Human Nature and the Rise of Apprehension

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

― John Lennon

As a writer, I am an avid people watcher. Human nature never fails to astound and intrigue me. I absorb the characters at my disposal and most times, they never even know I’m watching them. For example, the other day I was in Barnes and Noble editing when a woman at a table a few seats away says this: “My father died with his boots on eight months after my mother.” The way her voice quavered as she said it sent chills up my arms. So much so, that I opened up a new word document and began a short story entitled My Father Died with His Boots On. But I digress. The point is that we all have a story. We all have a voice and the desire to be heard.

I’ve been noticing more and more that people have patterns. There is something innate in the human psyche which causes us to cling to the comfort of routine and familiarity. As a society, we are scared to listen; scared to stop and think about something that makes us uncomfortable. We have these set ideas of who we are, when in reality, we barely know ourselves.

Another thing I’ve noticed is the amount of judgment and criticism people place on others. We ridicule the guy who scratches his ass in public, the heavy set woman laboring down the aisles of the supermarket. The truth is, these people are about as aware of themselves as you or I are, which I hate to say, is not very aware. Think about the last time you said something you wish you could take back. When those syllables freed themselves from your mind, were you thinking about it? Were you saying to yourself: I’m absolutely certain I want to say this right now? Or were you just acting without premeditation, the way humans tend to do?

On the news yesterday, everyone was going crazy about this supposed storm. Before each commercial break there was an announcement: We are tracking the eye of the storm! Be prepared for the storm! Well guess what? It barely rained. Why does the media feel the need to sensationalize paranoia? Why do we crave the feelings associated with worry and fear? When did rejoicing in the freedom of the unknown become so passé? Let us start living our lives instead of avoiding them!

So how do we break the boundaries of what has become a culture driven by fear, judgment and restraint? My solution is to do something that scares us every day. Maybe then we will learn to accept and embrace one another. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Climb that mountain! Stare at that spider! Fall in love! Never settle people. Don’t let fear keep you from achieving your goals and celebrating the life experience. Each day is a new beginning, each moment, a chance to find freedom.