A Letter to the Fearful Who Lie Awake at Night

A Letter to the Fearful Who Lie Awake at Night

I see you there in the darkness–eyes wide open searching for any scrap of light to illuminate the dark corners of your mind. You dare not go to sleep because then you will be alone with your fears. Even loved ones become mere mannequins in your dream worlds, impotent and unable to save you from your darkest imaginings.

So  you lie awake hoping that if you don’t look under the bed or in the closet or in the darkest dungeons of your mind, you can think your way out of your dread.

Logic does not  know fear. Right?

You calculate and plot and plan ways to escape and eradicate the realities of the day that haunt and hunt you in the night.

If I work harder…

If I can convince someone…

If I eliminate this…

If I add that…

In those shrouded moments between wakefulness and sleep, “ifs” allow you to become the hero who confronts the monster and saves the day.

Yet in this theatre of the mind, fears have infiltrated the audience, and they boo, hiss, and throw refuse at your attempts to learn what courage is. They demand you rehearse the scene again and again, and laugh as they tell you that you’ll never get it right.

Not when it counts—in the real world.

Logic cannot save you because you are also an emotional creature. They convince you that in their presence, you are weak, ineffective, and a failure. Fear is your kryptonite—the one element of the universe that you cannot overcome and that saps you of life.

BUT.

(And yes, that is a big but.)

Fears may seem omnipresent and omnipotent, always lurking in the corners of your life and exerting powers you cannot overcome, but they are not omniscient.

  • Fear does not know that because God made you an emotional creature, it is just one of the many emotions you are capable of experiencing. It is not the greatest or most powerful and can be trumped by faith, hope, love, kindness, perseverance, self-control, and so many more.
  • Fear does not know that you can break the fourth wall in the theatre of your mind, allowing you, the hero, to confront the audience members who are ruining the experience for everyone else.
  • Fear does not know how to live in the light of truth.

So as you lie awake at night…

  • Remember what fear does not know.
  • Write down your worries and cares and place them far from the spot where you lay your head, knowing tomorrow’s light (and a night’s rest) will help you overcome challenges in ways that fear’s darkness never can.
  • Know that fear can make you stronger if you keep it in its proper place.
  • Pray, because though you may feel alone, you are not alone.

Yours truly,

A fellow seeker of light who often lies awake at night.

Photo Credit: greyerbaby at MorgueFile

A Letter to the Perfectionist Who Can’t Finish Anything

A Letter to the Perfectionist Who Can’t Finish Anything

I know you want to get things right.

You want every jot and tittle to be checked and triple-checked. You want your work and your character to be above reproach and criticism. You want everyone to like what you do and to find no fault with it. You want to walk that narrow line that hovers over the deathly pits of imperfection, like a tightrope walker balancing for her life, above the whirlpool of endless details on one side and the lion’s cage of critics on the other with no safety net in sight.

  • It is laudable that you want to do well.
  • It is good that you have integrity and responsibility.
  • And it is not a weakness to have an eye for detail and editing prowess.

But when you have boldly started your walk across the imperfection zone only to become paralyzed in the middle, then, oh then, these are such weaknesses because you have only one choice with two outcomes—you fall.

  • If you fall to your right, you are drowned in details.
  • If you fall to your left,  you are torn apart by critics—the worst of which is, of course, yourself.

If you cannot move backwards or forwards, falling is your only choice, and by doing that you fulfill your worst fear—you are not perfect because you cannot finish the job put before you.

So the next time you find yourself frozen in the middle of a tightrope, do not look right or your fear of drowning in detail will swallow you. Do not look left or your fear of being torn apart by critics will ruin you. Only look ahead to your goal and find one small thing that you can do. Blink your eyes. Shift your weight. Maintain your balance. Refocus on your destination.

And when you can, slide one toe forward—toward your goal. Your foot, miraculously, will follow.

And then do it again.

And again.

And again.

You may wobble.

You may backpedal.

You may let out a scream of fear from time to time.

But keep your eye on the goal at the other side of the abyss and move toward it.

The walk may not be perfect. The end result may be messy. You will, however, be heading in the right direction. Though this will not impress the whole crowd—or maybe not any of it if they have grown bored and all gone home—you will find you are not at an end but the beginning of another opportunity to walk again, now knowing that you can go on despite being a perfectly imperfect perfectionist.

Yours truly,

A Recovering Perfectionist

 

P.S. Remember, just follow your toe. It knows where to go.

P.S.S. If you find any mistakes in this post, know they were included intentionally.

Updated

P.S.S. I couldn’t take it. I fixed some of the mistakes.