Are You Afraid of...?

Are You Afraid of...?

Some of our fears are so slight, or come up so rarely, that we ignore them for the most part. Yet, all our fears are with us constantly whether or not we acknowledge their presence. They reside in our subconscious and create havoc in our life. Whether your fear is of death or of cockroaches, that fear runs your life.

Fears are like magnets. They attract the object of the fear. Thus, if you have a fear of being abandoned, you will draw to you people and situations in which you will get to experience the manifestation of this fear -- in this case abandonment. How do you get rid of, or deactivate, this magnet? First you need to acknowledge that the fear is indeed present. That sounds easy, yet in some cases we may be unaware of certain fears.

How To Get In Touch With Your Fears

To get in touch with those fears, take a blank piece of paper and write at the top: Something I am afraid of is... Then let your mind wander and write whatever comes to mind.

Whatever will come to your mind may sound silly, but it has some validity for you or you wouldn't have thought about it. The fears can be of concrete objects, people, events, feelings, or imaginary situations. All are valid. Write down whatever comes to mind. Leave the list out for a few days and look it over every now and then. Add any fear that comes to mind.

If you find yourself 'stuck', simply repeat 'Something I am afraid of is........' and let your mind fill in the blanks. Keep repeating that until you have run out of words to fill in the blanks -- and then 'force yourself' to come up with three more.

No fear is too small or too crazy to be written down on your list. To give you an example, when I 'forced myself' to come up with three more fears, one that came us is fear of being burnt at the stake. A totally irrelevant fear in this time, you might say, but is it really? Translate your fears into modern language. Being burnt at the stake might translate to fear of being publicly ostracized or ridiculed for one's belief and opinions.

Face The Fear and Let It Go

Next, reread your list and ask yourself how these fears affect your life. How do these fears undermine any activities and goals you have? Do they 'stop you' from experiencing happiness at any time? Do they affect your attitude towards the people in your life?

Become aware of the fears and how they influence your daily actions. Face the fact that you have been carrying these fears around with you. Ask yourself which ones you're ready to let go of.

Forgive Yourself

The next step is to forgive yourself for having these fears. It is important to realize that these fears are simply the by-product of your past experiences, your surroundings, and every person you have been in contact with (even through books and T.V.).

You are not to blame for having these fears. They are sometimes 'inherited' from the people around you, and unconsciously accepted as Truth.

Transformation and Reprogramming

Then, taking another sheet of paper, convert those fears which you have chosen to dispose of into positive affirmations. The words no, not, etc. are to be excluded from affirmations.

For instance, if one of your fears is of being abandoned, and you are affirming 'I will not be abandoned', you are still placing the focus on, and reinforcing, abandonment. Instead affirm, 'I am safe', 'I am loved', 'Everything I do and say brings me love and security.' If you fear dark rooms, affirm 'Light and Peace surround me constantly.' 'I am safe.' "My inner light constantly guides and protects me."

It is simply a question of reprogramming your "mental computer". It has been programmed with fears and doubts, and you now have the option of reprogramming it to run your life in such a way that you will magnetize experiences of love and bliss to you.

Feel The Fear, But Do It Anyway

Another thing you can do is to 'feel the fear, but do it anyway' (with the exclusion of life-threatening situations). For example, you may have a fear of public-speaking. Fine.

What to do? Enroll in a public speaking class, practice in front of a mirror, imagine yourself speaking successfully in front of a crowd of people and receiving a standing ovation, and then arrange to give a small presentation in front of a small group of people.

Personify Your Fear

It is also helpful to personify your fear. In other words, become friends with it, get to know it, have conversations with it. Sometimes, your fear is active because it has erroneously made assumptions. When you speak with it, you can explain to it the totality of the picture. Help it to see that even if a fear was valid when you were five years old, now that you are an adult the premise is different.

For example, at five years of age, you may have been afraid to cross the street without holding on to someone's hand. As an adult, that is no longer a valid premise for your actions, or inactions.

Give your fear a character and personality. Mine actually looks (to my inner eye) like a big pussycat -- somewhat of a cross between a tiger, a cat, and a cartoon character -- like the Texaco tiger for those of you who remember him. This "tiger" and I have conversations -- we discuss what are appropriate fears and why certain fears are now outdated, and I express my gratefulness at its warnings when fear was indeed appropriate.

Express your gratitude to your "safety guardian" for always being on stand-by to warn you when dangerous situations are near. Explain to it that you are no longer a child and that certain situations no longer warrant fear responses. Give your fear permission to 'chill' and relax, while still remaining on the alert (like a cat does).

Become Friends With Your Fear

Make friends with your buddy 'fear', and acknowledge it for its assistance and discernment. Ask it to warn you of any life-threatening situations. Ask it to 'ride out' the situations that are simply requiring you to stretch and take a risk. This will allow you to live a more 'freed-up' life.

In my life, things have lightened up immensely since we (my fear and I) now realize that rejection and abandonment are no longer life-threatening issues -- as they may have been at 9 months of age. Even failure and ridicule have lost their childhood charge, since those also are outside of the life-threatening category. You need to clarify what situations are not life-threatening and communicate that to your new buddy 'fear'.

Taking Challenging Steps

When we restrict ourselves from doing something because of fear, we are letting that fear 'run our life'. That is a choice we make. We can also choose to ask "fear" to stay on the alert, yet not stop us from taking steps that are challenging us to grow.

Many things we fear simply because they are taking us out into the unknown, out into an area of experience which is new to us. We can ask our fear to let us experience the newness of everyday life, and let us live out our venture into the unknown as a joyful experience. Ask it to give you warning signals only when you are really in danger, or making a decision which will certainly lead to harm.

By renegotiating what we will accept as 'dangerous situations' in our life, we regain our power to create the life we desire instead of abdicating our power to fear. How many times have you allowed your fear to stop you from taking a step towards your dream? How many times have your withheld your participation in a project because of fear? How much longer are you willing to let fear control you and run your life?

By giving in to fear, we also abdicate our power and our autonomy to those events and people who are associated with that fear. Listen carefully to that fear in your head. Is it the voice of your mother? your father? your first grade teacher? your priest or minister? Whose fear is it really? Is it valid for you at this time?

Make your choice. Choose what you are willing to empower in your life. Choose who runs your show. Is it the ghost of Christmas Past, or the joys of the days to come? That is the choice we can all make every time we are confronted with fear.

Recommended book: 

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan JeffersFeel the Fear and Do It Anyway 8-CD set: Dynamic Techniques for Turning Fear, Indecision, and Anger into Power, Action, and Love [AUDIOBOOK] [CD]
by Susan Jeffers.

Info/Order book

About The Author

Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.

Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com



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