We are often amazed, delighted and a little bit frightened at the courage, confidence and creativity young children display. However, frightened by our own life experiences, the misfortune of others, and the general condition of our communities, our country and the world at large, we might unwittingly discourage and stifle the very qualities we admire in them. Poor children; unless somehow, they manage to maintain their fearless, confident and creative spirits, they grow up to be adults like so many of us. Creatives (artists, writers, designers, crafters, etc.) insist that each of us has the remnants of a child within us. We may be able to trace the people, the events and circumstances that brought us to where we are. Given the opportunity, some of us easily revive (even if only for a moment), our childlike spirit and enjoy what it inspires. We look back with glee and cherish the memories of our childhood and admit that we miss them. As adults, in a moment of reflection, we may ask ourselves, “How did I become so afraid, overly cautious and cynical?” A fortunate few may look back, find the answer and recapture what they lost along the way to adulthood. Others remain clueless. A more important question is, “What keeps us here?” The answer is - enemies that live within us.
• Let’s look at four •
We may not admit that we are apathetic. The word sounds worse than some of its synonyms. However, if we are bored, lazy or indifferent, apathy is our enemy and it keeps us stuck in old beliefs and ways. Bad experiences can start a wave of apathy that infiltrates and weighs down all areas of our lives and leaves us with a mediocre existence. We need to get back in touch with what moves us and follow where it leads.
This consummate thief, masking opportunities in a shroud of negativity and uncertainty, siphons our confidence and manipulates our intuition. Confronted with a situation, we must mull over the issues at stake, weigh our options and make a decision.
We cannot afford to be blind or reckless, rushing in where neither fools nor wise men fear to tread. However, if we settle into a long-term relationship with this enemy, we won’t only doubt wise counsel or irrefutable facts. Eventually, we will doubt our abilities, our instincts and our dreams.
We should be concerned in the face of uncertainty or impending trouble but anxiety keeps us from taking action. Therefore, after we have acknowledged what we are facing, the next step is to investigate to ascertain what is true, advisable, appropriate and viable. Then, we must act accordingly.
Fear is at the heart of each of these four enemies. Well-meaning people, fuelled by their own fears, may have planted the early seeds. Additionally, certain events may have sparked their growth. Even if we cannot identify the nature of the underlying fear that drives and sustains them, we can learn to defeat the enemies that live within us.
• Explore the origins of the enemies that plague us and brainstorm how we will recapture our childhood essence.
• Identify what aspects of our childhood will enhance and enrich our lives as adults.
• Regularly assess our progress and celebrate how our inner child returned to brighten and enrich our adult lives.
• Welcome opportunities to wiggle out of our comfort zones. As our confidence grows and our creative spirit glows, we can take a bigger leap of faith and throw ourselves full-throttle into the pursuit of our dreams.
What enemies live within you?