Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fear Factor

We are fearful, even terrified, of anything new or different, of change.

I was reminded, tonight, that this fear begins at an incredibly early age. Sometime between our toddler years and kindergarten it hits us--the notion that the world is not a safe place.

Our French friends were visiting for the first time in over twenty years. My four-year old nephew, usually the (only) life of the party suddenly became shy and refused to go anywhere near one of our friends. She had made an attempt to play a game with him, a French version of peek-a-boo, and it scared the beejeezus out of him. I suggested that perhaps he was frightened by her accent, explaining that she sounded different, because she lived in France. He latched onto that explanation, but stuck to his position, which was several rooms away from hers. I traumatized him further by incorrectly assuming that the kitchen coast was clear. Big mistake! She was there. (Bad Auntie! Will he ever forgive me? Even worse, have I scarred him for life?)

Later, I explained that our French friends had grandchildren his age that played in big sand dunes at their beach home in Arcachon, just like he had played in sand dunes with his cousin in Death Valley. I then, out of guilt mostly, stayed glued to his side in the kitchen while he ate his rice and beans. I promised him that I would never ever leave his side again. It took half the night and a serious one-on-one talk with Mommy before he relinquished his fear and not only spoke to our friends but embraced them into our family.

Looking back I am amazed that he was able to do this, and in less than a couple of hours—a rather remarkable feat, considering that, as adults, it may take us years, if not lifetimes, to relinquish similar fears. Neither my mother’s words nor my inner strength was powerful enough to extinguish similar fears that I have held. Not only that, my nephew had no reason to trust me after I steered him wrong (Yes, I still feel horrible about it.). And yet, trust us he did.

So what happens to us? Do we lose our trust? Do we lose our resilience? When does the world become so large, so unsafe, that we lose our sense of control and personal power?

I don’t have answers for you today, just questions:

1. What is your greatest fear?

2. What area(s) of your life feel(s) the most out of your control?

3. Are there people in your life that scare you? Why?

4. When was the last time that you experienced something different or new? Perhaps a different food or activity, met new people, traveled to a new place, learned something new…
What was that experience like for you?

5. What was the last thing you did that pushed you beyond your usual comfort zone? How did you feel afterwards?

6. What do you wish you could do or experience that you haven’t yet, because it scares you?

7. If you could change anything about you or your life, what would it be?

8. When did you feel the safest and most powerful in your life? Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing?

9. Including yourself, who is/are the most powerful person(s) in your life?

10. From where does your strength come?

The first step is to ask the questions. The second is to avoid censoring your responses. Sometimes merely bringing these questions into your conscious awareness is enough to begin the process of change.

As for me--I’m going to hang out with these questions for a bit and with my nephew a whole lot more…I have a lot to learn from him!

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