As we celebrate the 238th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, I continue to think about what it means for us. Declaring our freedom takes courage. It takes strength. Guts. Conviction. Inspiration. Persistence. Hope. Faith.
The word “independence” is powerful, isn’t it? It has so many important meanings for us–especially for those of us managing food allergies.
Let’s Declare Our Freedom From Food Allergy Fears
Last year, in the spirit of freedible.com’s independence movement, I wrote one of my favorite posts about how my family declared its independence from food allergy fears. It was a powerful post for me. It had so many levels of meaning.
What my family and I did was start a tradition of writing down our fears on a piece of paper, reading them out loud, crumpling up the paper, and enthusiastically stomping on it! How great it felt! How empowering! How freeing!
Managing food allergies is a central part of my family’s life. There is no way around it.
A large part of managing food allergies brings up big, ever-present feelings of anxiety.
I have fears that my son will have a reaction; stress that I won’t be there or won’t recognize symptoms and react in time, worries that I’m not doing enough.
I know we have a plan that we follow for managing our food allergies. We’re doing everything we can. We’re educating ourselves and those around us. We’re spreading awareness. We’ve worked so very hard this past year to put comprehensive plans in place to stay safe in school.
But the fear is still there. So last year we decided to do something about it that was both meaningful and fun.
But Let’s Take It One More Step!
This year I want to take it one step further. I want our tradition to be even more meaningful–more concrete and lasting. While I definitely do want to physically and symbolically stomp out our fears (and can’t wait to do so!), I also want to move forward with an action plan for addressing and tackling those fears.
So this year we are looking at our biggest fear and writing three actions–three ways we plan to overcome the fear this year.
I recently read a book by Blythe Grossberg entitled Asperger’s Teens: Understanding High School for Students on the Autism Spectrum. The book was written for high school students with autism, but its lessons are really universal. They speak to all of us.
What really strikes a chord with me is Grossberg’s lesson on setting goals. She says goals “have to be SMART in nature.” Specifically, she offers the acronym:
Isn’t that a great way to think about our goals? Take a minute to really let her message sink in: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
How often do we worry about things that are out of our control while neglecting things that are within our control?
So over this Independence Day weekend, my family is thinking about how to overcome our fears with actions that are SMART. This way, we not only will get that “feel good” feeling by stomping out our fears symbolically, but we also will feel good knowing we have a realistic plan for ourselves.
As we food allergy mamas and papas all know, having a plan in place for all things important is the first step toward being prepared and safe.
So here’s to our independence! I hope you all enjoy a safe holiday with your loved ones, free from worry—at least for today.
How are you overcoming your food allergy fears this year? What is your plan? What steps are you taking? We’d love to hear from you! Visit freedible.com to learn more about this year’s campaign. Too, you can find Blythe Grossberg’s book, Asperger’s Teens: Understanding High School for Students on the Autism Spectrum, here: Shop at Amazon! (affiliate link)
Image provided by PaulL at www.shutterstock.com.