Sadie Bingham, MSW, LICSW
  • The Culture of Fear

    “I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.” – Joshua Graham

    If you are anything like me, you struggle with the onslaught of news. Most headlines that are meant to grab your attention, typically make my anxiety spike. This past year alone we have been bombarded with sickening news related to climate change, abuses of power, sexual assault, children dying in detainment camps, and mass shootings. It’s not a stretch to feel the anxiety and weight that this culture of fear creates.

    What happens when we tend to experience fear (AKA vulnerability) we move to a higher frequency emotion like anger.

    If you have ever really studied your experience of anger, you will become fascinated at how, dare I say it, good it feels. Anger is righteous, its empowering, and vindicating. It is the opposite of fear and vulnerability. Think about it, when we come into this world, we are vulnerable little infants. If not taken care of by the grace of our caretakers, we could literally die. Which is why our reptilian brains want us to quickly gloss over any emotion that is vulnerable and fearful and go straight to action – fueled by anger.

    I believe both are equally important and informing emotions. And both deserve your full attention. Because I can’t look away from these headlines. It’s my civic duty to be aware. As much as I would love to be like that newly discovered salamander and bury my head in the sand whenever danger approaches, I have to keep my head up. Instead, I like to envision myself like the tigress overlooking the safari, seated up high on my rock. The tigress knows she is powerful, even though at times afraid. She sees the whole perspective.

    That while the shooting in Parkland, rocked our world. It also let the world see, that the next generation approaching, will not only clean up the messes of the last, but they will embody grace and dignity while doing so. That while, the Me-Too Movement shook me to the core and unveiled the patriarchal society in a way I had truly never known. It also changed me as a person and made me beyond grateful for my fellow sisterhood.

    The key to all this chaos is finding balance.

    To see without jumping in. To take time to get caught up on the news, without getting consumed by it. To take much-needed breaks – did anyone else feel completely depleted during the Kavanaugh hearings? And to look on the bright side: change is not linear but instead ebbs and flows. A new horizon is always upon us.