Fear is an amazing feeling! It has significant power over our thoughts, feelings and actions. It takes on a “life of its own" and makes it appear as though we have lost the discerning power of choice in a situation. Fear can completely rule a person's life.
So . . . why is it so amazing, you might be asking?
It has been said that “The only we have to fear is fear itself. " This is quite true, for fear is of our own making. Then, it spreads like wildfire!
How does fear really work? First of all, each of us creates a thought. At this juncture, it is a neutral thought. After creating this thought, we then determine that we are afraid about this thought. So, now the emotion of fear is linked to the idea/thought that we created.
To bring this into clearer focus reflect on the fact that not everyone is afraid or experiences fears about the same things. The race-car driver who comfortably goes in excess of 200 miles per hour might be afraid of the needle used for her vaccination. The high-rise window-washer who has no problem up on the 12th floor washing windows might become panicked learning to swim.
So, once we have an idea that is linked to fear, we do an incredible amnesia-thing. We absolutely forget that the act of linking fear to that thought was our own doing. We totally “space out" this fact. Instead, we begin to react to the fear as though it were a living, breathing, awe-inspiring entity all on its own. And not just any living, breathing, awe-inspiring entity: One that stirs up overwhelming FEAR.
Recognizing that linking-fear-to-the-thought was our own creation is a powerful step to gaining a sense of mastery over what in the past may have seemed overwhelming! Having recognized this, it is time for the next step.
One definition of FEAR is
Pay attention to what that is saying. This simple acronym suggests that something seems to be real . . . and that perception is false. Or, simply stated, we are erroneously believing something. That something that we are believing is that we need to fear.
Now, do not get me wrong. I am not advocating wanton disregard for personal safety. Of course not! It is essential that you learn to determine the Correct Evidence Appearing Dangerous, too. If you are standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, feeling nervous . . . step away from the edge a couple of feet. This is only honoring the fact that danger is possible.
If you are feeling nervous walking up an open stairway, by all means grab onto the handrail. You could fall over the edge of the Grand Canyon or off the open stairs and kill or hurt yourself. People HAVE done so! This is not an invitation to be foolish.
However, if you are 15 feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon, it is time to relax and enjoy the view; not to be so nervous that you cannot look for the fear of it all. The Grand Canyon is certainly an awe-inspiring sight. Profound fear can rob you of this inspiration and pleasure.
This need not be!
So, what can you do? You can make an agreement with yourself to NOT create the fear in the first place. In other words, you can CHANGE YOUR MIND about there being anything to fear. You can focus on ALL you have to gain … in a positive, productive way!
Marlene Shiple, Ph. D. , is a licensed psychotherapist, business consultant, certified sex therapist, speaker, writer and professional coach. She has a private practice in Phoenix, AZ. , where she sees clients and enjoys the experience of helping people be happier in their lives.
Dr. Shiple believes in supporting the individual to be his/her best self - in helping to discover interactive aspects about the self as a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual complex. She works with individuals to create healing on all of these dimensions.
To learn more, please visit Dr. Shiple's website at http://www.counselorsassociated.com