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I recently read that what people really want is reassurance. We want to know that we are going to be okay. (I don’t know if that is true or not. It certainly has a truthy ring to it.)
There is a video that I think of when I hear the word “reassurance”. It is of a little girl trying to reassure her newly born baby sister and she is clearly mimicking what her mother has said to her when she was upset. She puts her face right up to the baby’s and says, “You okay, you okay, you okay, you okay, you okay.”
I like to watch it or recall it when I am upset, or tell my friends about it so we can use it to reassure one another.
Over the past year, I have started to recognize that everyone struggles with some level of fear and anxiety in their lives, even if they look like they don’t. I think when I was younger, I would have denied that fear was a big part of my life, but I can see now that fear would often stop me from doing things that I wanted to do. I would think to myself, “What will that person think?” or “What if I fail?” or “What if it’s just not good enough.” Or, I would just deny that I wanted to do the thing in the first place. All of this is rooted in fear.
When I was a child and I was upset about something, my mother would not try to solve my problems for me. She would say that if she had a magic button to make all my problems go away, she would press it for me, but she doesn’t. That used to frustrate me, because it sounded like this button should exist and it just made me mad that it didn’t, but I can see now that she was teaching me to live in reality and figure out how to solve my own problems.
When I look back at my life, what I see is that I have had all kinds of problems, some bigger, some smaller, but that I have figured out what to do about them, and that has brought me to this point. So, when I am upset and seeking reassurance about something, I just need to remember that I do have a track record of figuring things out, and so it is likely that I am also going to figure out whatever it is that is bothering me now. Or I am going to decide that I can’t figure it out and just give up. Either way, I’m going to be on the other side of whatever it is that I am experiencing soon.
This is, of course, cold comfort to me when I am in the throes of whatever situation I am in at the time, but the point is that I think I need to take things less seriously, and trust that whatever I am experiencing now is temporary, and that it will get better. Or at least, it will get different. And sometimes I will help the situation by trying to figure it out, and sometimes I will help the situation by NOT trying to figure it out.
This is another 12 minute essay. I feel very nervous publishing it, because I don’t think it is very good. I also had trouble getting myself to sit down and write today. Even though I was very much looking forward to doing the writing, when it came time to put my fingers to the keyboard, I kept waffling about what to write about, and would it be good enough, and would it say what I wanted it to say, etc., etc., etc. So, it is what it is, and I am sharing it even though I don’t really like it, and I don’t think it says what I want it to say. But the point of this exercise is to write for twelve minutes, edit once, then publish, and by doing so, I will get myself into the habit of writing, and have less fear about putting my creations out into the world. Not every session is going to meet my standards, and that is okay. (Pretty ironic that I feel the need to reassure myself about this. Maybe we do all just need reassurance.)