On my journey to understanding myself and gaining a better life, I often listen to podcasts and other such things to hear discussions and thoughts about humanity and the issues I am facing. One such podcast was the discussion between Russel Brand and Jordan B Peterson about addictions and various other related topics. Listening to their conversation, and especially Mr. Brand’s take on it, sparked me to do my own inner inventory.
The word cowardice has such a bad taste to it, doesn’t it? Nobody would want to be described as such. Yet, when I made my inventory of things that hinder me on my path toward my desired, proper way of life, I found that that dreadful word was on the top of my list. I had to face reality – my cowardice hinders me more than any other trait I had in my toolkit of doom.
What is cowardice though?
To me, it is the constant avoidance, the looking away from things I know I should not turn from. It is not speaking the truth or standing on the side of what is good and in line with the Cosmic Order. Cowardice is turning away from everything, including yourself, and willingly allowing the Chaos to take you into its swirling cacophonic abyss.
One of the most telling signs of my cowardly persona is my willingness, nay, my seeking of avoidance from everything that objects to my fragile worldview. I would seek all the possible ways out of uncomfortable situations, places, and times colored by my Borderline Personality Disorder. When perceptions are twisted, and everything is an enemy, it is extremely difficult to muster up the strength to oppose Chaos. It is terrifying, paralyzing, and entirely out of my league.
I would go out of my way to not even approach situations that I thought might be out of my comfort zone, and as such, I never moved anywhere in life. I was perpetually stagnant, stuck in a tower of my own making as much as being a prisoner of my situation and the people I had allowed into my life. With avoidance, comes stasis. At some point in our lives, we must take up courage, and face the storms, and the Chaos. Or we must embrace Misery.
Fearing Conflicts, and pleasing people
A key part of avoidance is the constant fear of conflicts. Any kind of disruption to the pristine image in which I was living had the potential to bring everything down. Illness, accidents, people, even myself, everything was a danger and potential conflict to avoid at all costs. It is difficult to live like that, the stress will eventually catch up no matter how much you go chanting om in your downtime.
Having to consider everyone else’s wants and desires over yours at all times in that desperate attempt to not get caught by the swirling winds of dislike from the ones you love is not a life anyone should be living. But as a Borderline, the fear of being left alone, of being abandoned, often takes over everything else and at that point, it is very difficult to go against what has become my second nature.
It’s not only the people pleasing and neglecting myself, but also the immense pressures in my own life that I tried to avoid at all costs. What if I fail? Now that’s a question for all of us to ponder. When life has nothing to offer for someone as depressed and chaotic as I used to be, the possibility of failure seems enormous. And dangerous. And something one ought to definitely not get into no matter what. And so, I started avoiding my own life, and my aspirations, only due to not wanting to face the conflicting future I might have when compared to my fantastical image of it.
Inability to accept the future
Cowardice is a fascinating thing, it has so much power over today’s society. It got me mixed up in it as well. Uncertainty, finances, wars, everything seems stacked against us. By nature, the Cosmos is going to throw tons of painful things at us, but that is just how it is. It is not as if the G-ds of fate and fortune are smirking at our misery, ready to pour down more hell for us when things get too good.
Life is never black and white, and it will always contain both agony and ecstasy. I think it is up to our perceptions and attitudes how we come out of these situations – if we fall into Chaos or remain vagrant in the face of it all. This, I had to accept. The grand duality of everything, the possibilities of both good and bad in my future.
I did not do that before my whole world got shattered, and I had to start rebuilding it. May it not go that way for you, my dear reader. The future of me, you, and humanity as a whole may seem terrifying, and undesirable. But my friends, it is coming for all of us whether we like it or not. Turn your eyes to the fact that there are gifts in the middle of the muddied waters as well. And accept those with the muck, without allowing the dirt to make you blind to the wonders and possibilities of what might be your future.
Cowardice is my biggest bane, and my greatest foe to tackle. Of course, it is not always a hindrance, I would think trying to avoid actually dangerous situations and things would be good, but then again healthy caution is not really cowardice, is it?
My understanding is that fear, which is a necessary feeling and one of the body’s methods of telling us about the situations we are in, is a natural part of humanity. It comes from the primal instinct of not wanting to die. Cowardice, on the other hand, has to do with the outside, other people. It sneaks into your mind and starts asking questions like ‘Am I being judged?’, ‘What if they don’t like me?’, and ‘Will I fail? That would be humiliating with them watching…’.
So perhaps, you could do a test to see if you too have a coward in you. Are you afraid because you have an actual reason to be afraid, or are you trying to avoid something because of the people related to the situation? Either way, may we all have the courage to face the fear because without facing it, it will not yield. It will only grow until eventually, you will find yourself in the teeth of a different beast, one you summoned yourself from the Chaos of your very own mind.