Speedy’s Introduction to Fear
One day, my son’s grandmother introduced him to “El Cuco,” the Spanish version of the Boogeyman. I know it wasn’t done out of malice, just a way to keep my son from running off, but man… I was upset when I realized what she had done. Up until that point, Speedy had been comfortable walking around the entire house in the dark. But now, he suddenly had a doubt in his mind that something scary would be lurking just around the corner, silently waiting for him. That was a few years ago, but to this day he still hesitates before walking through a dark room. I still have to tell my son that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Little did she know at the time, this one event would affect him for years to come.
Many people live with fear every day. Fear of succeeding… Fear of failing… Fear of being alone… Fear of not having enough money… Fear of dying…
Fear of failing your children… Fear of not being liked… Fear of having a job that keeps you away from your family… Fear of change… Fear of loss… Fear of losing control… Fear of being ridiculed… Fear of not being pretty enough… Fear of not being skinny enough… Fear of not being smart enough… Fear of just not being good enough… Any of these sound familiar?
Why is Fear Important?
Yeah, yeah… We’ve all heard the story about the caveman and the lion. This emotion was meant to keep us safe. An internal alert that something is wrong… Our instinct, or intuition, kicks in. It helps us either stand our ground and prepare for battle or run for the hills to save our butt….
Well then, what the heck happened?!? When did we all suddenly choose what’s behind door number 3? Freeze and stare like a deer in headlights? I’m seeing that more often than not, we are allowing fear to immobilize us. It is stopping us dead in our tracks, preventing us from getting from to point A to point B. And yes, I said “us.” I am no different. I definitely include myself in this group.
I never used to think of myself as being limited by fear. I always spoke my mind. Jumped into new projects with enthusiasm. Didn’t worry about other people’s opinions. Was happy being alone. Although I didn’t like failing or being wrong, I wasn’t afraid to try new things or to defend my case. Much different than the person I turned into many years later.
What changes us? It can be anything. Some are triggers as a result of a real event or threat that has occurred… Sometimes something happens and we assume the same thing will happen again, sometimes we mentally make it worse. Others can be the result of an over active imagination going five steps too far… Anyone play the “what if” game? Sometimes it can be an off-hand comment, such as the “Cuco” incident that is taken to heart. Some are created as a result of a chemical imbalance in the body and a host of other causes I am seriously not qualified to analyze, so I won’t.
My “Real” Event
About 3 years ago, my life was turned upside down. One day, I was home cooking dinner when my husband came in and pulled up a chair. He had decided to tell me that he was dating the office secretary. He said flat out that he was not going to stop seeing her. He had fallen in lust. I swear, I thought I was going to pass out as I was hearing the words he was saying. My life went through some pretty dramatic changes as a result of that one conversation.
Rewind a year before this and I had been diagnosed with a life threatening neurological disorder. From that point on, my days had been full of physical pain and large doses of steroids, so I was already feeling challenged. But now, my partner in crime, the person I trusted to catch me if I faltered, the person who promised to love me forever, the person who said we could get through anything together – I find out that he had flat out lied. About everything. What’s worse? He kept on lying… But now he didn’t bother to try and hide it. Pictures, texts, and videos were right there for me to see. Yup, I spiraled.
I was crushed. Not only was I crushed, I had a Negative Nelly pushing me down that hill even faster with their advice. I had to lose the Prednisone weight. I had to show him I could be a better wife. I had to be more “fun” and not talk about money issues or our “mistress” problem. Blah, blah, blah… Let me just say, none of it worked and he still left. All it did was increase my fears and insecurities.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step…
I am so grateful that I have an amazing counselor. When I realized how far I had diverted from my authentic self, I started to ask myself different questions and essentially peel back the layers of the onion. What I came up was with a bunch of excuses I had been telling myself to rationalize where I was. My external excuses let me “get away” with being this way by having a scapegoat. I was shifting blame, and bad!! My internal excuses were just a bunch of things I kept replaying in my head which exacerbated my fears of going at it alone. Again, deer in headlights.
My counselor helped me find the limiting beliefs that were keeping me in my funk. I had to get real. I had to get honest. I had to identify what my fears were…. Remember that list in the beginning? Where do you think it came from? Yup. Therapy. They were all of my fears. Some of them had more twisted roots than others, but all of them were obstacles in my path. One by one we went thought them and changed my pattern of focus and belief.
Let me pause here and say this didn’t happen over night. I would see my counselor for weekly visits over months and I had to do a lot of work with myself and by myself. I had given my ex power and relinquished control every time I measured my life against what I had expected it to be and what I had allowed him to take away from me. He didn’t deserve all that credit. He wasn’t worth it and he had proven he wasn’t worth me! But as we all know, habits can be difficult to break… but not impossible... Negative self-talk is no different.
First thing was I needed to be grateful for everything I still had, especially for my life and my son. We had so many blessings in our lives… I was discounting them by focusing on the wrong stuff. Things were not really that bad!! Gratitude. Check.
Then I had to focus on where I wanted to go. You won’t get anywhere unless you figure out where it is that you want to go. Find your starting point, decide a destination and then figure out the in-between. Everyone says it’s like planning a vacation and I want my journey to be stellar! Road map. Check.
The difficult one was seeing it come true in my mind. Why did I need to do that? To fool my mind into being successful. I had spent months of fooling it into misery and paralyzingly fear. Why couldn’t I do the opposite? Brainwashing. Check.
Now the last step. This is why this website and blog is important to me… I have to move. Start working towards my goals and dreams. As one of my coaches told me… See it. Feel it. Know it. Do it. This is my first step in doing. No more excuses. No more broken promises to myself. No more rehashing the past with would of, could of, should of’s… Action. Check.
I hope I haven’t scared you off…. Everyone has their story to tell. This was just part of mine. You may feel some stories are worse than others, but to the person living through it, none is as bad as theirs… Until they can take a step back and realize, it’s not really that bad! There may even be some hidden blessings in it…
Get grateful. Find yourself. Recourse your path. Believe in yourself. Get moving!!! And NEVER, EVER let your fear hold you back!!!
I hope I’ll see you tomorrow….