Choose Your Fear Wisely

14 Aug 20

Because I help so many people overcome their fears, people often tell me I can’t be afraid of anything. But of course I’m human and have fears of my own just like everyone else. But it’s about targeting those fears that are life affecting, the others can wait. Overwhelming ourselves with a goal to become fearless is impractical and may be detrimental to our mental health when we try to face too much. So here’s how I’ve targeted my own fears…

Some things in life are unavoidable or highly necessary, when we have fears around these it can lead to avoidance behaviours causing us to suffer or for our lives to be adversely affected. For example, I had arachnophobia from childhood. There came a time in adult life and living in a house huge spiders loved that I had to face it or live in a state of constant hyper vigilance and anxiety. This was a life affecting fear so had to be addressed, I chose hypnotherapy and NLP and at that time self taught CBT. Clearly it worked which is part of why I now do the job I do.

Next to rear it’s head was my extreme fear of the dentist (yes, I do now work in a dental clinic). People do avoid this and some may get away with it, but for the majority, sooner or later pain becomes a bigger issue than fear. Avoidance at this point can lead to all sorts of health issues and an awful lot of misery. Again, a fear I had to face using the skills I employ to help others overcome their fears. This time I was more experienced and had more tools in my belt to help me face this.

Both fears are now manageable, I have a great dentist and I can put spiders out without hyperventilating or breaking down, (I have had both responses to my fears in the past).

So what of my other unaddressed fears? Driving was a huge one and something I did avoid for as long as I could. But there came a time when due to my line of work I had to drive to unfamiliar places. I have never actively sought to overcome this fear. If there’s a drive I have to do, I face it at that time and manage that fear in the moment to get me from A to B and back again. So although this is still uncomfortable for me, it’s not been overly life affecting because my attitude toward it is if something has to be done, it has to be done.

I have also been considering today my squeamish response to contact lenses. I feel no need to deal with this currently because I don’t have a desire or need to use them. Should a day come that this changes I know I will face it and overcome it then.

So this is the difference. Be aware of how your fears and responses to various stimuli affect you. Then target those you know need attention now. The others can wait. It’s interesting how we respond to success. Once we know we can face one fear, the others become achievable to defeat. In NLP we call it chunking down, don’t overwhelm yourself, take one step, one challenge at a time. So choose wisely and adopt an attitude of knowing you will learn to manage that fear before seeking therapy. Hypnotherapy has got me through fears I knew I had to face and it will help me with more in the future. Maybe it can help you too.