Do you remember what it was like when you were a child, and going to bed was sometimes a scary thing to do? I remember thinking there were snakes under my bed, or monsters in the closet. Even though there wasn’t any such thing hiding in my room, the fear was as real as if my life was truly in danger.
I’d lay there with the covers bundled around my neck, after having seen an episode of “Cliff Hangers” back in the 1970’s – something about vampires, and it took a long time before I could go to bed without worrying about something swooping in to suck my blood.
Well, my daughter was ten, and something was planted the idea in her mind that someone was going to break in and kill her after bedtime. What a horrible thought! I tried everything I could think of to help her go to bed in peace. We used music, prayer, EFT, reading, and still, bedtime continued to trouble her.
Finally one night we had a breakthrough.
When she began again to express her worries, the more she talked about them, the more emotional and worked up she became. I stopped her and said, “Kayli, what are the odds, or the chance, that someone out there really wants to kill you?? I mean really?”
She answered, “Maybe 5%…”
I responded, “Uh, maybe more like half of a half, of a half, of a quarter, of a fraction of a percent!!! What are you doing to people out there that I don’t know about, that is SO bad, that they would want to break in and kill… YOU? (Of all people!)”
She quietly said, “I don’t know…”
So I went on, “Are you clipping your toenails and putting them in someone’s cereal??”
With that, she began to giggle.
“Are you putting Charlie’s poop in people’s hamburgers?? What are you doing to people that would make them so mad that your life is in danger?? Are you flipping boogers onto someone’s windshield or putting eyeballs in their fruit cocktail??”
With each nonsensical scenario, I had her giggling nearly to tears… as well as the other kids in the room. They begged for more and more, and even in the morning, the first thing out of my son’s mouth was, “Tell me another one, mom!”
This solution wasn’t calculated or intentional. I didn’t know it would work so well. I was beside myself and wanted to throw up my hands after trying every psychological tool I was aware of. (So often the solution to our problems shows up after we’ve exhausted all known possible solutions!)
Anyway, apparently attaching another emotion like laughter to something fearful can flip a switch.
Even as an adult, I’ve noticed that when I feel fear about something, if I can turn it into something I can laugh about, the mood changes, I relax, I stop visualizing the worst-case scenario, and I can have peace.
In truth, anything that helps us think peacefully in spite of a tense situation is going to be beneficial. That’s because when our hearts and minds are at peace, we are subconsciously receptive to unseen guidance that leads us to make good choices. On the other hand, when we remain in or operate out of fear, we cut ourselves off from some of the good and wonderful experiences that life has to offer.
Fear is deception. Think on hopeful things; imagine best-case scenarios, and you’ll naturally draw yourself toward results that more closely reflect them. If you find that hard to do, learn to laugh at your fears, and they just might dissipate for good.