So, I had some ideas bouncing around in my head this morning but then I read an email and was inspired.
Recently, a friend of mine’s child came forth with what some may call, an embarrassing truth. He’s afraid of spiders. Not an “Eeeek! A spider!” type fear. But an “I’m-paralyzed-beyond-all-reason-and-rationale!” fear of spiders. I can relate as I used to have the same fear. Ugh! It’s awful! No matter how someone tells you “you’re the giant and he’s the tiny person” or “what’s the worst that can happen??” that fear can get inside of you and take you over like a cancer, keeping you from living the life you want to live.
What I find most remarkable about all this is not this boy’s fear, but his courage to deal with it head on (he’s 11 years old; this is prime taunting age from peers!). He has to go to summer camp and, last time I checked, nature has a spider or two! And I think he was able to do this because he has great support from his mom and dad. The boy was the one to mention it publicly first and his dad informed the other parents of what his son was dealing with and their plan to go forward. Awesome!! How many times do I see people simply sticking their heads in the sand or dismissing a problem with “Get over it!”? If you think this is overkill for one kid’s fear, you’ve never had a fear that takes you over; otherwise you’d understand. And it IS difficult to understand irrational fears if you haven’t had any. The power they have over you. But if we really think about it, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we ALL have fears. And ignoring them may work on one level but they’ll always be there, lurking in the shadows. Which adds to problem! (Especially if you’re afraid of shadows! J) True bravery is facing your self head-on.
I’m not saying the “fake it ‘til you make it” philosophy doesn’t have some merit. If you can convince yourself you are a certain way that you really aren’t, you may ultimately get there. Sort of a Dumbo with the feather scenario; give yourself what it is you need to believe in yourself until you have proved to yourself that you really can do what you want to do. But even then you have to face your shortcomings. I think only then can we move forward.
Nobody can be all things, all the time! That would be exhausting! And we tend to look at our fears as a sort of a drawback. Once again, we fixate on that which keeps us back rather than what propels us forward. And that too has a place if you’re looking at your weaknesses in a problems solving sort of way. For instance, I am not confrontational. When it comes to any sort of confrontation I tend to lock up tight, my brain seizes like an engine without oil, my body tenses, my stomach gets tight, my skin grows cold, and I feel dizzy. Yeah, THAT’S how much I hate confrontation! (Well, my husband says how come I have no problem when it comes to confrontation with him but I tell him that’s just because I love and trust him so much! He says “lucky me”. J) But, in that case, I’ve adapted by choosing my words carefully, looking for different points of view, and, most importantly, think before I speak! I think all those are a good thing for me. I would look at that as an attribute rather than a fault.
Fears are necessary. It’s evolutionary! Without a certain degree of fear, we wouldn’t last very long! But there are ways to not let fear control all aspects of our lives. This little boy and his parents are very inspirational. As his dad said: “We have a plan!” I think that is fantastic. I told him, since I got over my fear of spiders (for the most part – we do live in the land of black widows and brown recluses!), I’m always available for reference. I get it. I admire anyone who takes action to get control over his or her own life. Imagine if we concentrated our efforts over controlling our own issues, as opposed ignoring our own and trying to control the issues of others, what a healthier world we would live in?