“It’s easy to be threatened by change and to want to call it evil. Our first instinct to something that is foreign or with something we don’t know is that it must be bad. It’s just in our DNA to do that. And I think it is really important to be very cautious to write something or someone off before we give it a thoughtful integrity based response. ” Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife
We are threatened by change and things that are different. We are threatened when someone disagrees with, diminishes, or challenges our view. It throws us off balance. It feels like a personal attack. And that fear can distort our ability to see the situation accurately. It can also, if we coddle it, limit our ability to respond with moral integrity and courage.
Think of Fiddler on the Roof. How often were Tevye’s beliefs challenged? And not by outsiders, but by his daughters whom he loved and cared for deeply. He was constantly wading through the legitimate challenge of finding a way to love and embrace his daughters and his beliefs. If we’re not careful, the fear that arises when our beliefs are challenged can cause us to respond with emotional immaturity. That poor response can damage relationships and erode our character. But if we can ground ourselves and respond with moral integrity, then those moments can become pivotal milestones in our lives.
Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife is a licensed psychotherapist with a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She wrote her dissertation on LDS women and sexuality, and has taught college-level courses on human sexuality, as well as community and internet based relationship and sexuality workshops. She is a frequent contributor on the subjects of sexuality, mental health and spirituality to LDS-themed blogs, magazines, and podcasts. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children where she maintains a private practice.