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If we weren’t afraid

WHAT would you do if you weren’t afraid?

This is a question we ought to ask ourselves as a people and as a country from time to time. What are the things we hold back from doing because we are afraid of the unknown or we are so comfortable with the familiar that we cannot explore what is there beyond the known.

There are many people who are stuck in situations in their lives that suffocate and stifle their growth because they are used to such situations. This is the definition of being one’s own enemy; failing to push beyond our circumstances and perceived boundaries because we burden ourselves with too many what ifs.

The other day, a friend sent me something on my WhatsApp that read: “It just occurred to me that many people are actually afraid to heal because their entire identity is centred around the trauma they have experienced. They have no idea who they are outside the trauma and the unknown can be terrifying.”

I read it for the second time and found that it carried a profound level of truth that triggered deep introspection.

The situations in life vary, but we all go through things that affect our lives with both temporary and permanent ripples following. We become so shaken by the situations in our families, social lives, professional lives and relationships that we forget that we still have the power to shape our lives with or without these situations; be it the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a bitter divorce, embarrassing drama, loss of property and the list is endless.

We become comfortable correlating everything else that happens in our lives after to these unfortunate events and fail to make decisions or work on solutions because we are more accustomed to the identity we have formed that is familiar even if it is hazardous or distracting. Sometimes we do this to seek sympathy or perceived ‘benefits’ that come with attaching ourselves to this identity. For others, it becomes extreme because it strokes their narcissistic traits.

Then I thought what would Malawi do if it weren’t afraid?

There are so many things we have become so accustomed to as a country that we hold on to them and magnify and glorify them even when there are solutions at hand. Sometimes the people who can provide solutions take advantage of the fact by keeping us in those situations knowing very well that we are attached to particular identities and we will rant and rave, yet sweep away possible solutions even if they were right in our face.

Corruption, poverty, blackouts.

These are the three cornerstones that the country has become so pivoted on that one wonders if there would even be other news in the country if these factors weren’t there. I mean, every other week, the papers carry a story of more and more corruption from the highest offices in the land, and as much as we “speak’ outrage, the trends continue because Malawi is not actually as enraged by corruption as it wants to lead on. Malawi is not as enraged by poverty as it wants to lead on. Malawi is not as enraged by blackouts as it wants to lead on.

Corruption in Malawi is rampant and involves a long chain of people from top to bottom, and a large number of Malawians are involved in corruption in different aspects of their lives. If Malawi were really enraged by corruption, we would see people act in different ways, we would see links in the chains breaking off to disable the chains; we would see people calling out the others they know for sure are involved in corruption. But this is not what happens; people rave and rant about corruption in open circles then go behind closed doors and indulge in corruption with no sense of responsibility.

If Malawi weren’t afraid, we would really be fighting poverty, corruption and blackouts from our households all the way to the top. We would not be holding on to the identity we hold on BBC and Telegraph of the impoverished country in southern Africa that can hardly feed itself and that cannot provide electricity to just eight percent of its population that has access to electricity.

If we weren’t afraid, we would have rejected this identity and formed a new one. But we are just so comfortable with the negative microscope that we do not even see the way out.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I rest my case

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