monster in closet

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
― Plato

Every child will, at some point, experience a version of the monster in the closet. Vague shadows that the imagination fills in with menacing detail.

The remedy for this situation is well known: turn on the lights and show that the shadows are actually clothes, hangers, furniture, etc.

This common childhood experience contains a vital life lesson that, properly attended, can significantly reduce suffering throughout adulthood:

Fear cannot survive details.

Any problem that has been consistent in your life, or feels particularly overwhelming, will resist scrutiny. Big problems anchor through generalities, “money’s just hard for me”, “I can’t find love”, “I can’t keep to a schedule”, are all versions of saying there’s something here I’m afraid to look at.

The more vague the statement, the more power it has over your life, creating a drag force feeling of “that’s just the way it is”.

Specific statements, on the other hand, speak to what’s actually going on and what’s needed, eliminating problems the same way turning on a light eliminates monsters.

“Money’s just hard for me” becomes “My expenses are currently more than my income. What is one small thing I can do right now to help increase my income? What small thing can I do right now to reduce my expenses? What outside resources (business classes, jobs, coaches, etc) will help me achieve the goal of making z amount every month?”

The more specific you are about an area of your life, the more power you have in that area. The more general you are, the more heavy and burdensome it will feel to you.

The trick to this is once the mind gets comfortable having a problem, it will be very reluctant to go into specifics about the actual situation.

Children don’t turn on the light to face the monsters themselves, they hide under the covers. It’s the same with adults, often despite our best intentions.

  • We might intellectualize. “Money is hard because my parents weren’t good with it, and I was never taught how to keep to a budget.”
  • We might rationalize. “I’ve tried to set a budget and stick to it, it never works. I’ve already read books and met with coaches, nothing helps.”
  • We might defend. “I don’t need to be good with money, I have all these other great talents. Leave money to the accountants, I’m an artist!”

Essentially, we fill in with detail the same way a child creates details of what the monster coming to eat him looks like.

A way to know if you’re actually turning on a light is if you are asking more questions about the situation than you are currently able to answer, and it feels uncomfortable. Difficult emotions come up, you might get irritated or feel pestered by the scrutiny, but eventually the power of awareness wins out.

There is a *click* and suddenly you’re great with money, and you get to implement a system for saving a certain amount each month. Or you’re great at relationships, and you get to improve your dating skills, etc.

As this video demonstrates, it is the confidence in details that makes us masterful. Every area of life is a canvas, how you paint on it is your art. Paint with as much specificity and awareness as possible, and it will become a masterpiece.

And yes, a reading with me can help explain the details of a difficult situation, so you understand what’s actually going on and your best steps forward.