Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Facing Fear

How do we face our fears?

Our automatic reaction for survival in a fearful situation is either 'fight' or 'flight'.

When we are in 'fight' mode we want to attack someone out of fear. This just escalates the fear, damages the relationship further and does nothing to resolve the situation.

When we are in 'flight' mode we want to run away from fear. We may even try to pretend it doesn't exist or ignore it hoping it will magically go away. The fear we feel is still there and stays in our body causing problems for us on all levels; mental, physical and emotional.

Fear is a normal emotional response to something frightening that has happened to us. It is a contractive experience that shuts us down and closes our heart. You cannot feel love and fear at the same time. Fear is the opposite of love, not hate, which is another form of fear.

Is there a more holistic way to deal with fear?

Yes. There is another way that will neutralize the fear and have it disappear right in front of our eyes. The first time I faced one of my fears it was an incredible experience. I decided to confront my father with something I knew he did not want to hear. Even though I loved him very much I was always afraid of his anger.

Ever since I was a small child my fear of him would overwhelm me. I learned to be really good at sensing what would please him and do everything I could to make him comfortable. This particular fear  became deeply programmed in me and continued well into adulthood becoming a negative behavioral pattern that would play out with every relationship I had. It wasn't until my late 30's that a situation arose that finally made me decide to face this fear.

My confrontation with my father took all the courage I had. My knees were shaking and I was terrified. What I had to say was extremely important to me and the fear of his potential anger and disapproval was overwhelming. I decided to speak quietly, with an open heart but with determination in my voice. My father responded by looking at me and just said 'ok'. That was it. Wow!! It was not what I was expecting at all. I realized that I had always assumed there was a big monster behind the 'fear door' which made me afraid of opening it, but instead I found a little mouse!

What was different this time was that I was not showing fear and acting in a new way. If you have fear people around you unconsciously pick it up and react to it. It immediately puts you in a position of weakness and not a position of strength. If we act weak people think we are weak and treat us that way. If we act strong and in our power people will respond accordingly. This was the secret I learned that day when facing my fear and it has changed my life.

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