Were you afraid of monsters when you were little? I was. I remember when I was a kid – I was scared to death of the monster under my bed. Actually, there was one that lived under my bed, one in my closet…I’m pretty sure there was one in the attic. We also had a basement and I know for a fact there were some pretty awful creatures down there too.
I remember the feeling – the hair standing up on the back of my neck…like they were right behind me, waiting to devour me at any moment. I remember that empty feeling in the pit of my stomach when I turned out the light and knew I had five steps until I was safely in my bed…five terrorizing steps (it was actually seven steps, but I jumped after the fifth and landed safely on the bed…monsters can be out-smarted you know…).
And for some reason, if I pulled the covers up close to my chin, then I was safe…they couldn’t get me. But if I had to get up in the middle of the night?…well, that was pretty terrible. Because then I had to dangle my foot over the side of the bed in order to get down and I knew at some point the needle-like teeth in the maw of the beast under my bed would close on my ankle and then drag me under.
I was little – I had a child’s mind – and the monsters seemed real. Did you ever have those silly fears when you were young? I just wonder sometimes what other kids dealt with in the playground of their subconscious minds. What did your monsters look like and where did they live?
Of course they weren’t real though. We grew up. We became adults. And the scaly beasts that once lived under our beds disintegrated into apparitions of an overactive imagination. We walk to our beds at night without the fear of being dragged under by some monster. We know there are no creatures in our closets, or attics, or in our basements. They simply don’t exist.
But then something terrible happens – far worse than breaking out into goose flesh over the thought of being consumed by some dark thing. The monsters of your childhood are replaced with adult-like creatures…and this time, they are real. They cause us tremendous anxiety and dread and fill us with complete and utter fear. The monsters of our adult years terrorize us with their convincing stories of what they’ll do to us should they catch us. And they appear in many forms.
We walk through each day, surrounded by people, shoulder to shoulder on the train, sharing a cubicle, chatting at a coffee shop…and yet feel completely and utterly alone. Loneliness snarls at us from the closet in our minds…daring us to dream of connecting to others at a deep level while taunting us with the message that we are unworthy of such relationships.
Bills pile up. The retirement account isn’t as fat as you’d hoped it would look at this point in your life. Savings start to dry up and you wonder what you are going to do if you run out of money. The beast known as lack growls convincingly from some dark corner of your home…laughing mockingly…filling you with the fear that you’ll never have enough. And so you don’t even begin to think of ways to create more income or cut costs…because you don’t believe there is an answer to your situation anyway.
Then there is the toothy chimera that haunts you at mealtimes. It soothingly reminds you that you don’t have time to eat healthy meals. That nutritious foods don’t taste good. That you don’t have time to go to the gym…you should sleep in. You’ll never have the physique you want anyway…so why go through all the trouble? Have another candy bar friend – that’ll make you feel better. Except that it doesn’t. But you do it anyway because the lies this creature tells are so convincing…the stories feel true.
Then there is the all-encompassing monster – the leviathan that ensnares you in its coils and refuses to let you go. You feel its crushing strength and give in. What’s the point in fighting it anyway? As it constricts, its stories feel more and more grounded in reality, more and more unchangeable. You suck. You aren’t good enough. You don’t have what it takes. No one could ever love you. Keep your dreams to yourself…you’ll never accomplish them anyway. Abandon hope…hope is for children. Submit…give-in…give up…you have no control over your life. And so go the stories…and this monstrosity drags so many unsuspecting people into its lair…and there they go to die a slow, slow death.
These are the monsters we face as adults. These are the creatures we feel breathing down the back of our necks…causing us to break out in cold sweats and spiral into fits of panic and anxiety. These monsters ARE real.
Or are they?
They feel real…but are they really there?
These things – these beasts of our adulthood – are just as made up…just as ‘in your head’ as the monsters from your childhood. These things have just as much real power over you as the monsters of your childhood possessed. The fact is they only have as much power as you give them…and exercise as much control over your life as you allow.
The truth is that you have power – far more power than you realize. Because at some point, someone planted the seed in your mind that you aren’t good enough…that you don’t deserve to live an amazing life…that you don’t have what it takes to be who you want to be. And then you accepted these stories others told about you as the objective reality of you.
I say reject that…all of it. YOU have the power and authority to author your own life and the only power that the monsters who dwell in your mind have over you right now is the power that you allow them to have.
You can choose to continue to believe these false stories about yourself and cower under the metaphorical blankets of your life…shivering and shaking…hoping that you’ll never have to confront the scary creature who hides under your bed of your mind.
Or you can choose to tremble one last time and slip out from under your covers, place your naked foot vulnerably on the floor. And then lie down and look under the bed and come face to face with your greatest nightmares…and confront the tooth bearing beast itself. It will try to convince you of how right it is…and how unworthy you are…how poor you are…how out of shape, unlovable, how worthless.
And in that moment, if you decide it, you can reach over and take the thing by its neck and clamp down with all your power. It will fight and you can hang on…clenching, twisting…decisively and once for all you can take the thing out and conquer it, and then send it slithering back into the shadows from which it was born and banish it from your life forever. YES – friend – you have that power.
It will be frightening, I can guarantee it. AND you also have what it takes to get the job done if you decide it.
It isn’t easy to do what I’m suggesting, fighting rarely is. But to me it is far harder to go through life being afraid, feeling like you are less than other people and that you don’t deserve the live the life that you desire. That is a horrible way to live – I’ve been there – and so I changed it. And I know a lot of other people who have been there as well and they made the necessary changes as well. They confronted the monsters under their bed, stood up to them, had the fight, and sent the beast away. You can too. And it’s worth it, and you are worth it.
There are no simple steps to doing it…like I said, it’s hard. Otherwise, everyone would walk around happy and living the life of their dreams. So you have to fight for it, you have to dig in and stand up for yourself (typically, the biggest bullies you’ll face are the negative voices and stories you tell yourself). The good news is that you have both the power and freedom to choose the life you want to have and then go do whatever it takes to get there. But you have to have the fight first. So, while there is no formula that makes it easy, here is the process that I follow when confronting my own fears and negative internal messages…here is what I do to defeat the monsters under my metaphorical bed:
- Focus on the fact that you have control over your life. You get to decide what you believe about yourself. You get to decide how you behave, how you react to situations, and how you respond to things that happen to you. Focus on this fact each and every day…and then reject messages that would try to convince you that you are weak and have little to no control over your life.
- Refuse to be a victim or martyr. When you start to feel sorry for yourself, remind yourself that it is an ineffective way to live. You’re either powerful or you aren’t…and playing the victim because your life isn’t going the way you want it to go isn’t going to help you. So own your life, accept your power, and figure out ways to make your life into what you want.
- Some days you’ll be better at it than others, but do it, because it is effective. If you are familiar with the Your Life Unleashed website, then use our NEUROWAVE system to reinforce the empowered images you have of yourself. Solidify your self-concept as a strong, self-possessed, focused and confident person. After your meditation sessions…you’ll be mentally prepared to go out into the world and behave in ways that are congruent with the image you have of yourself.
- Finally, remind yourself daily of what you did well…of where you are strong…of what amazing things you accomplished during the day. Pat yourself on the back and become your own best cheerleader. This keeps you prepared for any creatures who may be lurking nearby. You’ll always ready for a fight…and you’ll be ready to take those suckers out.
You can do it. It just takes a decision and some practice. You are far more powerful than you know. And one of the cool super powers you do have is the power to create your own life…just as you want it. At a minimum, you can create an inner life where you love yourself…where you are confident in who you are and where you become intentional about your place in the world. You can have inner peace and in finding that…it is very likely that you’ll have the inner strength, focus, and vision to build your external life to your dream’s specifications. But it all starts with a decision to live an amazing life…free of all the dusty, ancient limiting beliefs about yourself.
I invite you to engage in the struggle…to conquer the monsters under your bed and then sleep easy at night. Go out and have an amazing day tomorrow. Be awesome – I believe in you.
P.S. If you feel brave enough, I’d be honored to hear what you struggle with. We all have some monsters lurking about in our minds, and it might just help to leave a comment and let others know they aren’t alone. Also, let me know what you are doing, or have done, to conquer those old messages that hold you back.