Are Your Fears Real or Imaginary?

The innate intelligence present in small children amazes me. They have an uncanny ability to cut through the B.S. and get right to the truth. I don’t recall having thoughts like the one in the story below. Do you remember thinking this way?

Around midnight last night, my 4-year-old son was sobbing at our bedroom door. My wife got up to comfort him. She went to his room to snuggle and talk with him in his own bed. This is the story my wife told me this morning.

“What’s wrong buddy? What are you scared of?” she asked him.

“My imagination… It’s too big. It scares me.”, he said.

He wasn’t able to describe what he imagined that frightened him.

Before she left his room, she asked him, “Would you like me to leave the door open a little?”

He replied, “No, the stuff I’m scared of is in my imagination and that’s in my head, so leaving the door open won’t help.”

OMG! My 4-year-old knows his fears are inside his head and that’s where he must deal with them. Having the door open was an outside solution that wouldn’t help.

It took me most of my adult life to realize this basic truth. Did I know it when I was four too? If so, how did I unlearn it?

Almost all of our fears and all of our worries are imaginary. If we can change what we imagine, we can change reality.

11 thoughts on “Are Your Fears Real or Imaginary?”

  1. Yep, the imagination can be a right nasty little bastard when it’s turned against you.

    I spent nearly a year literally terrified of the stuff inside of my skull after a week’s worth of the antibiotic Floxin triggered 8+ months of horrific night terrors and random, frightening amnesiac fugue states. For months, I was terrified to go to bed because I knew my brain was just sitting there, waiting to get me the moment I closed my eyes.

    Poor kid. I can sympathize completely. He’s right – there’s just no where to run when you pack your demons along with you.

  2. Great Post Steve!

    Anais Nin was spot on when she made the following observation:

    “We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.”

    Have you ever helped a friend through a relationship crisis and been absolutely stunned and amazed when you got around to chatting to their significant other to get their interpretation of events?

    It’s like, “are you guys talking about the same thing?”

    How can two people in the one relationship or situation, talking about the same issues, have such a completely different take on things and both ‘know’ they’re right? This happens in marriages, workplaces, friendships and a range of situations, every second of every day, in every corner of the globe.

    It’s called perspective; how WE personally see things.

    Our reality.

    To my amazement and disappointment, I discovered a few years ago that not everyone lives on planet Craig.

    Obviously a big loss for humanity.

    Sadly, I had to learn to listen to others; not easy for an only child.

    Keep up the great writing Steve!

  3. First let me say thanks for all the great stuff Steve.

    When I was a child the monsters definitely were real. I had not an inkling that they were in my head. Furthermore the hand that touched my foot from under the bed at night seemed very real! My wife agree’s. Children today are proof that evolution happens. (Thankfully) Keep up the good work; I’ll be tuned in.

  4. First of all, you said a great truth: “The innate intelligence present in small children amazes me. They have an uncanny ability to cut through the B.S. and get right to the truth.”

    In fact, it seems that we all have a great potential for inteligence, especially when we are small children. Unfortunatelly, the society (incuding scholarship) is taking care to change everyone. Moreover, the small children are pure, they do not care a lot of garbage in their mind, they normally see and name the truth. They did not have time to make patterns in their mind.

    Personally, I can remember some great judgements, feelings, and intuitive decisions since I was 3-5 years old that do amaze me now.

  5. Very Nice. My 5 year old has similar imagination… we have had him focus his imagination on paper, and try to draw what he sees. He is very visual, and is fond of drawing his imaginary visualizations.

    Have a Great Holiday season, Steve!


  6. This is great. The sad thing for most adults is that they can’t see that what they worry and fuss about ain’t even real!

    Good for your son, now make sure he keeps that knowledge with him his whole life!

  7. Nice anecdote. I do believe that in a way it is our imagination that is real and the ‘reality’ is just ‘in our heads’, so the perspective of a kid can be really refreshing sometimes. On a side note I also think that our apparantly irrational fears stay with us from childhood throughout our adult life. Sure the fears are different, but in the majority of cases no less irrational.

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