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X is for...

... Xenophobia

X is for Xenophobia

Before we begin, I just need to point out that being fearful of others is different to living in fear of someone. If you are living in fear of someone, please get immediate help.

Humanness is one of our strongest connections - it is also the strongest force for keeping us apart.

The root of the word xenophobia is from the Greek, xenos, meaning stranger and phobos, meaning fear.

Xenophobia is fear of strangers

There’s nowt stranger than folks...

... and, of course, we are each completely unique individuals. So when you think about it, unless we get that spark of connection from the get-go, it's impossible to feel totally comfortable with other people, until such time we get to know each other a little and build some sort of rapport. Any relationship building work such as that forms threads of interconnectivity around our innate human connectivity. Threads such as: shared meaning, language, humour, activities and behaviours. Whilst this process builds relationships between people, they can also blur the purity of our innate connectivity - humanness, disconnecting us from all who don't possess those same threads.

Self and other awareness is an important factor of life. Tangled it becomes too conscious – self and other consciousness. Untangled it allows us to be active participant throughout our life with other people.

So, whenever we find ourselves out of our comfort zone, with people who are different to ourselves, it’s understandable we do so either from a position of discomfort, ignorance/unfamiliarity or any number of variations of the two, between the two. This discomfort presents in a vast array of forms. However, there’s a significant difference between the lived experience of discomfort and that of fear.

Any discomfort, and we revert to some form of self-defence; a self-protective barrier, until such time mutual interactive behaviours are established or not, some of which can present as xenophobic behaviours. However, without experienced fear attached they are not xenophobia, they are purely xenophobic behaviours – seen to be rude, potentially anti-social or just distant when around certain others. Some of these behaviours are totally unconscious and purely habitual in the individual, group or organisation, others are more transient; mere temporal experiences connected with adaptation to life’s changes. Fear, on the other hand, happens when being confronted with a stranger - the movement out of our comfort zone - triggers experiences with which the person can't cope and fear takes overs.

Here's some facts:

You are human.

Everyone else is human too.

Any effects of trauma affect us physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally and spatially inside and out.

Whatever we become on the inside we are to the outside world.

No-one need live in fear.

Fear is our fight/flight mode switched on in seemingly non-threatening situations. We act threatened and the other responds accordingly. However, most times, we act threatened unaware of being so. It’s an inbuilt pattern built up over years. Just to confuse matters further, we could just be having an off day.

No matter what,

the following exercise will help if you live with fear

You are human... and so too is everyone else.

Allow the words to light your spark of humanness inside. Take time out, allowing it to spread in its own good time. Begin to enjoy the pleasure of being human and being around others who allow you to be more so – more you.

You are human and so too are the rest of us… we don’t always act it.

You don’t have to be friends or friendly even with everyone - just be yourself: safe, secure, comfortable, alive and living your life to the full - shining and thriving.

Enjoy being yourself, your humanness, begin to like yourself, begin to love yourself inside, out and throughout. Open yourself to be freely open with all those who enjoy, like and love you and who you enjoy, like and love. Be freely open with those who enjoy, like and love the things you do and freely open with those who do what you enjoy, like and love.

You are human, you are unique… and so too is everyone else.

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