Post Updated 12/23/2013 7:30 pm Mountain Time.
We are all unique, so we each have our own set of things that trigger fear. Your exact triggers are up to you to discover, but we can talk a bit about how those triggers got there.
From the moment we were born we began to learn how our actions create behavior in others. When we cried in the crib, mommy or daddy came to comfort us. From that point on we knew we could elicit attention by that certain action and it became programming. If we wanted attention, we activated the cry program. The more it worked the more solid the program became part of our nature. At some point in our development roles would reverse and we began to learn from other’s actions how we should behave. If you as you were asked, an adult might treat you with some kind of reward. Or if you did something they didn’t like, you may have been punished in some way.
It may sound simplistic, but raising a child does have some similarities to training a pet. Do something right and there is reward – do something wrong and there are consequences. Eventually the rewards for doing right fall away because the right behavior just becomes expected of you. The majority of feedback we then receive is on the negative side. This leaves room for development of a lesser desire for the reward and a greater desire to move away from the painful situations. Rather than strive for the rewards we tend to keep our heads down and just try to stay on the lookout for possible trouble and steer clear. This is to say that we now put more focus more on what we do wrong than what we do right.
This focus on our potential wrong-doings is a huge confidence killer. Without the confidence that we will have a successful event, there is room for thoughts of potential wrongdoing and this leads to our fear.
During the HOA we address some questions around the fears some of the panel and audience have around live streaming. If you pay close attention, there is a common thread of “wrong-doing” in each concern. I won’t know enough, I’ll make a mistake and hit the wrong button, I won’t be prepared, I’ll stumble, someone else won’t meet my expectations…
To my point of view, each of those concerns has fear that is rooted in judgement. Either judgment of others or personal judgement about self. So the fear is not about making the mistake, the fear is about being judged for the mistake.
Let’s do an exercise: Take a moment to breath, close your eyes, breath some more an imagine a situation where you have made an error in front of someone of authority in your life, such as a boss. Try to really see the event in your minds eye. From the moment the mistake was made, through the discovery of the event and on to your boss’ reaction and your reaction to them.
Were you able to feel an emotional response from someone realizing the mistake? Shame, embarrassment, fear? If you were, you are far from alone. Most of the population is able to do exactly that – feel negative emotions for events that were in their heads. Is it odd to know that you felt judged by your own day-dream.
Some say that dreams aren’t real. I say that’s bogus. They are real, but perhaps just not tangible for others. You experienced it in your head so there is some level of reality if only as thought forms. I am sure you would agree that your thoughts are real – yes?
If we are focusing more on watching out for trouble and combine that with the reality of thought forms and the emotions they create, we have begun to piece together origins of this thing we call fear.
Maybe you were this kid in class – the one who refused to read out loud. It may have been a horribly paralyzing fear of being judged by others that silenced you. Children can be cruel. They’ll laugh at the stumbles of their peers, mock them heavily and just generally be mean. As grown-ups, hopefully, we have learned to be more nurturing and forgiving of others, but unfortunately much of that childhood programming remains. There may exist in us a deep down absolute resistance to doing anything in public because we falsely expect a room full of people to treat us like they did when they were nine years old. Are you comfortable with the idea of erasing that old crappy program and installing a fresh update to something better? Then read on. Here are a few bullet points to ponder. Try not to just blow through these. Take your time to read them one by one and sit with each for a minute or two and really think about them. I’ll grab a cup of coffee while you read and experience. When you are done with these bullet points, take a break, walk around a bit and breath. Then we’ll get on to some day-dreaming exercises.
- We allow ourselves to be subject to past programming of influences in our lives.
- Fear is triggered by negative thoughts of things that may have happened in our past and we have associated them to things that have not yet occurred anywhere but in our mind.
- We don’t fear the past or the present, only the “horrible” possibilities we conjure up about the future.
- We can compound fear by imagining others reactions to those conjured situations.
- Others around us might be supporting us in our fears rather than in our true abilities.
- We have developed the habit to imagine the worst possible scenarios.
- Like any training, we can replace habits that no longer serve us with habits that do.
If you have come this far, I suspect you have made a decision to reduce or eliminate irrational fear. Congratulations, you’ve done the really hard part already – you have gone through life with irrational fears that have held you back. That’s a pretty hard way to live, so the exercise below should be a cake-walk for you.
Room for Discovery
Create a quiet environment free of distractions where you can be alone with your thoughts. No music, no TV, just you and your thoughts.
Getting Into Your Head
- Make a list of what you would call your perfect scenario.
- Get imaginative and get into the day-dream.
- What are people saying to you and what are you saying back?
- What things are going right
- How those things feel
Let’s Kick Fear’s Butt!
- Now make a list of all the things you fear might go wrong.
- Include your reactions to the events
- What would be the worst possible outcomes
In any of those fear-based scenarios:
- Did you die in real life?
- Were you injured in real life?
- Did you or your family suffer irreversible harm in real life?
Change it up
- Take any one of your fear-based scenarios back into your day-dream and look at ways you can react differently in a positive direction.
- Remind yourself that it’s okay to make a choice that is outside of your past programming.
- What changes the outcome is how you choose to react to fear.
What we think, eventually becomes who we are. If we think about fear, we become fear. If we focus on doing things with clear intention, we activate our actions towards clear intention.
- Every action or reaction begins with a thought
- Change your thoughts – change your actions and reactions
- We can only think about one thing at any one time – choose wisely.
By learning to shift our thoughts away from fear and in the direction of proper action, we leave no room in our thoughts for fear. And yes, it takes practice. It took you a life-time to get here, so it will take a bit of work to reverse things. Be patient with yourself, take small sweet steps in the right direction. As long as you create motion, you’ll see some changes that can keep you motivated to keep moving.
- Practice is required to release old habits by developing behaviors that become new habits.
- Some habits were developed at childhood. You have a lifetime of bad practice to overcome so be patient with yourself.
- Use a reminder tool to change your habits such as a bracelet, ribbon or watch you can move from wrist to wrist when you catch yourself in your old ways. Strive for going 31 days without changing it over. Remember, you have a lifetime of pain and programming, you’ve done the hard work, this should be easy by comparison.
- Be patient and be kind. Don’t judge yourself if you don’t get it right away. Judgment got you here to begin with.
If you want to speed up the process, stop judging others and you will cease to feel judged by them. What we do, we become. What we focus on expands. The easy path to stop any negative behavior is to replace it with it’s positive mate. To stop judging is to begin complimenting. Look for the positive in others and tell them you noticed.
As always, let us know how you get on with the exercises and feel free to drop comments and questions below!