When I was just a young child, my mother taught me a very valuable lesson... one I carry with me to this very day. The lesson related to a common childhood occurance... fear.
One night, I had a bad dream. I'm not sure what the dream was about, but... even today, I remember it made me feel bad. I recall my mother coming into my bedroom, sitting on the edge of my bed and trying to reassure me that "everything's all right" and I could go back to bed. I was having none of it! Whatever I dreamt about scared me enough that I certainly didn't want to go back to sleep.
So, as most moms have to do at some point in their children's lives, my mom had to get creative. She had to come up with something that not only validated my fear, but also reassured me I had nothing to worry about... so I could go back to sleep.
This is when mom came up with the idea. She said, "Think of something that makes you happy, or makes you laugh... maybe, something silly." I came up with the idea of an elephant. Then, being that my favorite color was pink, I wanted my elephant to be pink, too! Then, mom suggested thinking about my elephant doing stuff I enjoyed... like dancing, playing, swimming, etc. My elephant did it all! She danced, she played, she swam, she could do sports and everything else I imagined she could do. The one thing she couldn't do was be afraid.
So... from that night on, every time I was scared or nervous, I simply imagined my pink elephant. When I was young, she did things young children did... stuff I did. Then, as I grew older, she grew with me. If I had something in school (a test, an audition, etc.) I was apprehensive about, along came the pink elephant... dancing and playing and frolicking about! No matter what, she was never afraid. She was the type of "girl" I wanted to be... strong, happy, healthy, bold, carefree, and brave!
Believe it or not, sometimes, I still conjure up my friend, the pink elephant. When I'm sad, depressed, scared or annoyed... she can always make me smile! Isn't that what life's all about... getting through the tough times, the sadness, the hurt and even the good times, with a smile? If we could all have our own, pink elephant, wouldn't that be great?!
I look back at that little girl, so long ago, whose mother taught her how to confront those fears, and know, that... she did me so much more than a favor, or teaching me a lesson. She gave me tools I needed for a lifetime, and... for that... I'm truly grateful!
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