I have been thinking a great deal about the role that fear plays in our lives. How often do we fear? Daily, weekly, once in a while? I think for many of us, it’s a common underlying player in our everyday decision-making, especially now.
I have said and done things as a parent that I thought I would never do, simply because I was subconsciously afraid that my child will resent me later and decide to sever his relationship with me. I think fear must run deep in our minds to compel us toward something that we may have sworn never to do.
One example of this in my personal life is my first child. I was so bent on never using the Cry-It-Out method of sleep training. I planned on being that dedicated, loving mother that indulged her child’s desire for motherly comfort. I actually thought I would enjoy this. I was horribly wrong. Once my son started to transition from newborn to infant, sleep-deprivation reared its ugly head and I delved into mommy anxiety and postpartum depression. I was desperate for some answers and realized that my best option and quickest path to better sleep and happiness (leading to better mothering) was to let him cry himself to sleep. Looking back, it was a relatively mild process, but it was soooooo hard at the time. I don’t regret it. I am grateful I made that decision. However, it was out of fear that at first I wasn’t going to try letting him cry, and then it was out of fear that I decided to let him cry.
When something close to our hearts is threatened, we become afraid and protective. Part of protecting that can be manifested in anger. To me, this is exactly the state of America. Everyone’s just afraid. Myself included, though maybe not for the same reasons that others are.
One thing that I know about emotions in other people, is that one of the best ways to move past the most extreme ones is to validate them. Even if we don’t agree with them, we need to validate and acknowledge their feelings and then work from there. To me, it’s the only way.