I have never seen a child as afraid of the dark as my daughter Kristen. Before she went to sleep each night, she would make my wife and me go through a search-and-destroy ritual in her room. We were never quite sure what we were looking for, but she was convinced that something from the dark was going to harm her while she slept.
Before we could turn off the lights, we had to look under her bed and in her closet to prove there was nothing waiting to hurt her. A casual look was not good enough for Kristen. We had to get down on our hands and knees and check every inch of the floor under her bed. While we looked, she sat on the edge of her bed looking over the side, never offering to help.
Once we gave her the all-clear sign, she pointed us in the direction of her closet. For whatever reason, Kristen had no interest in looking under her bed and trusted our examination, but insisted that she personally look inside her closet. She sat on her bed, gazed into her closet, and when she was satisfied that everything was OK, she instructed us to close the doors.
As we turned off the lights to leave her room, Kristen would lie in the middle of her bed and, as a final act before she went to sleep, arrange her stuffed animals around herself. She systematically collected her animals each night and would not go to sleep until each one was in its place.
With a kiss on her cheek, we lovingly assured her everything would be all right, said good night and left her room. She lay motionless in her bed with the covers pulled up to her chin, afraid to move. We could only see her eyes moving from side to side in the middle of a large mass of fur. She blended in with her stuffed animals and became one with them.
From the moment the lights went out until the sun came up the next morning, Kristen never moved or made a sound. The position we left her in each night was the position we found her in the next morning.
Kristen’s fear of the dark was not just limited to her bedtime ritual, but transcended throughout every part of her life. She would not go into any room unless the light was on. She stood at the edge of the darkness and refused to enter the room until someone turned on the light. It didn’t matter to Kristen if the light switch was 15 feet across the room or right by the door only inches away. She would not stick any part of her body into the darkness.
By the age of 10, Kristen’s fear of the darkness had improved. She no longer made us look under her bed and in her closet before the lights went out. She no longer hid in the middle of her stuffed animals, afraid to move. She was no longer afraid to go into a dark room to turn on a light. However, she was still afraid of the dark. Kristen would not go to sleep without her nightlight on.
I know what you are thinking. Kristen has a phobia about darkness, but you’re wrong. She is no different from any other child. Most children are afraid of darkness. Now, they may not be as afraid as Kristen was, but they are afraid. They are afraid of the unknown the darkness hides. They are afraid of the creatures – real or imaginary – lurking in the darkness that might harm them. They are afraid of things they can hear but cannot see.
Adults are afraid of darkness too. Producers of television shows and movies understand this fear and incorporate our fears into their storylines in every way they can. It makes programs exciting when they place actors in situations that play on our fears of the darkness. The music gets a little eerie, and when we least expect it, they startle us by bringing to life our fears of the unknown.
So, where am I going with this? It’s simple. There will be times in your life when you need to go into the darkness to deal with the unknown. There will be times when you face situations when you will not know what to do or where to turn. There will be times when you face many choices and not know which one to choose. There will be times when you need to make tough decisions with unknown consequences. All of us at times are surrounded by darkness that scares us to death and causes us to seek encouragement, comfort, and assurance from someone that everything will be all right.
Children overcome their fears of darkness by trusting their parents. They believe their parents will always be there to protect them. Despite their fear of darkness, children receive reassurances from their parents that everything will be all right.
How do you overcome your fears? Where do you get your comfort? Where do you go for answers when faced with many difficult choices? Who do you place your trust in when times are uncertain?
Some people get their strength and comfort from a bottle. They think they can drink their fears away. Unfortunately, their fears never go away for long. They resurface as soon as they sober up.
Others put their trust in drugs. For a few minutes or hours, they chemically remove themselves from their problems. They isolate themselves from the world, trying to physically separate themselves from their fears. Just like those who drink, their problems and fears of darkness never really go away.
Alcohol or drugs will never give you comfort from your fears. You can never place your trust in something that can’t be trusted. These things will never calm your fears or solve your problems but will only lead to destruction. They make you unable to see things clearly and drive you away from those who can help you. They will not bring you out of the darkness, but will only cause you to lose sight of your goals and dreams and dash your hopes for success.
So, where should you get comfort from the darkness? Some people use a best friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend or a spouse. Others use a pastor or priest to share their darkest secrets and fears. Others use their parents their entire lifetime to bounce ideas off of and to get reactions to their thoughts.
Wherever you look for comfort from the darkness, find someone you can trust unconditionally. Find someone who can look beyond his or her own insecurities and give you honest feedback. Someone you can go to with anything that keeps you awake at night and find comfort.
You see, sometimes you will have to walk into the darkness of the unknown, abandon all fear, and have faith that your trusted someone will be there with you. From time to time, you will need answers to difficult questions and will need counsel from someone who will provide unbiased opinions. Occasionally you will need the strength that you can only get from a trusted special someone who always has your back and gives you comfort that everything will be all right.
When you find yourself surrounded by darkness and unsure of what to do or how to react, turn to your special person for guidance. That person will never let you down.
The book that started this blog is available everywhere. Get your copy here.
Being successful at anything in life is not difficult. In fact, it is scary how simple it can be when you fully understand what it takes to be successful. When you break success down into its seven fundamental elements and begin to focus on the things that are really important to being successful, success comes naturally.
The potential for success is present within all of us. Believe it or not, we developed all the tools needed to be successful in every aspect of our life growing up as children. Regrettably, somewhere between childhood and adulthood many of us forget how to be successful. We make reaching our potential much more difficult than it really is. In the end, the biggest challenge we face in becoming successful is ourselves.
Simplicity is the key to everything in life. Focusing on the fundamentals of success unclutters the process and simplifies your path. The simpler anything is, the easier it is to achieve. Focusing on the Building Blocks of Success is the key to being successful at everything you do. Get your copy here.
Be sure to join our mailing list where you can receive discounts, special offers and periodic updates from Simple Life Publishing.
Also, be sure to pick up a copy of the free report “101 Ideas That Will Simplify Your Life!”
May your life be filled with purpose, the tranquility of simple living and the happiness and success you absolutely deserve!