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More Healing

Continuing from my not-exactly-last blog about Healing Through the Dark Emotions, today I thought I would talk about fear.  What are you afraid of? Don’t say of fear itself. It’s  a cop out. The fact is, everyone is afraid of something. We should be. There are a lot of things in this world that are a threat. Fearing something threatening is not only natural, it’s the healthy response. Fear is what prepares us to use a coping skill to deal with a problem. By denying fear, we “deal” with the problem by ignoring it. By not dealing with it at all. At that point, we become unhealthy.

When we ignore our fear, it simply grows. We may develop anxiety. We may have bad dreams. We may get angry or deny that we can fear anything. In fact, we may get to the point were everything has to be fine, even when they aren’t. That’s no way to live, is it?

Instead, let’s approach our fears. There must be a reason you fear it. For example, and let’s choose something interesting and maybe a little complicated, but common. Say, fear of failure. Okay. The idea of failing makes you afraid, so you stress, insist that you must not do something where you might fail, and push yourself to do things not just right, but perfectly. If it’s perfect, how can it be a failure? Or perhaps you plan constantly, overplanning the simplest task, or on the other hand, you never plan anything. You never do anything. Perhaps you may spend a lot of time talking about how other people have failed or what their flaws are. If you look at their flaws, you don’t have to look at your own, do you? You can feel more perfect, because you see their shortcomings. You are somehow more stable for it.

In each of these cases, your fear is avoided. You don’t have to feel it so much. But look at each option: None of them are terribly functional or helpful, are they? Has your fear dissipated? Has it vanished into nothing? No. It sits there, watching, waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity. In fact, you spend all this extra energy simply avoiding it, only to have it remain unchanged.

Instead, let’s look at the fear. So you feel failure. Okay. What will happen if you fail? You face criticism or judgment. People might look down on you. Maybe it shows that you weren’t good enough. Well, good enough for what? What standard is that? Is perfection a requirement for survival? For prosperity? If you look at history or even look at the news, it doesn’t appear to be. People that have “everything” by our standards have flaws. Lots of them. If you read their biographies, they’ve probably failed. In fact, if they don’t fail at something, there story is not interesting. The American dream requires failure.

What would failure mean? You aren’t worthy of money? Status? Family? Your friends? Love? Society? Existence? Does that make sense?

Really look at your fear- why do you feel that fear? Then ask yourself, does it help? Sometimes fears do. They compel us to act. Fear of fire gets us out of a burning building safely. Some fear of failure may help you work hard at school or in your career. Those are helpful fears, and they certainly shouldn’t be avoided. How can they help if you avoid them?

If you look at your fear, you’ll learn more about yourself. Don’t judge your fear. It doesn’t make you a bad person. More importantly, don’t fear your fears. If you do, you can never learn from them. They are perfectly natural, and there is no reason to fear natural emotions. They are simply there to help you.

So, this week, what are your fears? What purposes can they serve? What can you learn about yourself by analyzing them? Give them a little attention and let them teach you. Let them speak and then subside. Learn. Find a little peace.

Until next time,
Carrie

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