Fear of Change

I think the fear of change is a normal human experience for most of us. When we face something uncertain or unknown, we get scared. This happens even though the world is always changing. You would think we would understand this, but we don’t, and so we feel afraid.

I think because of this, we hold on to our ideas and way of thinking. It is very hard for people to question how they think the world is. Really imagining something that goes against our preconceptions seems completely alien and strange. Most of us never do it. This makes us ignore information that goes against what we believe. This is very hard to overcome. Not only do we think that our ideas are the best ideas, we think they are the ONLY ideas.

I must confess the recent presidential election in Mexico was like that for me. As the time approached for the voting to begin, the reality of what was going to happen felt scary. Even though I am not a member of any political party, I agree with certain political ideas more than others. The choice expressed by most Mexican voters was not what I prefer. In many ways, it seemed opposite to my preference.

Something very interesting happens when finally, something you had been afraid of takes place: you realize that it is not like you imagined, and you also realize that you are fine. You survived “the bad thing” and you are pretty much the same person you were the day before. This is liberating and comforting.

During the weeks following the election I have gradually adapted to the idea of this new administration, and how it is different from what I would have preferred. Something has happened that I didn’t imagine: I see new opportunities and options, I have hope that maybe something will be better, or that even many things could be better. I also recognize that things could get worse, but I will wait and see.

I have always referred to Mexico as “my country”, “my Mexico”. But there are over 120 million of us, and we all share this country. Ideally, we all work together to make it better. Under our current political system, the majority’s choice is the choice that we are all going to experience as it plays out. The only way to escape that would be to stop being Mexican, or to isolate myself from Mexico, both things I don’t want.

From birth I have been part of a very small group of very privileged people. I belong to the subset of Mexicans who has access to the most resources and opportunity, and the best education. This has benefits but also disadvantages. A great disadvantage is that I can’t really imagine what it is like for most Mexicans who have a life very different to mine. I can try very hard to imagine what it’s like, but I will never really know.

Recognizing this has helped me understand, a little better, why so many Mexicans have chosen the way they have. I can start to imagine why they think this is a good idea. Even better, I can see how maybe my perspective is incomplete, causing my conclusions to be mistaken. This is why I feel hope and calm.

This experience has been a type of re-birth for me. Maybe I am wrong about what I think is going to happen with this new administration. Maybe I am very wrong and things are going to be great. In a way it doesn’t matter because I am sure of this: things are never the way we imagine them. I am excited about what I will learn from this experience. Whatever happens, it is something I can grow from, it is something I can use to become a better person.