“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
We live in very troubled times - needless to say.
War, climate change, pollution, famine, disease and economical crisis are the main course of our daily news feast.
Fear and anxiety are not any more an exception but rather the norm by what we live.
But what exactly is fear and anxiety?
And most important: How do we deal with them?
“Fear is an emotional response to a perceived threat.
It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger.”
Let’s say that you find yourself facing a mean threatening dog.
You can do two things:
You can defend yourself using your body, a rock, a stick or you can run to avoid the attack.
In other words you fight or run – That is the natural response we have to threats.
Getting scared is not a lack of courage, it is a survival skill.
We have to learn how to avoid dangers and fear as well as pain not being our enemy but rather the first line of defense.
Fear and pain are the sentinels that tell us when we are in trouble and peril.
“The key to change... is to let go of fear.”
Although the preferred way to deal with our problems is avoidance, postponing a problem doesn’t solve it in most cases.
In most cases avoiding facing our fears makes our problem even bigger.
I had this dear friend that had a problem paying her bills in time.
Every month it was the same drama taking place.
Bills over due, late fees and penalties, overdraft accounts, pain and misery.
I tried to help her by creating a payment schedule but she never followed.
I couldn’t understand her behavior.
According to my understanding of human behavior, our action are designed to maximize pleasure and to avoid pain, but what she was doing – seemed to me – was to create a lot of unnecessary pain and trouble.
Then I got a revelation.
Imagine yourself not as one person but as two people living in the same body: You and your subconscious mind.
You say to yourself:
-Let’s pay the bills!
- That sound’s like a lot of work – your subconscious replies – Is there anything else we can do?
- I could postpone it – you say to yourself.
- That sounds like a great idea. I prefer the pleasure of doing nothing than the pain of paying the bills.
So you do exactly what you are supposed to do – you avoid the pain – you do not pay the bills :(
“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.”
So the way we fixed that is by changing the task presentation.
Instead of asking – Do you want to pay your bills?
The correct question is – Do you want the excruciating pain of late bills?
The answer of course will be different this time :)
Action is the only cure for fear.
(to be continued...)