It’s a great motivator and an easy way to control people.
We are born with a fear reflex, and the conditioning often starts when we are very young.
Remember when you were being naughty and your mum said “wait until your father gets home”?
That was your first taste of fear.
I don’t understand why one parent would turn their partner into the bogyman.
But once established, the fear often carries on through life and is used by everyone from school teachers to the workplace boss and the establishment.
At school the fear of being punished starts from day one.
Speak when you shouldn’t, deliver homework late, put the school bully in their place, and the ‘teacher’ steps in with threats that are based on your fears.
Fear that you might miss out, fear of a letter to your parents, fear that you may not get the grades you need, fear that you will be sent to the headmaster’s office – who you are lead to believe has nothing better to do than put more fear in you.
So you comply.
At work the fear can continue. If you don’t do what’s expected you won’t get that promotion, pay rise, training, or day off you want.
Fear that you will be shown the door.
So you comply.
Then there is the fear to conform.
If your teeth aren’t white enough no one will love you, if you don’t buy the right clothes you will be shunned by society, if you don’t listen to a certain pop star’s music you are not worthy.
So you comply.
Then we come to politicians where playing on people’s fears is their stock-in-trade.
They’ll tell you not to vote for the other party because they’ll do things that will make you feel unsafe, cost you money, reduce services you may one day need (or already rely on).
‘Vote for us and we’ll protect you from the terrorists, build a wall, stop dealers selling to your kids…The other political party is the bogyman.’
Don’t buy into fear at the polling booth.
As the old saying goes; ‘there is nothing to fear, but fear itself’. Ignore the fear and do it anyway.
I’m not a frequent reader of the Bible myself, but I’m, told the most repeated command from God is to ‘fear not’. Good advice.
It seems society tries to make us scared all the time and I wonder how this manifests itself in our mental health.
Do some people fear asking for help?
Fear they may be seen as silly and thought less of?
Are some people fearful of speaking up?
Fear is subjective and only lives in our minds.
Fear is not tangible, it is artificial, something that older people instil into children and those children invariably grow up to use fear to manipulate others.
Fear, which is not to be confused with being cautious, relies on our perception of likely consequences.
Often these perceptions are misplaced or inflated beyond what is likely or reasonable.
And when people rule by fear then those leaders can’t be trusted. Because they want you on your knees begging for protection from the bogyman.
As the SAS motto says; ‘He who dares wins’.
Fearless people are good people to be around. They are confident, decisive and driven.
Play your part in breaking the cycle of fear. Don’t scare the children, empower them.