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The Masks We Wear to Avoid Fear

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Expressing honest fear is different than fear-mongering. The fear of fear-mongering in America due to news or propaganda has not allowed people to express genuine fear. That's not the news' responsibility, that's your responsibility to discern the difference. Accurate fear can allow for proper preparation, action, and continued motion towards safety. This is different from perceived fear, which can be arresting. If you know what you're facing then you can properly act on that fear and not feel so helpless. There were 50,000 new cases of COVID today and I see no expressions of honest fear. I see people being snarky about masks on TikTok and Instagram, fighting on Twitter about their rights, and others sharing vague propaganda on Facebook all pretending to not be afraid. Well, I'm terrified. That doesn't make me any less of a man or a person. I'm not weak for admitting fear. I'm no less brave for admitting fear. A virus like this will kill millions. And I understand that we can't comprehend the scope of that, or we don't want to. I lost my brother amidst this. So many are grieving, with more grieving to come. So many have lost their jobs, their traditions, access to family, free-movement, and so much more. So, yeah, it's valid to be afraid. People aren't stupid or lazy or ignorant...they're afraid. We're all afraid. Mommy isn't going to make the virus go away and we're all dealing with a version of that. There's a reason I'm focusing on fear. The United States is an Enneagram 3-Social country. This means a lot of energy being exchanged between people and a desire to push each other around a bit but largely, Enneagram is the passion of vanity or self-deceit. In a lot of ways, in unhealthy circumstances, 3 makes it look like everything is great when it's not. As long as everything looks okay, it's okay. This is enabled by the country leader also being a Social 3 who is very concerned with optics via an unhealthy expression of vanity. This isn't about politics. Stay with me. Stay focused. The stress point of 3 is 9 (sloth) which is typically avoidant and non-committal in an unhealthy state. "Pretend it never happened and it'll go away" which is unhealthy in that the difficulties in life don't just disappear. There's a child-like innocence of "the adults will handle it" but I must remind you that we are the adults and we have to handle it. The growth path for 3 is to 6, which is Angst or Fear. This means acknowledging fear and taking action as a result of that fear. If you know a Tiger lives in an area near you, you'll prepare for the possibility of that Tiger being around. If you pretend it's not there or go outside boasting that you've defeated the Tiger when you didn't, that Tiger has all the leverage. And that's one of the challenges we face collectively, a lack of an honest expression of genuine fear at scale. Not just feeling it but expressing it. Not weaponizing it but harnessing it. Snark makes us feel like we've done something while perpetuating our elitist stance of doing the right thing. Calling someone an idiot doesn't hold space for fear. Watching national news doesn't give room to trust in genuine fear. Waiting for it all to go away gets nothing done. As time passes our temperature goes up with the water we're boiling in, like a collective lobster. The virus is not a new normal nor is there going to be a return to normal. If stress becomes the new normal then we sit still until we boil alive. Stay vigilant. If you're afraid then say it, express it, own it.

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