonderful lawns. They go to a wonderful church and have wonderful ideas about what to do for lunch on Saturday. Their clothes and cars and Facebook comments are all really wonderful. Their wonderful pets have wonderful names and everyday is another wonderful chance for them to be just as wonderful as the wonderful guy or girl next-door. Everything wonderful.
But only scratch the surface and you’ll find that the wonderfulness isn’t as wonderful as it seems; all that wonderful is only make-up on the face of fear. Fear of what, I don’t know exactly, but when I have family and old or new friends shut down on me for my opinions and ideas, it makes me wonder if I’ve just offended them or if I’ve genuinely rattled their wonderful cages and why. Is it only fear that scares us, or is it truth and knowing that what was once wonderful is not so wonderful anymore?
Anyone can fear a reality that does not make them feel wonderful about themselves. “Truth hurts,” as FDR probably also said sometime in his life but is not famous for, and that’s because a “bitter medicine” can show us how unwonderful our lives and selves can be, and that’s not so wonderful because if we’ve spent our entire wonderful lives trying to make things more wonderful, it’s not easy to think about how we might have just wasted a lot of really wonderful time.
But, like FDR said, that’s where the fear is unnecessary because all that’s really needed or required is for us to make a few life-altering changes, not fear the change. If indeed we’ve spent our lives trying to make things wonderful, then instead of fearing any change of that wonderful, check and adjust our definition of a wonderful life. Is wonderful still wonderful?!
Americans need only look to their brief history to see how our nation founded with slavery has changed its definition of wonderful. We are capable of great personal and social change–when we are not afraid to ask ourselves if wonderful is still wonderful.
Don’t fear change, because change will only be as scary as you allow it to be. Face and learn about the wonderful, the not so wonderful and yes even the really unwonderful things in life, then embrace the change you need to keep your definition of wonderful wonderful. You alone empower your fears, so the choice is yours alone.