It’s the day after Halloween. Here in our part of the world, the kids have a day off from school, I guess to deal with the “Halloween Hangover?”
All the scary movies on TV this past week got me thinking about fear, and some of the strategies available to handle fear.
There are many successful strategies for dealing with fear in your life. What I’ll offer you today are a variety of strategies, each of which can stand alone or can be used in conjunction with each other.
One is to realize that everyone is afraid from time to time. Some people show it. Some people don’t, which makes them look like they have it all together and are never afraid.
Every teenage boy knows the fear of rejection that causes him to hang up when the girl he wants to ask for a date answers the phone.
If you will consider the situation, or any fear of rejection, from a different perspective, I believe it will give you some power over fear. When the boy makes the phone call, he starts out not having a date. If he asks and she says yes, he has gained a date. If she says no, he has what he had when he started, no date. He hasn’t lost anything and he has no regrets.
That point of view can help turn fear of rejection on its head.
There are two acronyms for fear that I have found useful. One is that fear stands for
Forget Everything And Run.
Another is that fear stands for
False Evidence Appearing Real.
Many times our fear convinces our brains to search for evidence to support our feeling afraid. Our brains can always find evidence to support any fear.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.”
When it comes to facing and conquering fears, practice, practice, practice is the key. Doing little things that you fear, over and over, forces the fear to flee.
This may sound crazy, but with practice it can become a challenge, even fun.
Let’s put some hands and feet on these ideas by giving you two specific techniques for conquering fear.
Two Specific Techniques
The first comes from Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, co-authors of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. In their book on the power of asking, “The Aladdin Factor” (Berkley Books, $13), the authors devote an entire chapter to the conquering of fear.
One of the most useful techniques is a two-part sentence completion. The first sentence is, “When it comes to asking for what I want, I’m afraid to …” In the second sentence, for each example in the first, change the sentence to say “I would really like to – and I scare myself by imagining … ” They key word here is imagining. Once we realize and face how we are scaring ourselves, we are well on the way to conquering our fears.
Here’s another useful technique: Take a blank sheet of paper. On one side draw a timeline from birth to the present. On the timeline, mark and date all the times in your life that you have been hindered by fear.
Now turn the page over. On one end of the page write down a major dream or goal in your life, and make a list of all the steps necessary to reach that dream or goal. Turn the paper back over and look at the timeline. That’s the past. You have no control over it and can’t do anything about it, except learn from it. Turn the paper over and put it behind you.
On this side of the paper is your present and future. You can do plenty about your future. You, not fear, can decide how this side of the paper will look.