Friday, April 8, 2011

Facing Our Fears

Yesterday was one of the most amazing days that I have had in a long time. Everything about yesterday was good. I received a touching email from my CISV friend, read a comment from my wonderful Cyber friend and connected with my 5-year old boy.

My husband and I were chatting on our patio after putting the kids to sleep. It was a beautiful night despite the hungry mosquitoes that were nibbling on my leg. After 15 minutes of sitting down, our Nepalese friend, who is staying with us for a while, came out to tell me that my son was up.
I ran upstairs to find him at the top telling me that he was scared… there was no where for us to sit so I took him to the bathroom that was next to his room. I did not want to talk to him in his room because that would disturb his sleeping sister. I sat on the toilet seat and placed him in front of me. I asked him what he was afraid of… and he said, “Monsters!”
I just had to make him laugh so I started poking fun of the monster. I asked him what he looked like, “Does he have horns? Is he fluffy? Hairy?”  He kept laughing at my suggestions while saying, “No, but there really is a monster!” ... I then asked him if he was using that monster of his as an excuse because he wanted to go pee or stay up late. He kept reiterating that there really was a monster... But he did really need to pee as well… and when he did, he burst out laughing….
I then told him that he could tell the monster not to come into the room because if he did, then he would be facing a really strong boy who would kick him out. His father then came into the bathroom and said, “Ask the monster to get you an ice-cream and if he did not then tell him that the lion in your heart will eat him up.” We then started coming up with other scenarios for him and other ways he could get rid of the monster… He could befriend the monster and ask him politely to leave… or ask the monster to wait for him in the sand box until the next morning when he can go out and play.
My son then asked me to lay down in the bed next to him for a little while… I had to smile and tease him about the fact that he might have made up the story of the monster just to get me to lay down next to him… He kept assuring me that there was a monster through giggles… I laid down on the bed … After a second or so, he said, ”See look there is a monster behind the door.” The door was ajar. All I could see was the door knob so I called the monster the “knob monster!” Sounds funny and naughty doesn’t it? But I couldn’t think of anything else… to say.
I talked to the monster myself and asked him politely to leave and wait in the sand box… when I saw my kid sitting up in bed next to me and whisper a few words… I thought he was trying to avoid sleeping and I was about to say something when a voice inside me told me to wait and pay attention to what he was saying… he was looking towards the door saying, ”Monster… You cannot come into my room… you need permission from my mommy and daddy… so go and get me an ice-cream… if you do not get me an ice-cream the lion in my heart will eat you up.”
He then laid back down next to me... I placed my arm around his waist while we were face to face and a second later he did the same... placed his arm on my waist and went back to sleep.
I was so proud of him for facing his fears. The way he was told to face his monster was important. The way he was taught to perceive his fears was important in forming a different conception of fear … he would always use that strategy to face his fears now… well, I am hoping that he would.
How we perceive fear affects how we react to it. We must refuse to be helpless in the face of fear as that would make us a powerful force… a force that would push us to become the best that we can be…. free us from the binds that hold us and catapult us forward to achieve our most difficult goals…. a force that would give us the energy and belief that we can overcome any obstacle in our way.
If we avoided that which we fear the most then slowly we would be avoiding any obstacle in our way… We would continue to take the easy way to avoid facing our fears and our lives become a bore. If we persevered and perceived that which we fear the most as just a simple bump in the road, something we can overcome, then we would lead ourselves to a more fulfilling and fruitful life.
Two weeks ago, my two year old daughter was playing with a black and white shepherd dog. Her face was at level with his head… (I know we should have been more careful about that… but our friends, whom we have not seen for 5 years, told us it was ok). My children love animals and just love connecting with them... My daughter was petting the dog’s head that day… it seemed that the dog was a little bit sensitive around the ears for when she pet that area, he turned around, nipped her cheek and tripped her to the ground.
She began to cry of course… I quickly picked her up, held her close, told her it was ok and that the doggie was just trying to kiss her and did not mean to trip her. I kept repeating that the dog was only trying to kiss her so that she would not develop a fear of dogs. After ten minutes, and after she had calmed down, I put her back on the ground and the first thing she did was walk up to the doggie and pet him on his back.
We have to face our fears to free us to become who we truly are deep down inside… We must face our fears to gain ourselves and the wonderful feeling that comes with overcoming our obstacles.
Anais Nin, a French author, wrote, "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."


paula devi said...

Taboule, what an amazing post. How fortunate your children are to have such encouraging and caring parents. "The lion in my heart will eat you". I hope your sweet boy does not mind if I honor the lion in my heart and keep him close when I am afraid. Grrrr. Lovely.

Tabouleh said...

LOL... Of course not... honor away...I must admit that I need to do the same when I face an obstacle I fear... thanks for your beautiful comment Paula...

Zeina said...

awww puppy he's such a cutie!!
"if you do not get me an ice-cream the lion in my heart will eat you up" is adorable!
maybe i should be using that phrase to face my fears

Tabouleh said...

Yeah Zeina... maybe you should... and maybe you should become my follower or the lion in my heart will eat you up too... LOL

Zeina said...

uhhh... good one... i'll try to figure out how to be a blog follower