As someone who has entertained fearful thoughts from early on in life and believed them so much they have affected my life deeply in many ways; including keeping me single into my early 30s to staying in jobs until well past their sell by date when they were no longer healthy for me to be there. – This is something I am curious about.
I became even more curious about this yesterday when I noticed that I could be innocently fuelling those same insecure thoughts of fear in my 2 and ¾ year old son. We were with his friends and they were playing around wearing some masks and roaring. He seemed fine with it until I think I subconsciously may have innocently mentioned the word scary to them – as an encouragement and game when they came up to me roaring in their masks. – ‘Oh no your really scary tee hee’ – which they loved and my son didn’t seem to take so well. Up until that point he hadn’t seem to notice or mind the masks and he’d seen me help his friends into them. Ten minutes later he was genuinely upset and scared by the masks and the roaring. They were roaring at him thinking it was funny and he was close to tears saying he was scared. No matter how many times I reassured him it wasn’t real and it was just his friends wearing masks he was still upset, to the point where my friends agreed the boys should not wear them.
It reminded me of the day we took my son to see the dinosaurs at the natural history museum. My friends had warned me that their little ones had been scared of the life size moving T-Rex model you see at the end of the exhibition so we took note of this. We walked through the exhibition and my son enjoyed looking at smaller models of the dinosaurs that moved and was curious about them. When we got to the T-Rex we thought we were being good parents by telling him – ‘even though this one was bigger it wasn’t real’ – Well up until that point I don’t think he had thought about any of it being scary and when we said this and he saw the big T-Rex he did get scared and upset and we had to hurry him through to the exit pronto. From this point on he has been really curious about the emotion scary and often talks about things being scary or not scary.
So I guess this brings me back to my initial question – ‘where does fear come from?’ – Well like any thought it comes from us and if we feed it grows and grows just like any other emotion of pattern or behaviour, like anger or insecurity.
I can see that throughout my life I innocently paid attention to and fed my fear and let it grow so it crept into different areas of my life in ways I wasn’t conscious of, and perhaps in some aspects still aren’t. I did that innocently just like I innocently taught my son the ‘scared’ word. – I just hope that even if he can’t quite understand it now – I can imbue him with a sense of not taking his thinking too seriously because (as I’m continually learning through the 3 Principles of Innate Health) the less we pay attention and feed it the less it grows. As Ami Chen Mills Naim so eloquently says in her fantastic book ‘The Spark Inside’ ‘ Negative thoughts are like stray cats the more you feed them the more come back.’ My hope that through sharing this understanding with him he learns not to fuel thinking that is unhelpful to him and nurture feelings and thought that are, like gratitude and trust in himself – something he was born and will always have but as adults we can see can get obscured by our own thinking.