Friday, April 29, 2016


Road rage. Why does he drive that way?  My son asked about a man who was driving with no sense of logic and obvious anger. The man was a bully on the road. He used his vehicle as an instrument of aggression and intimidation. Mom? He was waiting for my answer. FOBI, I said. Fear of being insignificant.

FOBI is a very existential fear. We fear dying. More to the point, we fear dying having been insignificant. I think of what Irvin Yalom has written about the myth of specialness, about the defenses we build to protect ourselves from that fear. In response to that fear, we build defenses to give ourselves meaning, self-worth, and a sense of power. We don't know ourselves well enough and so we look for validation outside of ourselves. We force that validation in many unhealthy and maladaptive ways. Yet if we become aware and remember who we are, we realize that nothing others do can take away from us. Nothing. If we become aware and remember who we are, we find our meaning, worth and power. We find our significance. We minimize our fear.

Road rage is not the only way in which we manifest our FOBI. We act out of FOBI, knowingly and unknowingly, when we terrorize others for their different beliefs, when we try to subdue others through violence, when we punish others or seek revenge, when we are dishonest in order to gain an advantage, when we censure, discredit, defame or do not give due credit to others, and many other ways in which we we act out of pride and ego.

Let us take a few moments today to go within. Let's be still. Let's be quiet. Let us listen. We will die, someday, eventually. But, when we do, we will not die insignificantly. We have meaning and significance. We have a purpose and we are important. Let us be aware of that. Let us act from that place of knowing.
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