Category Archives: Daily fears

Articles on daily fears

saying yes more

How saying more YES creates Joy!

Every Thursday I have my Mama Day, and today it was my Thursday with my lovely kids Noam (boy almost 4) and Misha (girl, 2). Although after several hours of being a lovely mindful parent to my lovely kids, the loveliness started to fade and turned into annoying children and annoying mom. You know the moment when you feel the kids are either hungry or tired and they are all over the place while wearing invisible headphones with loud techno music on?

Same goes for me. I start feeling more tired and uncontrollable and my tolerance level goes from 7/8 (on a good day) to let’s be honest 2 maybe 2.5. And today that happened around 11am. You see, while I was having my 1 minute toilet break these two monkeys started taking all the plates from the kitchen cabinet (luckily most of them were plastic) and putting them in the hallway on the floor. As you can imagine, after seeing everything spread all over the floor, my first instinct was to say (or shout), ‘What are you doing??? The plates will get dirty and we have to clean all of them! Why didn’t you ask me if this was ok’!

 Luckily, before the fear voice broke her silence I caught myself and asked, ‘So what’s the problem here? Aren’t they just being super creative’? So, I managed to twist the fear into an opportunity to create a Kitchen game. I took away the few breakable items they took and the game started. Both of them wore a Chef’s hat that we created by putting a diaper on their heads and towels all around; turning the two lovely monkeys into incredible creative and funny looking chefs. We played our chef game for an hour and the restaurant guest (me), who was extremely hungry and just wanted to have all the meals possible, would overeat but then suddenly get hungry again…and again…and again. It was really fun! 

When I look back on this moment, I realise how often I say NO to Yes moments. In saying NO I’m not only disconnecting with my kids, because a No is never nice to say, but equally important I’m missing out on a spontaneous and creative moment with my kids.

Especially when a person is tired or hungry it is so easy to go into automatic pilot, and I realized that often when I am on this automatic pilot, a NO is just an automatic reaction. I don’t have to think much or do anything complex if the answer is NO. But actually, a NO is doing the opposite, because you spend time explaining to your kids why you said NO. You have to deal with opposition from you kids, and eventually, deep down inside you are not being particularly proud of all the NO’s you throw out there because let’s face it, it’s not really something that brings your kids closer to you. I also believe that this does not only apply to kids. This definitely applies to many areas and relationships. It applies to all people in general. 

I would like to encourage you to pay attention to your NO’s, and see whether you can become more mindful when you throw them out there, does it really have to be a NO or can you use the NO-situation to create a fun and creative activity?

School

Mom, I don’t want to go to school!

Today I feel like a super clever detective that linked two seemingly ‘unrelated’ things together! And guess what, it all started with a fear! While I was talking with my son Noam about him almost going to school and how exciting this will be, he said, ‘But I don’t want to go to school mam’. ‘Oh, really’? I answered. ‘But Noam, can you tell me why’? He replied: ‘Because there will be bigger kids and I don’t like bigger kids’. Well, my first instinct was to tell him that there will not be bigger kids, but kids of his age. So I said exactly that. I also said that it’s ok to be afraid and that it’s something new that he will have to go through. And I saw him feeling slightly better.

However, right on cue, the worry voice started. ‘OMG, what if he hates school? What if he comes home every day with tears in his eyes? What if he will get teased? He will cry everyday’? Detecting fear my calm Zen voice said, ‘HOHOH! How do you know that this will happen? Remember you cannot control the future? You can worry now and drive yourself slightly crazy, but at the end of the day, you are not in control of the future’! So, I recognised the fear and let it pass like a cloud. But then something else happened that brought this fear to a new dimension. A deeper dimension.

While I was biking to a client, I passed by a school and I saw all these kids running around. Some kids were in a circle listening to the teacher, while others were playing alone. This triggered something in me, and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking, ‘Omg this looks awful. They are totally being controlled by the teachers’. You see, I actually thought school is a horrible place and that Noam will totally be controlled or teased once he goes to school! And then magic happened! I realized that the fear for school doesn’t only come from my son, it is actually in me! I fear school too!

Then I remembered that every time I pass by a primary school I have this knot in my stomach. You know the one that just doesn’t feel right. I’ve never really given it power or thought before…until today. I must admit I had a challenging time in primary school. I moved to the Netherlands when I was 8. The upheaval of moving countries and schools was a very difficult time for me.  I’m convinced that my underlying fears and experiences for the primary school were causing these negative thoughts.

I then began to think. ‘What if I am actually, unconsciously passing my own fears on to my son? Projecting this fear onto him through my unconscious reaction to this topic? Could this be? Wow, this fear goes deeper than I thought’! So, I decided to confront this fear not just for myself but also for my son. And I will tell you how I did it.

How do you deal with a deeper fear?

So, the very same day, after meeting up with my client, I cycled by the same school I saw earlier that day and I stopped. I sat down and just watched the kids play. I remember thinking that luckily, I am not a man, so people won’t think I am some kind of pedophile watching kids. Which is actually a horrible thought, I know. But that’s a topic for another blog. 🙂

While sitting there I did a short breathing meditation; just following my breath, calming and focusing my mind on what I was about to do. After that, I looked at the kids and observed them. I observed them having fun, running, shouting, and playing. I also observed somewhat sadder kids. Or the ones that were playing alone. And thought, to myself that it’s ok. Maybe they don’t like school, but there will be a moment in their lives when they will realize that this moment maybe made them stronger human beings. Maybe it will make them more empathetic to others that are sad because they are able to recognise this feeling. I hoped that when they went home that loving parents were waiting for them and could listen to their stories. I also thought that maybe they are not sad, but just have a sad expression on their faces and that I am just seeing what I want or expect to see? 

And then I turned towards my inner child, The 10-year-old me. And I wrote down all the good moments I remember during primary school. The great activities we did, like camping in the wild, the amazing friends I had that were all from different nationalities and taught me all about different cultures, made me totally open to other religions, and made me curious to travel to other countries. My first kiss happened in primary school, and that was very scary but also a special moment.

And then I also wanted to confront the negative memories: like my scary and strict teacher who caught me borrowing (she called it stealing) a book with all the answers to a test. And how she punished me by writing I shouldn’t be stealing 100 times on the blackboard. I remembered the bully in the class that was in love with my sister, but the bully thought that he will get her attention by being mean to her. So, I had to step in and fight for her, as I was always the stronger and the more aggressive one. I remember all the heartbreaks that came with being a young teenager. I remember how, together with a friend, I made the final test which would determine which level of secondary school we would go to. This was totally forbidden but we did not get caught and I am sure because of this I had a higher score. I also remembered feeling different from the Dutch kids because of my Belarusian background and my very Russian last name Cheriakova. I so longed to be considered a Dutch kid.

So, I wrote these not so good memories down and just sat there and realized that all the good and the bad memories I had all in some way made me who I am today: a resourceful, creative and strong person. And I would really want my son to create his own good and bad memories of primary school because I cannot control his future, and it doesn’t help to worry about it either.  But most of all, I know that I will be there for him to support him with whatever bad or good memories he comes home with. 

The big lesson here is that some fears carry a bigger message, and you can spot them by simply being aware, and paying attention whether it is something that comes back now and then. Just like our Eckhart says, ‘Anything that you resent and strongly react to, in another is also in you’. For me, this was my son’s reaction to school. And I noticed that this was definitely in me! It was my own fear of school that I reacted to whenever my son talks about school. And only when I deal with my own demons from the past, I will be able to deal with his fears in a healthy way.

I would like to encourage you to pay attention to your own recurring fears. What is it that you react strongly to? Is it a person or something like being alone, pirates, people being arrogant or maybe it is shopping? Everything you react strongly to means that there is something behind it, something that might have happened in your past that is causing this strong reaction. Be mindful of that, as I truly believe that if you spot the fear and face it, you will be able to rise, grow, and be a kinder person to yourself and others. Good luck with it and enjoy it, as this means you are working on yourself and growing!

garlic soup

Fear of the garlic soup.

My husband decided to make pumpkin soup. While we (me and the kids) were eagerly waiting for the soup to be ready, we heard my husband shouting from the kitchen. ‘AAH SHIT!  I’m afraid I put too much garlic in the soup’. The smell that was wafting from the kitchen smelled nothing like pumpkin soup just a very strong garlic aroma. This doesn’t sound like a major problem, right?

Well, my mind would disagree. ‘OMG, he is terrible at cooking. I will just have to make it myself next time’. The voice continued, ‘Now the kids will have stomach issues and we won’t sleep because Misha (our youngest daughter sometimes has tummy troubles) will wake up 6 times in the night and it will be a horrible day tomorrow’!

WOWOWOW, fear voice you need to step down.

Once I was able to quiet all that noise I thought about what Eckhart Tolle says about the future and how we can’t control it so why worry about it. Worrying won’t change the future, so why worry?  So yes, why should I worry about the garlic soup that might or might not cause Misha to have stomach pain in the night?

So I let go. I played nicely with the kids until the soup was ready and we ate our garlic soup…which wasn’t even that bad (it wasn’t good either). And guess what, Misha didn’t wake up in the night! What a delight it is to be in the now and not in the future. What a change in perspective it is to be able to be aware of my thoughts, so they won’t control my present moments.

So how do you deal with fear?

Well first, you have to be aware of the negative thoughts. That is already a big challenge believe me! What helps me a lot next to meditation, is to believe and remember that we are not what we think, we are the awareness behind the thinking. This means that we are able to be aware of our thoughts, but only when we realize that our thoughts are not who we are.

Once you’ve recognised your negative thought (congrats) you enter level two: you can choose to accept the situation or change the situation. In my case, I decided to accept the fear and by this, I mean I recognised the fear but didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t change the situation. I could have for example made a new soup. But, I let it pass and just enjoyed the moment, celebrating my own little victory on my fear of garlic soup!

I truly believe that we all are capable of being more aware of our negative thoughts, which will empower us to say, ‘Hey Mister Fear, I see you but I choose to not take you serious’! Imagine what this can do in our daily lives, for our relationships with other people, and to our entire environment!

fear of forgetting fears

Fear of forgetting my fears.

This morning I had an amazing fear. Unfortunately, I forgot it as quickly as it came and that caused a lot of frustration. I started to blame myself, ‘Why did I forget to write it down. You should know better. If you don’t write it down immediately you will forget it’!

But then I thought, ‘But wait, this is exactly something I never considered was a worry or fear and here I am worrying about it’? This worry was in the past and it’s something I can’t control because it already happened. The only thing I can do is to not I let it capture me in this moment. So, I accepted it, thought of what I would say to a friend who would have forgotten something, and told myself that this happens to the best of us, that I need to trust myself that either it will come back to me or another fear will soon appear.

I laughed and started to sing that song,  ‘Have a little faith in meeeee, have a little faith in meeee.  And while John Hiatt sang to some girl to have faith in him, I think all of us can sing this to ourselves, that we should have a little faith in me, in ourselves! This totally helped me to relax, laugh even more, and trust myself!

So maybe you can also use a song when you fear something to help you relax or to laugh about your worries or fears or whenever or whatever negative thoughts appear?

rain will get us wet

Beeeh rain will get us all wet!

You might recognise this situation. You made a plan to go somewhere and then it’s pouring outside and all these voices in your head are telling you: ‘Nooo don’t go out there, beeeh, you will get wet’! Looking out the window my fears crept in. In 20 minutes, I was meant to leave for my mother’s house with the kids. ‘You will get totally soaked. The kids will get sick’. That inner voice was trying to convince me that while biking to my mom’s house all these bad things were going to happen…just because it was raining. Luckily my fear alert went on and then I thought of ways to flip these fears around.

What positive benefits could cycling through the rain possibly have, I thought. Well, the first one is that I teach my kids that rain is not as bad as it looks. This is one value I really want to pass on to my kids: there is no such thing as bad weather only bad clothing! I believe this experience of biking through the rain may teach them that rain, clouds, wind, and storms are as much fun as sunshine. I then thought about how much my mom would appreciate us coming to see her and seeing the kids. And then thought about how I must lead by example. If I had chosen to stay home after telling the kids we would go and visit grandma, they would see that mom is actually afraid of rain. So, I visualised our bike trip, all of us soaking wet but singing songs about the rain in the rain. And this was the best kick in the ass I needed to get the boots on and cycle to my mom’s. Because you know what, mommy is not afraid of the rain because mommy is a badass!

Once we were outside I told the kids to find the nicest puddle and jump in it! They did, 20 times. Eat that negative voice! Their happy faces were all I needed to see to confirm that what I am doing is the right thing. We then got on the bike and sang songs, just like I imagined. And we all arrived at my mom’s place safe and very happy….and yes, a little wet!

What do you do when it’s bad weather? Do you go out no matter what? Or does it stop you from doing things you want or planned to do? Just be mindful next time about your thoughts on this, and perhaps you can challenge yourself to see bad weather as an excellent opportunity to jump in a puddle!

Cars in traffic

Fuck these stupid cars!

Today after bringing my daughter to daycare I was biking home. And then suddenly at a crossing that I’m usually able to cross quite quickly there were so many cars that my automatic pilot went on and I realised that I was saying things like: ‘Fuck this, stupid cars, why now’? ‘Wow, wow, wow calm down’, I heard another voice say. ‘It’s not that bad’! I quickly picked myself up and flipped the negative voice and told myself to look around me. Look at the trees and the sky. Things I rarely take time to see. I also followed my breath for a little bit, as I was standing there, and then the unimpressed voice went: ‘Oh yes just breath in this ugly car exhaust, that’s healthy’. ‘Wow, wow, wow again! This negative voice is on a roll’!

So, I sort of ignored it and actually laughed about it, because isn’t it funny how this negative voice in my head is trying to get me in a bad mood? Maybe it has good intentions like trying to get me home as quickly as possible and the cars and traffic are obviously in its way. For a big part of my life this negative voice was quite prominent. So much so that it was indistinguishable from my normal internal voice. But now I do notice it, and I believe it doesn’t serve me at all. So, I choose to laugh about it and let it pass. It is amazingly empowering to realise how everyone has a choice to either follow the negative thoughts and deal with its consequences like being stressed out OR to say, this is just a thought, I will let it pass. And then the trick is to be present, to enjoy the road, the traffic, the trees, the sky, your breath or the sounds. Use these beautiful senses of ours to just be in the now. I will try to use the traffic as a way to be in the now, this will be my challenge, every time I get into a traffic jam, or stop for a red light, wait for a bridge to open or to close, I will look up, see the sky, and take a couple of good deep breaths, and just try to be in the now. Are you with me?

I don't feel like talking to her

I don’t feel like talking to her.

 

Today I didn’t want to talk to a person that I worked with and that I actually wanted to involve in a project of mine. I messaged her a week ago asking to discuss this project but then I somehow told myself, ‘I don’t feel like it, it’s going to be a negative talk and I would rather postpone it to some other day’. And there it was! Bam!!! Me being aware of this negativity self-talk! YOOHOO! So basically, I asked myself WHY. Why am I afraid to talk to her? And there it was. I had a fear that this person might judge me because I hadn’t contacted her for a while. That she might tell me to fuck off with my ideas and plans and that she wouldn’t help me.

But then I decided to challenge myself and call her ASAP. This is what happened: she picked up and we had a good conversation, she did tell me that she was a bit worried that I hadn’t called in a while, but also happy I did. I gave her my sincere apologies and we discussed a project I wanted her to be involved in and she agreed.

These are for me the moments when my fear can spiral and create more negativity. Taking this example; I could have believed this fear and insecurity, and I could have avoided her, believing that she didn’t want to work with me anymore. Moreover, this might have turned into me not daring to contact her at all, and I would have had to miss out on a great person in my life because I followed my fear. So, whenever you feel something negative towards another person, or you catch yourself making up excuses why not to contact someone, just think about it a bit deeper and asking yourself why you are doing it? Try not to fool yourself with the answer, because at the end of the day you only grow when you are honest with yourself and your thoughts. Is it a fear or an insecurity talking? Maybe think of the worst thing that could happen to you if you did what you are afraid to do?

 

My son will be so unhappy!

I caught myself today in a long dialogue with myself in my head. Two voices were the main characters: one called ‘Guilty’ and the other one ‘Give me a break’. And they were discussing the topic of my son Noam going to his grandma’s in Switzerland for 7 nights. Both my husband and I have fears about the trip. It’s a long time for him to be away from home. My Guilty voice fears that, ‘This will cause Noam to have attachment issues forever as you are abandoning him and he will hate you forever, you bad mom’. Then the ‘Give me a break’ voice answers back by saying, ‘He will have a great time at grandma’s, dont listen to this crazio! And what about ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’? Followed quickly by Guilty, So you want to traumatize your son so much that it will nearly kill him? How dare you, bad bad mom’! Good thing I caught this one before it got too far along because potentially it would make me feel bad for days, maybe weeks. So I thought about it and the important lesson Eckhart Tolle voiced, ‘You have no idea what the future looks like, so stop worrying’. It makes sense right? I can of course worry about whether my son will have an awful time at grandma’s and miss us so much that he will be completely traumatised, but will this really happen? Will it?  To be honest, I have no idea. It could happen but I have no control over it. So why am I worrying about it? Once I understood this I had two choices: I could either cancel the trip or prepare my son for the trip as much as possible. I decided to push Guilty to the side and prepare my son for this trip by explaining to him that it will be 7 nights, we can even make a small calendar so he will feel more empowered. I will also record some bedtime stories, so his grandma can play them and he will have my voice in the evening hopefully making him feel a bit closer to home. And yes…this also makes me feel much better! So Guilty…park it! Masha is driving this bus pretty damn well.

So, whenever you hear the guilty voice in your head, try to make a choice: accept it or take action…or both! This will give you a chance to not let yourself be controlled by negative thoughts and take action.

No one will read this blog!

No one will read this blog!

So today a thought came into my head telling me that this blog will never be read by anyone. My low self worth voice echoed something like, ‘All the work I am putting into this blog is just for nothing. That no one will understand a word I am writing because my writing style is too complicated. And that the handful of people that will read the blog will think that I am an insanely negative and dark human being’. All these fears just entered, and I caught them! And I even laughed at them. Because this is exactly a great example of how fear thoughts can cause quite a lot of damage. For example, me pausing this project or even worse stop writing altogether. So instead of giving in, I decided to challenge myself and I bought a domain name: Onefearaday.com and started to slowly put the blogs I have been writing on it. This was quite challenging to figure out how all these things work, but luckily my husband is an undercover IT wannabe and he helped me to make sure that the first version of my blog looked somewhat decent.

I am now trying to focus on what impact the blog could have on you, and how it also nudges me to be aware of my negative thoughts and fears, so I will be able to share them with you and we all benefit!

time for myself

I am a bad mom if I don’t spend the entire weekend with my kids.

Today I really needed time for myself. It’s Sunday our weekend day, but my body is screaming give me a fucking break! I feel so heavy, physically and mentally heavy. So here is my big fear, how do I balance being there for my kids and husband and for myself? And the thoughts that came were, ‘I am a bad mom if I don’t spend the entire weekend with my kids. I want to be there with them, we don’t have that much time anyway. I can have another day off’. A year ago I wouldn’t even have considered that I had a choice, I would just be there with my husband and kids. Today, I see that I do have a choice, and it does come along with a fear of being a bad mom, of letting (maybe) my kids and my husband down when choosing myself.

So I asked my husband for a morning off. I asked whether I could just be with myself and he would take the kids. And he said of course (I have to add that he is leaving on Wednesday for a mountain bike trip for a week in Italy, so I guess that here was some wiggle room). However, it wasn’t that simple? While I am having this wonderful morning off where I meditate and write, I also started to wonder why do I need it now? And the answer came quite quickly; I’m just about to start my period. My body and mind want to prepare for this. If you would have told me about this cycles and menstruations thing a couple of years ago I would have laughed. I honestly believed that women used it as an excuse, to be chaotic, weird, or bad tempered. But now, I so believe that our bodies are telling us so much! And we just have to listen and act accordingly. My body told me, ‘I am really done with your active lifestyle, of you running around and taking care of others. I want you to be with me’.

And so I did. I meditated this morning for 30 minutes on a wonderful guided meditation on menstrual cycles, from Nic and Sam via Insight Timer. I am learning so much about my cycles, my moods, behaviours and my body cravings. Right now I am in the sorcerer cycles, pre menstruation, and this one is dark! And yes that’s how I feel! It is also erotic and sensual, also how I feel if I listen to it. Which I didn’t before. I actually really feel like having sex or orgasm. So I guess I have to act accordingly again, and surprise my husband.  I took action and listened to my body. I have given my husband quality time with the kids, time for them to connect and to create memories with the three of them. So with every fear comes a gift you give to yourself and others, a gift that you might have never thought of, but one that is surely there for you to be aware of!