by Gladys Diaz
This week is Autism Awareness Week. When we first learned of my son’s diagnosis, I was terrified. I didn’t know what it would mean for him or us, and I was afraid that there were things he wouldn’t be able to experience because it. We’ve spent the last four years doing everything we can to teach, help, and empower him to do everything he can to reach his highest potential. Time and time again, he’s managed to surprise and amaze us by overcoming challenges the books and “experts” say would be difficult for him.
This weekend, Nico will be achieving another huge milestone. He’s going on his first camping trip without me!
I’m not going to pretend that I’m perfectly “okay” with this. I’m afraid. He’ll be sleeping alone in a tent, outdoors, hours away, and I won’t be there to help him, speak up for him, or take care of any challenges that might come up.
I’ve had moments when I’ve broken down, I’ve been praying up a storm, and, this morning I ran two miles in his honor, just so that I could work some of the anxiety out of my body!
I’ve also been doing a lot of the fear exercises we teach our clients! (I practice what I teach!)
But Nico says he that wants to do this, and he wants to do it alone.
He looked me straight in the eye (a challenge for people with Asperger’s) and said, “Mama, I can handle this.”
So I’m standing in faith!
I’m trusting that God will watch over him and that the adult and Boy Scout leaders will watch out for and be there for him.
I’m trusting that he will be able to work through his challenges and ask for help, if he needs it.
And I’m trusting that, even when my fears come up this weekend, I will be able to work through them and get to the other side of fear: freedom!
How will I work through my fears? I’ll follow the same steps we teach our clients!
You can use these steps whenever you are facing a fear related to dating, your relationship, career, health, or any other area of your life!
Realize that fears are only imagined thoughts.
Although the fear and anxiety you experience when you’re afraid feels real at the time, the truth is that whatever you’re thinking about is not actually happening. It’s only the thought of what might happen that is causing you to worry.
If you can remind yourself that what you are afraid of is not actually happening in reality – right here and now – you can immediately suck some of the power out of that fear!
Remind yourself of what is actually happening.
Once you are able to see your fears as imagined thoughts, then you want to bring yourself to the present moment and to what is actually happening. Where are you sitting, who are you with, what is taking place around you?
Redirect your mind to focus on what is actually happening so that you can reinforce the thought that what you fear is just a thought and it’s not really happening.
Create an empowering thought to replace the fearful one.
Regardless of whether or not you believe it to be true, your thoughts are what create your reality. Rather than tormenting yourself with fearful thoughts that you are allowing to rob you of your peace and power, redirect your mind to more empowering thoughts.
Remind yourself of how strong, beautiful, and powerful you are. Remind yourself that you are capable, courageous, and confident.
You may be asking, “But how can I believe this if it’s not true?”
Well, consider that your imagined fear isn’t true, either, but you chose to believe that thought, so you can choose to believe your empowering thought instead!
The only reason our fears and doubts seem so real and powerful is because of all of the time and energy we have spent thinking them. If you want to have a different experience of yourself and your life, begin thinking different thoughts.
It make take some time and lots of repetition until these new empowering thoughts take root, but the more your practice saying them to yourself, the easier it will become to believe them. And, before you know it, they will begin to kick in the moment you begin to experience a fearful thought!
Now, that’s power!
So, when you read this article, if you have a moment, please send a positive thought or prayer Nico’s and my way! If you want to post it below, in the comments, I’ll make sure I show it to him before he leaves or when he gets back on Sunday!
And, the next time you begin to experience fear, remember Nico’s words, “I can handle this,” and work through the steps to move your thoughts from fear to faith to freedom!
Questions? Comments? Let us know below! We love hearing from you!
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