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Facing Your Fears

I was inspired by a little girl and her experience with a wood splinter.

Her and her family were here for a few hours, and it got rather late. I enjoyed chatting with the kids and showed them a night sky app that shows all the stars and constellations. They were amazed by how my phone knew where we were and that it could “see” through buildings. It was delightful chatting with the kids and playing around while the adults chatted and solved issues.

At one point, she got a splinter in the fleshy part of her hand near the crease of her thumb. She immediately went to her mom in tears and asked for help. Mom looked at the splinter, which was sticking out enough for someone to grab it and easily yank the offending wood out.

But the little girl didn’t want that. She wanted help. She wanted the pain to stop, and yet… she wouldn’t let her mom remove it.

Each time mom tried to simply look at the sliver, the little girl would cry and say she was scared. When we asked what she was afraid of, she couldn’t put anything into words and simply said, I’m just scared!

We tried everything. Talking her through her fear. Close your eyes and hide while we “look” at the offending issue. We tried popsicle bribery and holding the popsicle to numb the pain to make things easier. Nothing worked, and she continually hid her hand from anyone who might try to sneak in and yank it out.

I eventually offered to take her inside and see if I could use my tweezers and “charm” to help her allow me to remove it. Her mom agreed, and so off we went. 

As we walked, I asked her if she’d ever had a sliver before, and she said, “Yes.” I asked what she did about it, and she said it felt better after they took it out. So I asked if she thought this one would feel better after we took it out, and she acknowledged it would.

To me, it was simple, let’s get the darn thing out. To her, it was terrifying.

All of the logic in the world, knowing it would feel better, knowing she’d done it before, knowing the process and how quick it would be, she couldn’t get over the fear of having it pulled out.

At one point, I asked how strong she was. Her reply was an arm flex and a “Really strong.” I asked if she was stronger than her fear, and the response was a confident yes. Yet again, when I asked if we could hold onto the strength and look away while I removed the pain, she screamed and yelled, “I’m SCARED!!!”

By then, we had an audience. Everyone knew what was up and wanted a chance to convince her to take it out.

When they drove away, it was still stuck in her tiny hand, and her mom knew she could remove it while she was sleeping. MUCH easier, less traumatic, and still getting the same outcome.

A couple of things struck me in this interaction.

There were several adults around, and yet no one forced her to let us fix her pain. We allowed her to make her own choices. Even though we all knew she would be better off and could see the disconnect in her thinking, we followed her lead.

This warmed my heart for the adults and broke my heart for the little girl.

And the frustration, fear, and determination of this little four-year-old girl inspired me.

Have you ever had a problem that you took to someone else and asked for help? You tell or show them the issue and express your fears and emotions surrounding it. They ask questions to help you see it from different perspectives and help you find the flaws in your thinking, and yet you stay stubborn in the fear and belief it can’t be fixed.

Have there been times you would definitely benefit from someone else helping you conquer something, and yet you’ve stubbornly held to the belief you have to do it yourself?

She brought the sliver to light and then proceeded to hide it from sight.

Have you experienced something similar? Something comes to light that’s ugly and frustrating. As soon as you see it, you choose to hide it and push it away instead of facing it head-on and healing.

  • Childhood trauma
  • Adult relationships
  • Life experiences

Things will come up. You’ll feel some pain and instinctively know it will be better if you deal with it. Your heart or mind may come in with justifications as to why you should hold onto it and keep it close. 

And yet, you find that as soon as you choose to face it and heal it, you feel lighter and more able to move forward in life.

The next time something comes up, a splinter, so to speak, I hope you remember this little girl. Take a pause, and perhaps, instead of hiding and running away from the issue, you can face it head-on and remove it.


                                         with love,


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