Florence Scovel Shinn’s take on being afraid or fearful of people

intimidating person

I am a big Florence Scovel Shinn fan, particularly of her book “The Game of Life and How to Play It.” In this book, she touches upon the idea of being afraid and fearful of people. She talks about confronting our fears when interacting with other people. She says: 

Perhaps one’s fear is of personality. Then do not avoid the people feared; be willing to meet them cheerfully, and they will either prove “golden links in the chain of one’s good,” or disappear harmoniously from one’s pathway.

Let’s break it down:

“Perhaps one’s fear is of personality.” Here, Florence is referring to the common fear or apprehension we might feel towards an intimidating person. This could be because of past negative experiences, preconceived notions, or simply an irrational fear.

“Then do not avoid the people feared; be willing to meet them cheerfully…” Florence advises against running away from or being afraid of people. Instead, she suggests facing them with a positive and cheerful attitude. This approach can be transformative. When we face our fears head-on, especially with a positive mindset, we often realize that our fears are unfounded or exaggerated. Our attitude can influence the dynamics of the interaction. Meeting someone with a cheerful demeanor can set a positive tone, making the interaction smoother and more pleasant.

“…and they will either prove ‘golden links in the chain of one’s good,’…” This part of the statement is optimistic. Florence suggests that by confronting our fears and interacting positively with the people we once feared, they might turn out to be blessings in disguise. They could offer us opportunities, teach us valuable lessons, or even become allies and friends. The term “golden links in the chain of one’s good” paints a picture of valuable connections in the journey of our lives, emphasizing the potential positive outcomes of these interactions.

“…or disappear harmoniously from one’s pathway.” On the flip side, if these people are genuinely not meant to be a part of our lives, facing them with a positive attitude will lead to a natural and peaceful separation. Instead of dramatic confrontations or lingering negative feelings, the situation resolves itself “harmoniously.” This means that things will fall into place naturally, without force or conflict.

In essence, Florence is emphasizing the power of attitude and perspective. By facing our fears, especially those related to other people, with a positive and open mindset, we open the door to potential blessings and positive outcomes. Even if things don’t turn out the way we hope, the situation will resolve itself peacefully, allowing us to move forward without lingering negativity. It’s a call to embrace life’s challenges with optimism and courage, trusting that things will work out for the best.




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