Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls have been on the mind this week (and chocolate of course), so I’ve chosen THE HEEBIE-JEEBIES as the topic for today. There are plenty of things out there that can make our skin crawl. If you watched the Halloween episode of THE OFFICE this week, you know that this can be anything from snakes, the fear of dying alone, being buried alive, mummies, or even Jim Halpert himself. So what gives you the heebie-jeebies?
Along with all things that go bump in the night, the word FEAR comes to mind. I loved Halloween growing up. What isn’t fun about dressing up as your favorite character and running around with friends gathering candy? But there is a side of this particular holiday I always turn and run from…horror movies, haunted houses, large men with scary masks or chainsaws… Call me a coward or a wuss if you must, I just don’t enjoy being scared. I typically try to avoid that feeling at all costs. And yet, if I’m not careful, that feeling can follow me around on a regular basis, not just on the night of All-Hallows-Eve.
Even just this week, I’ve seen fear take its hold on my heart a time or two. And I haven’t been anywhere near a haunted house. I’m well aware that fear can bring me down if I let it. The trick of course is not to let it. Easier said than done, right? I think most things we worry about each day come from fear. Will my husband come home safe tonight? (Fear of losing a loved-one). Will my book sales crash and burn? (Fear of failure). Will my piece-of-junk car break down on the freeway? (Fear of facing hardships). Does the person I’m talking to think I’m an idiot? (Fear of rejection). Will people be so bored with my blog post they won’t even finish reading it? (Fear of failure AND rejection).
Okay, you get the idea and I’m sure your specific concerns are different than mine, but what should we do? Should I stop writing books because my sales went down a little this month or I got a bad review? No. Should someone drop out of school because they didn’t do well on one test? No. That would be letting our fears control our choices. I say, take control. Focus on the positive. I’m not writing this because I’m an expert. I’m writing this because I need to remind myself this week to do better at it. When I look at all the good things I’ve experienced this month, they far out-weigh the bad. For one, I’ve already sold over 5600 copies of my book. Yay!! But sometimes the good stuff isn’t as obvious. Sometimes it feels like the bad stuff is taking over.
When my husband and I first moved into student housing over three years ago, our water heater broke in the dead of winter. Yikes! Not fun! I was boiling water on the stove to take sponge baths for over a week. As soon as the heater was fixed, the first thing I did, of course, was take a hot shower. And it was the best shower I’d ever had in my life. Why? Because I suddenly knew what it was like not to have one. It also helped me remember that there are people in the world who don’t have regular hot showers, or any shower at all. But I do. Ever since then, this has been one little thing I use to focus on the positive. At least I can say I’ve enjoyed a hot shower. I do feel like a lot of things happen to us in life. Things we can’t control. It doesn't always come easy. My character, Sadie, experiences this quite a bit in my book, Deep Blue Secret. But she doesn't let it ruin her life. We as humans can be very resilient…if we choose to be. All we can do is choose how we will react to them and move forward. Why live our lives in constant worry when we don’t have to? Especially when there are so many possibilities all around us. So decide right now. Choose to push out the fear. We are in control of our own happiness. Did you enjoy your “hot shower” today?
To quote another popular saying that originated with Franklin D. Roosevelt:
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.