Our older son is quite a sensitive soul. So when he watches a movie or TV series that includes a scary looking red eyed monster that stares into his eyes, he becomes terrified at night. A childhood friend of mine is so scared of frogs that she shivers even when she looks at a drawing of a cute froggy. Our preschool teacher in Shanghai had a phobia for sharks and so my son could not go to school wearing his favourite shirt with a shark on it.
To lesser or greater degree we all have something we are scared of. Since I exposed my son’s secret fear without his permission it is fair to confess what I am afraid of. For a starter, I am VERY scared to hit the “SEND” button of my newsletter each and every month after I compose it. You know, English is not my first language and I am scared of your negative opinion of me because there might be so many grammatical mistakes or typos or you simply do not like the content.
Who cares about what other people think, you might say. But the truth is I have a deep fear of being rejected. There, I said it. That’s right. I am fearful of being perceived unimportant, HATE the feeling of not being heard, and not being accepted. This is my red-eyed scary monster. As some of you know, when I was growing up my father had panic attack disorder that confined him within the four walls of our house in Tokyo for many, many years. He was ill, yet he had 3 young children and a wife that he needed to take care of. So he did what he could and focused on being a responsible father. He did a fantastic job with it but then again, he did not have enough time or space for me (or so I thought). I was a little girl who craved his attention and love yet could not express her needs because this girl did not want to burden him further. I used to tell myself, “he is SUFFERING, so don’t be selfish.” So I kept quiet. Then I started to seek what I needed outside of home. I wanted to be important in someone’s life. I wanted to be accepted. I wanted to be loved and cared for.
I carried on the childhood expectation of someone else making me feel important and complete well into my adulthood. Yet over the years I have learned that the only person who can make me feel whole was, you guessed it, MYSELF. If only someone could take care of my emotional baggages while I relaxed on the beach with a big sun hat and a drink in one hand!
How did I reverse the tendency to place my self worth in someone else’s hands? After handful of troubled relationships and hours of sitting with psychologists who looked at me empathetically but did nothing to solve my issues (didn’t I pay you to solve my problems?!?!), I finally decided to face my fear. So I intentionally and repeatedly started to place myself in situations where I could be easily judged, criticised and rejected. It was scary and it still is to certain extent. But little by little, I have learned to respect more of who and what I am than what other people think of me.I have learned to empower myself by facing my red eyed monster.
I have come to embrace fear as a beautiful opportunity because somewhere beyond that door guarded by your most dreaded red-eyed monster lays your strength and your true self. Facing your fear is too scary a proposition? Do it anyway and see it yourself what a sublime freedom exists beyond your fear. They are all within your reach just beyond that door. So next time you find the door of fear and its menacing guard, look in his red, blood shed eyes and walk through it as if you are not scared at all. Because you are a whole lot more than your fear.
It is easier to face your fear once you name it
and let it out of your system.
So let it out!
Share what your monster is by leaving a comment below.
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