What's your deepest fear? Death? Heights? Ghosts?
It's important to realize that most fear is imaginary, based upon misperceptions on our inner conscious level.
Your fears may even develop into phobias; greatly exaggerated, distorted responses to things that are perceived as hazards.
Dealing and overcoming fear is critical if you're to live your fullest potential as a unique individual.
Therefore, today's tip is to: Understand your fear and eliminate it! To understand courage it is necessary to comprehend the emotion called fear. There Are Two Types of Fear: Natural and Illusory
Genuine, Natural Fear
The first is genuine fear, natural fear felt because of some genuine threat. Fear is a necessary ingredient for survival in all animals. It allows the animal to respond to danger through a chemical smack of adrenaline to jolt the body into instant action. When you pass a dark alley late at night, the fear you feel that someone might jump out at you helps make you faster, more focused, and stronger. The fear helps you to get away from danger immediately.
This is commonly known as the fight-flight syndrome. However, fear that was designed eons ago to prepare a person for a physical act in the forest is not necessarily appropriate in the workplace.
An executive, say, learns in a meeting that he or she may soon be fired. The thought of losing a job would create fear in most of us.
But what kind of physical act or reaction is proper in this situation? What should be done in response to a nagging worry that could last for weeks before it is resolved?
Obviously, there is nothing on the physical level that can appropriately be done. Yet the physical component of fear, a residue of our prehistoric past, still persists: adrenaline flows, circulation is redirected within the body, and so on.
Prolonged fear (creating unremitting stress) can actually damage the body.
Although the fear itself may be valid, the instinctive response it elicits is all to often out of proportion to the threat.
It is impossible to program out that response, since it is one of our strongest instincts. We can only deal, on a practical level, with its longer-term effects.
Before we get into that, however, let’s take a look at the second category;
illusory, or imaginary fears.
Illusory or Imaginary Fears
Though just as genuinely felt, illusory fears are based upon misperceptions— false commands emanating from a person’s inner conscious.
Many people spend their lives in a constant state of anxiety and have no idea where it originates.
Others suffer from phobias—greatly exaggerated, distorted responses to something perceived as a hazard.
Illusory fears are the bane of their existence.
Illusory fears often stem directly (and occasionally indirectly) from an inadequate self-image.
The ego, or sense of self-esteem, may not be up to coping with the complex problems of modern living, and the natural reaction to this is stress caused by anxiety.
If the self perceives itself as inadequate to cope, anxiety, always waiting in the wings, is all too ready to pounce and take over. An inadequate sense of self generally, if not always, stems from childhood programming by authority figures.
Illusory fears are often based on misperceptions.
Say you open your door one day to find a snarling dog ready to leap and bite. You back up so quickly that you trip over your own feet and fall down. But the dog doesn’t jump. You take a second look and discover that the dog is a mop you had left on your front porch the night before.
Because it was not what you expected to see (the usual clear porch), your mind did not recognize the mop but startled you into a self-protective mode just in case there was danger. There’s no danger from a bit of dark wet cotton, but a dog, yes; let’s see a dog, says the imagination, just in case we need protection. And when you see the dog instead of a mop, all the defensive reactions of the body spring into place and back you go.
The misperception was quickly cleared up. That was easy.
Many misperceptions, however, are buried deep in the subconscious, and in most cases they’ve been programmed by well-meaning parents or other authority figures.
Beliefs, attitudes, and the ways we see things are our perceptive resources, some of which work to our advantage and some of which do not.
What we as individuals accept as truth, (our perception of things), belong to our overall belief system. Some of these belief systems can be quite resistant to change. No one ever remembers something that happened in its actuality, but only what happened as perceived by that individual.
Factors that affect perception:
even the weather
The same experience that two people may undergo will later affect each in a totally different manner.
Reprogramming illusory fears to convert them to positive expectations enhances one’s awareness and self-esteem. As the self-esteem improves, one in turn becomes less and less prone to react to illusory fears.
Dealing with Fear
There are ways to deal with illusory fear. First, let’s define the word itself using the principle of polarity.
When you examine the opposite meaning of a word, the concept that you are attempting to understand is unlocked, leading to more awareness. To define the word fear, we go to our polarity gauge and lay it out with a negative pole on the left end and a positive pole on the right.
We would call fear a negative, and under the word negative put expectation.
On the right end of the polarization gauge would be the words positive expectation. It might also be termed faith. Fear and faith, then are the same, differing only by degree.
Fear is a negative expectation.
When you are fearful, you are expecting something bad to happen. Once you are aware of this, it becomes easier to deal with the fear.
You simply change the negative expectation to a positive expectation. It is not difficult to do this; however it does require practice.
To eliminate a fear, polarize it.
Switch to a positive result of the thing you fear.
Take, for instance, our example of the executive who is about to be fired. The first reaction might be to visualize the difficulties of a reduced income and the lessened prestige that would likely accompany the dismissal.
But what are the positive aspects of losing the job? Our executive might think of a period beyond the immediate difficulties and start to see this as an opportunity to do what he or she really wants to do—say move to another area, switch fields, or explore any number of attractive possibilities not previously available.
Another benefit of changing your viewpoint is that it helps you identify and develop your desires.
When you hold a positive desire, the result is usually a positive expectation. And, as we’ve just seen, a positive expectation—faith—serves to diminish a fear.
You might initially think courage, not faith, is the opposite of fear. But
consider that courage exists only where there is fear to be overcome.
Without fear there can be no courage; you would just act.
"You can control fear by changing it to faith."
To ask yourself why you are fearful leads nowhere because fear is an abstraction. Better to ask yourself what you expect of a negative nature to happen; then you begin to close in on a useful answer.
An even more fruitful question would be: what would you be doing if you did not expect this negative thing to happen? Suddenly all kinds of positive answers come into view.
Fear is imaginary just as faith is imaginary—and both being imaginary, they are subject to your mental control. You can control fear by changing it to faith.
That is the technique that we use for eliminating fear—to transmute, or change, the fear.
In considering your debilitating fears, ask yourself the question, “What would I be doing, and what would my life be like if I did not expect this bad thing to happen?”
Now you are transmuting, for your imagination brings into play all of the positive possibilities, and at last you have a weapon to fight the fear.
Fear is a necessary part of the systems nature has installed in us. If we were to wipe out fear from a person’s environment, we would be doing an injustice, for the trigger of fear is often necessary to remove you from harm’s way, should danger arise.
However, illusory fear, illogical fear, fear in which the fight-or-flight response is not required can only hamper one’s growth.
So identify your fear. Is it necessary? Is fighting indicated? Is running involved?
If not, in all probability it’s a fear that you don't need.
Meditation for dealing with fear.
To deal with it, go to your meditative level. Polarize the fear; visualize the positive expectations.
What would you be doing if you did not have the fear?
Go over this again and again. Use the Golden Images technique described below to enhance the positive image and weaken the negative. Symbolically smash or erase the negative image and do not concern yourself with it again. Whenever you consider the thing, visualize only the positive, beneficial results.
If flying is your fear, visualize the positive aspects of the trip you’re taking.
"Fear is imaginary. Courage is imaginary." Visualize yourself sitting comfortably on the plane. Picture a safe, smooth landing and the successful outcome of the trip. Imagine the things that you would be doing happily if you did not have this fear.
Your Mind's Creative Ability to Dominate Fear
To dominate your fear, you change the negative expectation to a positive
You do this with your viewpoint through meditation.You do this with that part of your own mind that rules the world, your imagination.
Fear is imaginary; courage is imaginary. The source of courage is in the imagination —your image-making creative ability.
Therein lies the ultimate wellspring and true source of courage.
The Three Faces of Fear
Ivan Pavlov, in 1904, discovered that the stimulus produced by the sight of food as well as the aroma of food, two separate representational systems—the visual and the olfactory—traveled along different nerve pathways.
They do however meet in a common path that stimulates the salivary glands to secrete mucus to help pre-digest the food. His conclusion was that the final pathway can also be activated by associated nerve tracts that are not directly connected with the response.
It was a simple reflex. He called it a ‘ conditioned reflex.’
Pavlov discovered that by ringing a bell when a dog was involved with the smell and sight of food about to be eaten the sound of the bell meshed with the visual and olfactory along the same nerve pathways. The saliva flow persisted when the bell alone was sounded, even though there was no food in sight.
The nerve pathway had been established. This is regarded to this day by psychologists and physiologists as a fundamental reason for both voluntary and involuntary behaviors.
Fear is an involuntary behavior. A person who is fearful of flying, knows, on an intellectual level, that flying is safer than taking a bath, and much safer than driving, but fear has nothing to do with fact. Some event in the past had set the negative expectation whenever that event is forthcoming.
The fear sits waiting along the nerve pathways of the brain. When a like event comes along, the pathways fire off and one of the three faces of fear comes about— anxiety, fear, or panic.
Intervention To Eliminate the Fear of Flying
To eliminate the fear it simply requires another force to travel along the common nerve pathway that had been established by the fear. We have a simple method of accomplishing this.
As fear is a state of the imagination you must use the imagination to intervene.
Technique to Eliminate Fear
Here is the technique. Build a golden image of yourself very comfortable.
Keep that image and create either a sound or a touch that is not a usual sound or touch. Say that you pinch your left earlobe with the first two fingers of your right hand while humming the musical scale.
If you did all that while you were thinking about yourself being very comfortable then the pinch, the hum, and the mental image of comfort are on the same nerve pathway. That should be set and ready to fire off whenever you require a state of comfort.
The key is that you cannot be fearful and comfortable at the same time, you are either one or the other.
Now think of the thing that causes you to fear.
If it’s flying create an image in your mind of being on a plane.
When the fear image is established, squeeze the lobe of your left ear with the first two fingers of your right hand while humming the musical scale.
That will trigger the thought of comfort which will override the fear.
Result: You no longer fear flying.