My son is six. He often wakes with nightmares and doesn't like it if his room is too dark. He imagines the monsters under his bed and believes that they are getting ready to pounce when Mummy and Daddy are gone. It is a story he is making up in his head but it feels very real and creates the feeling of fear.
As adults, we also make up stories and we too feel the fear and anxiety that goes with those stories. What are your monsters? What are the stories you are telling yourself that are leading you to feel afraid or anxious or are holding you back?
For years one of my fears or phobias was around ironing. I was terrified of going near an iron - let alone using one to de-wrinkle shirts or sheets. I knew where this story came from. When I was four I picked up an iron off the floor with my hand and burnt it. All my adult life I have managed to avoid doing the ironing and thanks to some very kind people who have helped me or enabled me - I have got by.
But yesterday I had a breakthrough. The ironing needed doing and there was no one to help. I decided to challenge my story, be bold and face the fear. I got out the ironing board and ironed my way through 6 sheets, 2 shirts and a few pillowcases. It certainly wasn't the best ironing I have ever seen but I did it!
We all make up stories and it can be tempting to live in the reality of them but we don't have to. We can realise they are just stories - just shadows that we are making up to be something else - and we can choose to take action and move forward anyway. As we choose to act, we are likely to find that that our fear comes from our thinking and not from the activity itself.
What story are you making up this week that is causing you anxiety? Is it really true? Would other people feel the same way if faced with the same situation or are you seeing monsters where there are only shadows? What one step could you take this week to move through the fear and embrace the situation? Take a step - be bold and be brave. You might just find that the monster you imagine - doesn't really exist.