Everybody has fear. My particular brand of fear usually involves worrying about what people will think of me. Writing publicly about that fear now only punctuates it further. I care way too much about what people think of me and how I'm perceived. I like to say that I'm a recovering approval-seeker, but it's a long road, baby.
The Harper government's attempt to frighten voters should be recognized for what it is -- baseless propaganda designed to woo votes in the midst of an election. While there will undoubtedly be some undesirables in the refugee crowd, our immigration processes are perfectly capable of flagging and filtering out those risks. Canadian lives will not be threatened if we let in Syrian refugees. The irony, however, is that the lives of Canadians and our European friends may well be threatened if we do not. The tide of undocumented refugees will continue to flow into Europe if we fail to provide an alternative exit to those refugees still struggling to survive in camps in Turkey and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Over the past few years, I've written extensively about, and on many occasions have spoken candidly of my struggles with addiction, mental health issues, and sexual violence. I have grown to believe that the greatest antidote to fear is honesty, and it's with this in mind, that I share the following with you. For the past few months, I've engaged in a convoluted relationship with time. It all started out rather innocent. Hours were slipping away from me, and I had absolutely no idea how to account for that lost time.
It's pretty clear that in the public discourse around C-51, there are serious fears on each side. One side is afraid of terrorism infiltrating Canada; the other is afraid of abuse of power through government surveillance. How are we to get back to a real public dialogue, instead of talking past one another?
Conveniently, the fear appeals being made by ISIS, Al Shabab, and the other myriad terror groups we tend to lump together are quite literally textbook examples of fear appeals. What's more, the terrorists and our own government actually work together for a good part of the process, increasing the fear we feel for their own insidious ends.
Face-saving entrepreneurs will call this a "pivot," which basically means, "I was doing this one thing, and now I realize I should be doing this other thing instead." You might feel like a fool for not getting it right the first time around, but I challenge you to find any entrepreneur who got everything right from the get-go.
The heavy academic pressures so common today raise back-to-school stress like never before -- and it's not just high school seniors or university students who are feeling it right now. Parents can do a lot to help ease their children's anxieties around school. The key is to really listen, and let your child open up about their fears.
Historically, prejudice of any kind could be freely expressed with few repercussions (emotional, legal, or otherwise) so long as there was a reasonable justification. Religion has often served as the justification, and has therefore facilitated an array of prejudice, from racism to sexism to homophobia. Over time, the use of religious beliefs to justify prejudice has tended to decline, but still persists -- especially when it comes to homosexuality.
Overly worried people reestablish a sense of perspective. While it is perfectly acceptable to be a little nervous before an exam or a job interview, getting paralyzed with fear over every eventuality is not. There is only so much the mind can bear in terms of apprehension. Beyond that things start spinning out of control.
Who wants to be kept awake mulling over events from the day or to-dos for the following day? I will confidently answer no one. We have both tools and resources at our fingertips to slow down our minds, but it takes practice, patience and persistence. What is behind a racing mind and what can be done to slow it down?