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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Facing Your Fears In Your Neighborhood


The secret to a long, happy life.

Here it is. Are you ready? 

Face your fears.

In every situation I have ever encountered in my entire almost 40 years on this planet - I have ALWAYS felt better when I faced my fears. And I always felt worse when I didn’t.

What brought on this life-lesson buried deep in my subconscious?

GRE math and a new Daniel Tiger show.

We’ll get back to the GRE.

First, Daniel Tiger. A NEW Daniel tiger came on today. A new neighbor moving into Daniel’s neighborhood. 

Cue hysterics from my four year old, Ellie. Tears. Screaming in terror. Hiding of eyes. Wailing and gnashing of teeth. You get the picture. ‘I don’t want to watch the new one! I don’t like it I don’t like it!’

I don’t pretend to be all wise and all knowing. But in this case, it was clear she was terrified of her favorite show changing. Changing in a way she might not like, or will be afraid of. New neighbors were scary things when it happens to your favorite warm, cozy, unchanging TV show. It would be like finding out Scrooge had a wife. It’s like…no, that’s not right. Who’s messing around with my favorite Christmas movie?

Except magnified times a hundred. So I have two choices as a mom. Cave to the fear, turn it off, and continue on our day, or endure the hysterics trying to make room for her natural resiliency to shine through.

Maybe it was the whole wheat Wheaties I had for breakfast. Maybe it was the Kombucha in my Green tea this morning. For whatever reason, I decided not to take the easy way out. I decided this random Tuesday morning in the middle of September was a good time to instill some of my hard earned wisdom into her tiny heart.

I left the show on.

Ba ba baaaaaa.

I held her, I rocked her, I brought her to her room when I had to deal with Benji. But i left the show on. And at some point I went into her room and gave her a big hug and told her the secret to a happy life. 

I didn’t pressure her, or force her to watch, but I didn’t turn it off either. I let her come out on her own. And she did. And the next time that show comes on, it won’t be a melt-down of fear and anxiety, because she’s already dealt with it.

Face your fears. 

You’ll feel better. Every time. I promise. 

And if it doesn’t feel better immediately, (I’m thinking finally going in for that test you’d been dreading and it’s bad news) or the niggling feeling your partner hasn’t been faithful that you finally confront. These kinds of adult fears may take a little longer to feel better after you face them but you will. And you’ll be stronger.

I’m not a perfect parent. I am not a saint. I’ve got my own issues for sure. But Ellie will know that fear is an enemy to confront and beat down, and that results in a life any one would be proud to live, no matter what happens.

Oh, and I passed the GRE yesterday, with points to spare. Sure glad I faced my fear of math. Just sayin’. We don’t know what we’re capable of unless we just put our heads down and do it already.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man (or woman!) makes, one of our greatest surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid to do.” Henry Ford.