Growing up my mom was often quite fearful. Yet she was very brave. Let me explain. I grew up in the South Bronx. It was not necessarily the safest area for a young girl or many others. Things have since changed but there was fear of crime in those parts.
My mother had a recurring dream where we were in a supermarket and I disappeared. That dream haunted her day and night. She worried constantly about me. As a teenager I didn’t want my mom to worry about me. Or rather I didn’t want her to show her worries in front of my friends. But her fears sunk deep into my subconscious. It was there whether I acknowledged it or not. Then one day my mom let go of her fears allowing me to go to boarding school in Massachusetts. And, although that was not super far it might as well have been in another galaxy. But she let me go. She was brave. And, I became brave.
Fast forward to the other day where I was with family at a party. Many of the kids there were fearful. The parents smothered and kept the kids on a very tight leash. They were shocked that my son was independent. Don’t get me wrong. He is still my baby and I still baby him. But I allow him to be free. He also talks to anyone. He also is up for adventures. He also is anti-bullying. He will call out a bully and defend others. We all need to do that.
Some people let fear drive them. And its ok to be afraid in a moment. There are potentially many anxiety-provoking situations in which we may find ourselves. But fear can’t or shouldn’t be our baseline.