As children, we learnt to deal with situations rather interestingly. But as adults we practically forgot how we dealt with the issues as children because our consciousness has changed. I watched Saridat, my cousin’s daughter who was a toddler in 2011 while I was writing my final year project, learn to walk. As she was doing this sometimes with frustration I discovered that the excuses which we as adults would have given didn’t deter her from moving on. I noticed she didn’t have the following usual excuses as she learnt to stand up and walk:
1. I don’t want to look bad
2. I don’t want to fall down
3. I don’t want anyone to watch me fall
4. I don’t want any pain
For Saridat, these reservations would appear absurd. If any of these applied, she might still have been a toddler today. As adults, we resort to these excuses all the time. We cannot deny that there are negative situations, but our reactions to them are what ultimately matter.
Let us examine these reservations and see how they apply to our daily lives.
I don’t want to look bad
This involves self-image or how one looks. Most people find it too hard to get past self-image. They fashion a certain look, a certain way of acting, a certain level of style, taste, life style, and status that gets assembled in the way they think.
This thought pattern can be countered by our willingness to forget how we look. I have seen the slow motion films of Olympic runners crossing the finishing line, drenched in sweat, their faces distorted with efforts, expending every last ounce of energy in them. In their passion to win they haven’t the slightest care about how they look. This gives us the clue into the situation we find ourselves: If we are really focused on the process at hand, how we look will be the least of our concerns!
I don’t want to fall down
Here, we are talking about failure which originates from judgement. People who are afraid to fall down are most likely those who were ridiculed in the past; hence these people are afraid they would look worthless if they fell.
The following are some of the things you can do when the fear of failure is preventing you from taking a decision.
First, find something very minor to accomplish – something such as boiling an egg or simply jogging round the house – and notice how you feel on completing such task. Like a good parent encouraging a child, praise yourself for successfully completing this task. You need to reformat how you feel about setting a goal and reaching it.
Second, avoid comparing yourself to anyone else. The only person you are competing against is yourself and no one else!
Once every day do something that looks like a success in your eyes and that earns you praise from either yourself or someone else. Make sure that external praise is sincere!
I don’t want anyone to watch me fall
This revolves around shame. It is the judgmental opinion of others about one’s actions. If you easily feel ashamed, then you have made an internal decision that needs to change.
First, you must realise that what others think about you is often dependent on what they think is good or bad in their eyes. Social judgment is inescapable; we are all affected by it. Get comfortable with the fact that such treatment of others exist.
Second, withdraw from shaming or passing judgment on others. If you gossip about other people, you may think you are pulling them down but you are actually doing yourself a disfavour (Matthew 7:1).
I don’t want any pain
Several factors are involved here which have to do with psychological and physical pain. This can also be based on known inherent weaknesses. These weaknesses make us hold back for fear of physical or psychological pain from taking a decision.
Anytime this fear of pain prevents us from taking a decision, or hold us back we should simply remember the old saying: No pain, no gain.
Saridat by now must have forgotten all about trying to walk because she now walks firmly and confidently. If all these excuses were legitimate she probably would not be walking now. This must be our approach to life – to live it every moment taking each challenge as it comes!
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