• Stephanie LaBonte


“We all die- the question is what we stood for while we lived.” -Mary, Queen of Scots, Reign

Each night, My daughter tells me that there are monsters in her room. I always reassure her, check it out and tell her she is fine and that there are no monsters. The truth however, is that it is a lie. There are monsters, and they are very real. Monsters are not overt, they are silent. You never know when they are coming. They can be hiding in people around us or in our own heads. Honestly, it’s ok to be afraid. Fear keeps us safe. Monsters are very much like this virus. Unknown entities that make us fearful, panicked and cause us to make decisions we normally would not. And the Monsters lie within us; shame, trauma, guilt, self-loathing, procrastination or perfectionism.

You always have a choice. A choice to let the fear paralyze and stop you from doing what you are here to do. To keep you safe, small, and comfortable. To keep telling yourself the lies that you are ‘doing fine’, ‘staying afloat’ or my favorite, ‘just ok’. Why do we let fear stop us? Simple, because it’s what we know. If we have to change who we are, will people still like us? Will we lose friends, relationships, jobs? Will we let people down? Will we take on too much responsibility and not be there for others as much as we are used to?

There are so many factors to consider. Women come to me because they lack confidence and they desire authentic connection and friendship. They think I can offer them some secret pill or elixir that will give them the confidence and the life they desire. It’s not that easy. Confidence is an emotion. When you are not in control of your emotions, they can betray you. They make you fearful, small and unable to take risks.

I once had a student who was so afraid of her emotions that she refused to go on a field trip because she was terrified she would have an anxiety attack just by getting on the bus. I gave her a pep talk, had her breathe and meditated on her desire to go. I also called in reinforcements. Her best friend, who walked with her to hand in the money and also took her to the counselor. She did it, she was uncomfortable and she cursed me for causing her to grow, but she came to me for a reason. She knew that I would not put up with her excuses, let her stay in her fear and would also know exactly the right thing to do. The thing is, I really did not do anything. It was all her. She was vulnerable and real. She broke down and broke through. I just listened, empathized and then helped her come up with the solution that worked best for her.

You can live your whole life without being confident. As Shakespeare once said, “Cowards die many times before their deaths, but the valiant live just once” (Julius Caesar). So it is up to you. Do you make the choice to reveal and heal all of the parts of you? To face your fears, even though they threaten to overwhelm you? To walk with your fear and meet other women who are also doing just that? Who are also vulnerable, courageous and taking action no matter what they are feeling? Facing themselves, accepting themselves and believing that are 100% worthy and enough. Women who believe in themselves so hard that their faith is unbreakable.

So, how do I get my daughter to sleep? I soothe her, sing to her a lullaby, give her a crystal, and then tell her what to dream of. I explained to her that the crystal is a container-like Tupperware- and it keeps all the bad thoughts inside of it. As I kiss her good night, I think that I just want to protect her a little while longer, keep her safe while I can, while Mama fights off the monsters. I know though, that she is a little warrior herself and she will be able to face the monsters, because I do. She has seen my example, and will be ready when she is called. After all, monsters do not go away until you are ready to battle them.

I call you to do the same. Access that inside of you. Know that you can be brave as well, because in your heart, you have the strength and courage of all the women who have gone before you. You are ready. And I am ready to face them with you.

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