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Friday, March 19, 2010

To Stop Being Fearful, I Need Training and Practice

Dear Curtiss

Thanks a lot

I understand now whats going on in the brain. I just need to know the training and the practices. How to fight the fear. F. K.

Dear F. K.

You don't fight the fear, you just feel the fear. It is very painful but your own fear is not stronger than you are. Your fear is your psychological defense mechanism so when you see a snake, you will run away. But modern man has many fears that are irrational, there are no snakes, but still we are afraid. So little by little start to notice your own fear and just allow it. When you are angry at something it is a good time to turn your focus around from the object of your anger (a crying baby) and notice your own feelings of fear. It is hard at first. Here's a few paragraphs from Chapter ten in Depression is a Choice. You can read the chapter from your book. Here is the important part:

"When we decide to get in touch with our fear, we will probably not have to search very long. We have little fears every day of our lives that we have learned to avoid. Now we can learn to pay attention to them. One of the first little fears I discovered was that I was afraid to make phone calls if I had to tell someone something they didn’t want to hear, or if I was expecting some disappointment or rejection of some kind. I began to be aware that I kept putting off phone calls of this type by waiting until “later,” or forgetting to call at all, or losing the number. It was less painful for me to blame my non-calling on the fact that I was lazy or forgetful or disorganized than to admit I was afraid. That was because I knew how to handle laziness, or forgetfulness or disorganization. I had no idea what to do about my fear.

"Once I got more user-friendly with my fear, because I was going out of my way to confront it rather than avoid it, it was interesting to see how little power it really had. My fear turned out to be just like a big dog with a huge bark and menacing fangs that, when faced down, whimpers and licks your hand, wagging its tail to win your approval. These days when I think about these kinds of calls, I can still feel the fear buzz around the inside of my chest, almost like a little electric shock. I just carry the pain of my fear buzz straight to the phone and get the calls over with.

"When we find ourselves blaming anyone or anything, we can change the focus from the object of our blame back to ourselves and any feelings we might be having at the moment. One clue is that fear is painful. IT HURTS! Even a little fear gives a certain buzz around the heart, or stomach area, or in the throat. Breathing is usually more shallow. Today I still have fear, but I have a different relationship to it. For one thing, it is now invited rather than uninvited. I have welcomed my fear back into my life. Fear is no more to me than the roller coaster I rode when I a kid: “Whew, I was scared to death, that was a good one!”

"A good way to get in touch with repressed fear is studying things we “hate” to do. Hate is simply fear projected onto some object. For instance, although I don’t mind at all filling the dishwasher, I “hate” to empty it. Sometimes when I remember that hate is just projected fear, I focus my awareness on any fear that might be going on by taking my focus off how much I hate emptying the dishwasher. Sure enough, I can always catch that little electric buzz, or at the least, the tight throat, the shallow breathing. This awareness has elevated emptying the dishwasher to a whole new experience. Once we get in touch with little fears, we can go on to bigger ones.

I used to hate it when my husband started yelling at me about something. When I took the focus away from hating my husband to checking out my gut level of fear, I got in touch with a whole mother lode of repressed fear. This was also true about those sudden, unexpected loud whoops and calls, not directed at me at all, that he lets loose while watching a football game on TV. They can still set bolts of fear swhooshing through my entire body.

Ultimately I began to understand that it was not so much that the yelling filled me with fear. It was more like the yelling was a flashlight that illuminated a lot of unfinished, repressed fear that had been raging around inside of me since childhood, and brought it to my attention so I could let it finish. My husband’s yelling, which I used to hate, turned out to be a great gift. We don’t have to arm ourselves against fear, but rather with fear and by fear. When we willingly undergo our fear, we understand that fear is a power source that comes from the inside–it is not caused by an assault from the outside."

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