“All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears- of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark or speaking before the Rotary Club, and of the words “Some Assembly Required.”
- Dave Barry
Where all else fails to stop us from achieving what we want from life, fear steps in. We experience fear on both conscious and unconscious levels, and it is one of the most limiting emotions we possess. In some cases fear is justified, and even healthy. For example, a person contemplating crossing a busy street will harbor a healthy fear of being struck by two tons of rapidly moving steel commonly known as a motor vehicle (at least, if he or she is a reasonably sane person who understands the basic laws of physics: moving car + walking person = splat). This fear breeds caution, which causes the person to look both ways for oncoming traffic and wait for an appropriate time to venture across the road.
However, unjustified fear- which can be just as crippling and realistic as justified fear- is more often the case when fear is a factor. Not many people risk their lives on a regular basis. Humiliation, rejection, and failure top the list* of limiting fears that can be overcome with practice and determination.
* Actually, spiders top the list of fears for most people. Arachnophobia- fear of spiders- is the most common type of fear in the world. However, fear of spiders is completely justifiable, as spiders are creepy eight-legged insects with fangs, alien eyes, and a tendency to drop on you out of nowhere.
One of the easiest and most successful methods of dealing with fear is timeline therapy, which is actually facing the significant emotional event that happened sometime in your life that caused the accumulation of emotion and meaning to equal your fear. An NLP Coach can help you overcome your fears using a variety of tools you will find fun and comfortable participating in.
If you don’t feel you can handle timeline therapy alone, enlist a friend to participate- especially if you can find a friend who doesn’t fear the same things you do. With timeline therapy, the objective is to remove the meaning and emotion attached to the fear several times, so that it becomes easier to remove and conquer.
Here are some ways you can implement conquering the Big Three fears:
· Wear your slippers to the grocery store. If you’re feeling ultra-brave, scuff your feet across the floor to call attention to your slippers. If you’re feeling ultra-timid, go to a grocery store far enough from your house that the shoppers will probably never see you again.
· Sing at a karaoke bar. While you’re sober.
· Choose one completely inappropriate article of clothing (a Dr. Seuss hat, a big pair of fuzzy mittens in the middle of summer, a headband with bumblebee antenna) and wear it in public as long as you can. This is not only good therapy- it’s fun!
· Join a local Toastmasters club or offer to give a public presentation on an area relating to your expertise at a library or school. Public speaking is an excellent channel for exorcising humiliation, especially if you do it on a regular basis (that’s speak in public, not humiliate yourself).
· Call up a deejay at a local country radio station and request a song by Metallica or Ozzy Osbourne. Be aware that you will be rejected; you might be laughed at and rejected, and there is a possibility you may be laughed at and rejected on the air.
· If you’re single, use an online location service like info.com or facebook.com to find an old school classmate you used to have a crush on. Contact them and ask for a date (or just initiate a conversation). If you’re married, contact an old school classmate and invite them to lunch. At worst they’ll say no; at best, you will have rediscovered a friend.
· Write a poem or a short story and try to submit it to a newspaper or magazine, or enter a writing contest. If you aren’t rejected, become a writer immediately.
· Try to nail Jelly to a tree.
· Buy a new video game and attempt to win it in one sitting. If you play video games on a regular basis, buy a video game that’s different from the ones you usually play (for example, if you enjoy fighting video games, try a quest-driven format. Or video chess.).
· Start a new hobby that requires creating an end product, such as knitting, model kit building, or cake decorating. Please note that if you are working on your dietary habits, it is not advisable to embark on cake-decorating exposure therapy to combat fear of failure. You will feel obliged to consume your failed attempts. Instead, try vegetable sculpture or fruit bowl arrangement.
· Challenge Dick Johnson to a stock car race. This will also help overcome your fears of rejection and humiliation, as at least one of them is bound to happen.
Conquering your fears is like climbing a mountain – do it one step at a time.
You can determine your own form of therapy by coming up with ways to face your personal fears one small step at a time. If you can’t think of anything, ask a friend to help. Most people are more than willing to try something new, especially if they get to watch you do something entertaining.
NOTE: These exercises are not intended as a substitute for professional psychiatric care. If your fears are extraordinarily strong and interfere with normal functions or daily activities, you should seek the advice of a certified psychiatrist. Self-induced therapy can be effective in reducing or alleviating normal fear, but should not be used in cases of mentally crippling or trauma-induced fear.
If you would like to experience a timeline therapy session contact a NLP Practitioner.
Copyright 2007 Mark J Holland.
All Rights reserved.