Fear.  Not fear of an intruder in your house.  Not fear of death.  Not the thought of a snake creeping into your bed.  The fear of being judged by others.  The fear to open your mouth and say what’s on your mind – hopefully supporting it with a rational argument, facts checked, loudly uttered, of course to yourself when you’re alone.

Friends (and maybe listeners) will laugh when they read this.  I have never been known to be scared to say what I think, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve become more and more diplomatic.  Although still a great supporter of the diplomatic approach. Especially when it comes to sensitive and controversial issues.  But maybe it’s now time to become more comfortable with your own views.  To further mould and revisit those long held views.  To stimulate dialogue with people around you.  Strangers you come across in life. “The Other ”.

I recently started chatting to a “friend” on Facebook.  “Piet” and I have never met.  “Piet” e-mailed me from the hospital.  The heart unit, to be specific.  “Piet” again put things into perspective for me.  His e-mails speak of dire straits, fear, the thought of nearing death.    Thank you, “Piet”.  Fear-to-be-judged-by-others vs. Fear-of-death.  There’s your perspective, Martelize.

Seeing the bigger picture. 

It might be a cliché, but we are so afraid of the possibility that someone might not like us, or that someone will not agree with something we said. 

A while ago I decided to make this a topic of discussion in my speeches.  The inspiration came from an article a friend gave me.  “Here Martelize.  I think you should read this.”  The article? From Cosmopolitan: “How not to give a f…”.  Because you see, I am one of those people who are constantly aware of the people around me.  What they do, think, need.  Sometimes, to the point of becoming emotionally drained. 

A week later I finally took the article and read it.  At first I thought I would never be one of those people that just didn’t care.  Until I read that article.  “There will ALWAYS be someone that doesn’t like you”.  Click-click-click.  What a massive relief.  Seriously.  If I had realised this at a younger age and incorporated it into my life I would’ve been a much happier person.

I spoke to a group of ladies about not following certain dreams because of this fear of being judged by others.  One woman came forward and admitted she had always dreamt of traveling overseas, but never took that step for fear of what the community would say.  Finally after many years she told her husband of this desire in her life.  She finally took the step, went overseas, travelled, worked and experienced the world.  Her husband even visited her in Europe.  Not only did it do wonders for herself as individual, it also spiced up their marriage.

Doing things because they are important to you obviously doesn’t mean that you don’t care.  I will still choose my words wisely when it comes to certain issues.  I’ll still say thank you and consider others.  It just means that I have made peace with the fact that it is absolutely impossible to make everyone happy.  It means, I will be less fearful of small things like what someone who I will most probably never see again, thinks of me.

We have this one life.  Treat it responsibly, but stop putting postponing or staying quiet when you feel you should have spoken up.  Do what’s in your heart. And do it Today.