Live Life Fully: Three 'isms' that can hold you back

What if you could live your life without:




Imagine that. Doubts would be replaced with trust. Judgments and perceived hurt feelings would go out the window. Instead, you would be present. A curious observer.

Obviously, this is not possible — outside a monastery. Or, perhaps, even practical or desirable in all situations. After all, we’re only human.

It’s interesting to note, though, that these four qualities all end with “ism.” Whenever you pin an “ism” to an event, chances are the involved parties view it only through their own lens, as noted by author Niklas Goke.

That got me thinking about so many perspectives that affect us:

  • sexism
  • racism
  • egoism
  • baptism
  • heroism
  • capitalism

Faced with all these “isms,” even the most detached among us eventually have to make judgment calls. Especially when it comes to people.

Take a look at this simple story I’ve adapted from Goke that illustrates how the initial “isms” above play out.

Here’s the premise: Boy meets girl. They fall in love. Girl can’t hold back any longer.


Girl: “I love you.”

Boy: “What makes you say such a thing?”


Girl: “I love you.”

Boy: “Do you?”


Girl: “I love you.”

Boy: “And what’s the good news?”

Your world view

We all have backdrops in our lives that frame our attitudes and opinions. They heavily influence our decisions. Collectively, they’re known as our worldview.

As hard as we try, there’s no way we can directly relate to another’s background and experience. Although empathy helps us come close in many cases, there’s a reason for the saying, “Walk a mile in my shoes.”

In today’s highly polarized world, the world view concept takes on extra weight. Next time you find yourself worlds apart from the person you’re conversing with, stop to see if there’s an “ism” attached.

No wonder it’s so hard to trust. If trust was a major part of the boy/girl scenario, we could see this response:

Girl: “I love you.”

Boy: “I love you, too.”

And wouldn’t that be lovely?

Linda Arnold, M.A., M.B.A., is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at For information on her books, go to or

Funerals for Monday, February 17, 2020

Batten, Richard - 2 p.m., Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, Spencer.

Cook, Dorothy - 1 p.m., Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, Beckley.

Dickenson, Cosette - 11 a.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, Charleston.

Hamilton, Stephanie - 7 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

McComas Jr., Oscar - 1 p.m., Lewis Memorial Baptist Church.

Mullenax, Claude - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Triolo, Angela - 11 a.m., St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Logan.

Van Camp Sr., Danny - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Wilson, William - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay.

Withers, Rosa - 1 p.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Yoak, Norma - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Grantsville.