Thursday, March 29, 2007

Going Beyond Fear

CAPTION: "Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army"

We all have experienced fear in our lives. For some of us it has had crippling affects. Before dealing with fear it is important to distinguish between fear being defined as a thought or a feeling. In order to deal with fear and uncover what is behind it, it is essential to define it as a feeling.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was in touch with how easy it is to create in our mind "thoughts of fear" and how they can so easily paralyze us when he said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

We can very easily add more fear upon fear when we start thinking about the fear relentlessly. So, the first step to confronting fear is to define it as a feeling. For instance we may say, "I feel afraid" or "I feel scared." When we define fear as a feeling it serves as an alarm clock to help us to deal with the unmet need behind the fear. This type of fear is always healthy. It is when we start to think and dwell on the fear and get stuck there that fear becomes our worst enemy.

Secondly, it is important to identify the stimulus for our feeling of fear. So we may say, "I feel afraid of heights" or "I feel scared of criticism."

The third step is to identify the cause of our fear. We do this when we identify what unmet need we have. This can be discovered by saying, "I feel afraid of heights because I need security that I am safe" or "I feel scared of criticism because I want to be accepted by others." If help is needed in identifying the unmet need feel free to click here for a list of common needs we all have.

The fourth step involves satisfying your need. For instance, if you are afraid of heights and need safety you can make sure that you have the proper equipment on while rock climbing or your seat belt on while on a plane. You may also need more reassurance that you are safe. You can then look up the statistics on rock climbing and the safety of flying. This evidence may help meet your need for safety. Or if you are afraid of being criticized by others you may need to first accept yourself for who you are and be confident in yourself. Then you will not be afraid of being criticized. You can also get acceptance from other people to meet that need for approval or acceptance.

The fifth step is to think positive. Once you have identified your need and found a way to meet that need continue to reassure yourself based on the truth, the evidence, and the facts. If needed have someone who you can call on the phone or talk to if you start thinking negatively. This person can also hold you accountable to doing this process.

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