The Keys to Dealing with Fear
The first key to being able to overcome fear is to have a friendly, rather than antagonistic relationship with it. Fear is a universal negative emotion that we all face. It comes in a lot of varieties. We all have fear. It is part of being human. I think that perhaps future generations will have less fear than we have now, that motivation to change will be more based upon the attraction principle, but for now fear is an entrenched part of our lives. When you are friendly with a fear rather than at war with it, it is because you understand that on the other side of the fear is a great new energy ready to be unleashed in your life that will open new doors and accomplish new possibilities.
Some people mistakenly wear their fears as if they were one of their names. “Hello my name is Richard Claustrophobic Hastings.” When you wear a fear like a name, it means that you have taken it on as part of your character, and other people need to adjust to your fear. When you are friendly with your fears, they become like doors to new positive energy. When you are claustrophobic, it just means that you have a fear of closed in spaces. It is inviting you to develop the quality of more openness in your life, of being open to new things and new experiences. When you say you are claustrophobic rather than being friendly with it, then it is like you give over the responsibility for dealing with your fear to everyone else in the world.
Sometimes I work with young children in teaching them how to do rock climbing. A few will actually come up to me and say that they can’t climb because they are fearful of heights as if they are to be excused from the activities because of a genetic malfunction. My job, when I am a teacher of young children, is to get them to friendly with the shaking and trembling because I know that what they really want is to achieve new heights.
When you are friendly with the fear, it means that you have owned the feeling. It is yours, not for someone else. Since the majority of the world is either in denial or war with fear, it is usually treated very badly. For instance, parents who come to climbing and see that their children have a fear often try to talk their children out of their fear or belittle them for having the fear, but it doesn’t work and is not useful. So the important thing is to develop an environment within yourself of friendship which means that you can look at the fear non-judgmentally, not as a weakness or character flaw, but as a source of growth and development.
Most people in the modern world are fearful of what others think. They spend endless hours on how things look and their appearance because they are so fearful of being judged and then discarded. When you are war with this fear, you spend all of your time obsessing about how things look to others. In essence you give the fear over to the eyes of the judgmental public. Then they control your life. When you have a positive relationship with the fear, you understand that it is moving you to a higher state of being. It is the ability to look inside of yourself and into the world and find true beauty. The work inside is to deal with judgment. When judgment is your friend, then it will make it easier to find the true beauty. The difference between being at war with a fear and being friendly with it is in the tension. When you are at war with something, you are extremely tense as opposed to being very relaxed about it when you are friendly. Most cultures have it exactly backwards so if you find yourself wanting to fight the fear or being obsessed about getting rid of it, then you are pretty much like the entire human race.
The second key to dealing with fear is describing what you do as a result of the fear. Fear is pretty much a stopping energy. This means that its intention is to get you to stop moving in the direction of the new energy. For instance, I have had a lot of fear of negative outer authority in my life. The fear makes me stop doing my innovative change work and dream work by focusing all of my energy on the outer authority and then getting into fights with them. I get all kinds of tension related illness. When I develop my inner authority, then I relax and become extremely productive and energetic. You could be fearful of making mistakes because you are trying to live up to the expectations of someone else. This makes you stop being able to take risks or try new things. Instead you focus all of your energy on being perfect and doing what others want you to do. When you unleash risk taking as a virtue, you get much better results in the long term despite initial mistakes.
The third key to dealing with fear is understanding that most fear is irrational. It usually takes a singular occurrence of something and then generalizes it and blows it way out of proportion. This happens as a protective response so that whatever happened won’t happen again. For instance, one of the fearful experiences I have had is doing a canopy walk in a jungle where you cross a bridge over the top level of the trees. My mind tells me that I definitely going to die. My wife walks on the same canopy fearlessly. When this happens, it lets you know that there is a positive energy on the other side of irrationality waiting for us to embrace, but the fear is saying NO WAY in a huge voice. My mind sees that I am going to fall, finds all of the ways that I will fall, and is certain that the canopy bridge will not hold. When I am in this situation, I have to train my mind to be rational again. The way I got myself to go down a big water slide one time was to just keep repeating to my mind that no one was dying. After that it became very enjoyable. My mind can go irrational around negative authority as well. I get this irrational notion that what I say to them will actually make a difference, but when I try it, it always fails. When I bring my mind into a rational state, it realizes that trying to work with an administrator who has a great deal of fear or is overly ambitious is an impossible task.
If the third key, dealing with the irrational mind, is a mild fear, you can turn the fear around with rational talk, but long standing fears take a certain amount of skill to change. When you have been seriously violated like sexual abuse, for instance, it instantly creates long standing fears. What you were supposed to develop at the point of the abuse is stopped until the fear is released and the new energy finds its opening. If you try to deal with the feelings without the proper skills, what happens is that the fear can just be too overwhelming. It is best to go after help when dealing with long standing fear so that you can maintain daily functional behavior as the new energy is being developed. There are a lot of horrific things about the world that create a lot of fear.
If you have questions about a fear or would like to do some work with it, feel free to contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. We can set up some time on Skype to assist you with bringing out your new energy. My fees are very reasonable.
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