Lately, I’ve realized just how much people have the ability to convince themselves of just about anything. Even me. Perhaps, especially me. One of the things I think about is how I learned to be so fearful and I saw an answer yesterday in the subway.
A family with four children got onto the subway and one of the sons wanted to look out the window while the subway train was moving. So his dad took him to the door to look out into the black tunnel. The boy put his hand on the door but his dad pulled him back and said, “Be careful, if the door opens you’ll fall out.”
The father was simply trying to be protective, but it makes little sense to me. It is simply an irrational fear, for a few reasons:
1. Trains have safeguards put in place to prevent doors from opening just randomly while its moving and in the middle of a tunnel.
2. The next station would open the doors opposite to the ones they were standing at. Even if the father didn’t know that, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
3. The dad was there, holding onto him and all the child did was put his hand on the door. He didn’t lean on it or anything. The father could have simply pulled him back.
The child then stayed back from the door, probably a little afraid. I remember thinking, “That child may have just been relegated to a life of mediocrity and being controlled by fear.”
Recently, I’ve been reading Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. In it, her first assertion is that all fear is a fear that, “I won’t be able to handle it.” When the father says that to his son, he is really saying, “if anything happens to you, I won’t be able to handle it.” And this process, over time, instills a sense of general fear into the son.
I’m not judging or blaming the father. He is, most probably, simply voicing what he learned from his upbringing. I could see that he does genuinely care about his children, especially as he stood there protectively while his wife and children sat down, even though there were seats available for him to sit down.
This story was illustrative because it made me think about where I might have learned my fear-patterns, and it probably does come from my parents. Thankfully, I am now in the position to make conscious choices about what I choose to be afraid of, and choose to make positive changes in my life, both inner and outer.
I’ve also realized I’ve learned a lot of other things from my parents, especially from my mum. I learned how to care about another person very, deeply, for sure. I’ve learned how to be a good person. And I have also learned a scarcity mentality, and I’ve picked up a few unhealthy beliefs about originality that’ve been problematic for me. My parents tried their best and I love and respect them for everything they’ve done for me. I’m also going to try my best. That seems to be the way things go, we all try out best.
Question is, have you thought about where some of your ingrained beliefs have come from? Especially look at what you think is just “common sense”, or feels/sounds “reasonable”. Are they really the most effective things? If you had a child, what qualities would you want to imbue in them? You must have those qualities to give them.