For any who haven’t read Erich Fromm’s book ‘The Fear of Freedom’ – (Die Furcht vor der Freiheit, 1941) –
it is a really good book about the difficult balance we all face between wanting to be free to make choices but feeling overwhelmed and frightened by too much choice/responsibility. It is just as relevant to politics now, as it was when he wrote it in 1941. My poem is about the way that this fear applies to individuals too. In particular, it is relevant to my situation at the moment returning to the workplace. I am really torn between a renewed sense of liberating confidence and the familiar self-doubt and anxiety that has dogged me for years. I wonder if it rings true for anyone else returning to work after a long break or taking on new responsibilities. Thanks for reading!
I write because it makes things better. I love singing, dancing, reading and listening to people. I believe it’s ok to feel however you actually feel and that the word ‘should’ should be banned. I am aware of the irony in that sentence. I have an incredibly soft, black-and-white cat called Elwood, who loves yoghurt and ham. I have struggled a lot with depression, anxiety and OCD. I have had some brilliant therapy and some that was less good, but I firmly believe in therapy. I have two children, who are both wonderful and maddening (aren’t they all?) and now I’m studying again. When I feel rubbish, writing helps me find my way out of the maze, channelling my feelings and centering me again. I’ll keep writing because it’s good for me but if it interests other people too, then that’s really great. I believe that self-compassion is at the root of wellbeing and that when we are kind to ourselves, we are kinder to others too. I believe that the phrase: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me’ is the most unhelpful pack of lies we could possibly tell ourselves. Words can hurt, and they do, but they can also heal. Words are extremely powerful.
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