When I was 3 years old, I was playing with my neighbor’s family dog Binky in the front yard, and he bit my hand. I can clearly remember how it happened that day, and how my parents rushed me to the clinic as I cried and cried from the pain and the sight of my own blood pouring from the back of my hand. I had to get several stitches, and till this day I have the scar on the back of my hand to remind me of that terrifying event. For many years after that I carried a deep fear for dogs, and while growing up my friends would laugh at my efforts to avoid dogs, and the lengths to which I would go to stay well away from them. The funny thing is that I love dogs, and I find them to be very interesting. But the incident with Binky stayed with me well into adulthood and prevented me from developing a healthy relationship with dogs.
Last year I finally decided to face my fear head on (which after all, is what I teach) and get a dog. After talking to many dog owners and reading lots of online literature about man’s best friend, I finally got a beautiful Boer bull mix that my wife and I named Bruno. From the day he entered our lives, Bruno turned everything upside down. Chinelo and I had to take turns to wake up at 4am to let him out of his cage for his morning ritual of no.1 and no.2 which I have to say, toilet training him was NOT EASY! Bruno grew very quickly, and had a lot of energy…and mischief. He liked to rip stuff apart and dig holes and eat shoes and slippers. But as he grew we loved him more and more and learned to put up with his naughty behavior. Unfortunately, two weeks ago Bruno was killed in a domestic accident and Chinelo and I were devastated. He had become a part of our lives, and losing him was like losing a member of the family. However I am grateful that after raising Bruno, there’s hardly a dog whose size or bark can strike fear into me again.
My relationship with Bruno makes me think about how we relate to certain aspects of our lives. Some of us are afraid to love because of some trauma or betrayal we suffered in the past; and many of us are afraid to put in our best at something because of some shameful failure or crushing defeat we have had to endure in our youth. The past can mean many things to us, but we must never let it prevent us from seizing the present and enjoying the future. The analogy I wish to make here is twofold: Binky represents a pain from my past that I allowed to deprive me of the pleasure of something for many years, and it was not until I decided to approach Binky (this time as Bruno) again, did I finally overcome that fear and pain. So to overcome our fear we must face down that thing which we fear before we can succeed. The second analogy is this: as any dog owner will tell you, having one is not easy. Bruno was a handful and I had to devote a lot of time and effort and resources to taking care of him and training him. Several times during training or play I got nipped by his sharp teeth, but that did not reduce my desire to own a dog and enjoy his company. My point is that even after we decide to face our fears, we still have to tough out the overcoming process before we can succeed. Many preachers and self-help gurus will not tell you that. Success in anything is a two stage process; facing the challenges, and sticking it out despite the difficulty.
So try to face what you fear today, and you will surely overcome and triumph over that fear. Open up your heart to love and trust again, and open up your mind to what is possible for you. Don’t live in the fear of the past, and don’t relent in your efforts to win victory. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a blessed week ahead. Check out my online store by clicking www.sasukeventures.com to order my books and arrange for a training session, or visit www.ifeanyiubawords.com to access more life affirming content online.
Finally, help me say “thank you” to Bruno, for teaching me how to overcome my fear. I still miss him so much.