Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Living in fear


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HOW MANY OF US are living in fear, afraid to speak out against injustices and stand on principles, afraid to be our true selves, afraid of our own shadow?
These fears stem from a greater fear of being victimized or ostracized should one be bold enough to speak out on an issue or have an independent thought. It is clear that a culture of victimization seems to be slowly and steadily creeping into all levels of our society.
No one wants to become a victim of any kind. For some individuals, being a victim brings with it some measure of fear.
Face it, we live in a society where one is labelled if one has an independent thought and a voice. 
We live in a society where people try to use their power or position to manipulate, ostracize or victimize should one take a position that is opposed to theirs. 
We live in a society where we are teaching children to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, but later in life they are hushed into silence and unable to use the skills they were taught.
As a people, can we proudly say that we are emancipated – freed from the authority and control of another person? The reality is, there are some people who try to attack our liberty. 
They try to keep us mentally enslaved and this has caused stunted growth in independent thought, stagnation, and individuals who become “hermits”. They go into their shell and are afraid to come out or speak out due to their fear of being victimized or losing their jobs
The question is: why does victimization occur? Reasons vary and some mechanisms are unknown. What is known, however, is that there are bullies who use their power and position to try to “enslave” others.
Yes, there is the covert bully who uses his/her power or position to “drive home” fear by manipulating workers into doing something they would rather not do, overlooking them for promotion, spreading malicious gossip, or excluding them from the team. There is also the overt bully who might try to drive fear into the heart through unfair criticism, blame or harassment.
Parents need to educate their children from an early age about bullying and that it comes in many forms. It may be direct or indirect, and children should not be bullied into doing things. 
They should be taught to identify the different forms of bullying and if they encounter a bully, he/she should be exposed. Teach children that they must not live in fear, for fear cripples all aspects of their growth and development.
Too often people might feel cornered with no way to escape due to fear. My advice is clear: do not become a prisoner or a victim of fear. Stand up for what is right even if you stand alone. The supreme master will work things out in His own time.
• Rhonda A. Blackman is an educator, a National Development Scholar and former president of the Early Childhood Association of Barbados Inc.;email

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