In Mindset

fearadLet’s talk about Fear or Former Experiences Affecting Rationality.

To have fear about something means that we are expecting that a specific situation is going to result in either pain or shame, or both.

When we expect a situation to be painful, we are submitting to the decision that an event is going to cause suffering and discomfort.

When we expect a situation to be shameful, we are submitting to the decision that an event is going to cause embarrassment.

In both scenarios, we are pre-deciding how reality is going to match our expectation, regardless if it will or won’t actually cause us pain or embarrass us.

Most of the time, this response is a learned behavior. If you had parents who physically disciplined you for making mistakes, then that’s probably where some of the pain expectation came through. It’s a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We might have also learned somewhere in our life story that it’s possible to embarrass ourselves.

Carrying our fear with us into the present and the future is healthy to a certain degree. It keeps us skeptical and aware of dangers that surround us. But it’s not healthy if it keeps us from improving our lives or if we use it as an excuse to do not the thing that will bring us happiness and peace.

Healthy fear is looking both ways before crossing the street during rush hour.

Unhealthy fear is taking the extremely long and cumbersome way to avoid crossing the street altogether, regardless of the time of day.

When we live in fear, we are living in the past. And this is particularly painful because there’s nothing we can do about it, which helps feed the negative loop, keeping it replaying over and over in our minds and validating our fears.

It’s not that we are making excuses as to why we react the way we do but it’s about understanding the why and when we understand the why we can rewrite our story and alter our mindset. And then bravely choose to move forward anyway towards personal growth and development, despite our very real fears.

If Fear means Former Experiences Affecting Rationality, then that means that old and past experiences are affecting our judgment in the here and now, and that is robbing us of our present and future.

So what do we need to do?

We need first admit, hey you know what? This isn’t working for me anymore. This doesn’t feel good. I want to commit to feeling good. What have I got to lose? If I’m already paralyzed by fear, then it can’t get much worse than how I’m feeling right now. I have nowhere to go but up from here.

And, we need to create some new, positive experiences. We need to rebuild this map we are recalling information from inside our brains.

How can we do this?

Idea #1 Ask someone you trust — a family member or a friend — to go through the experience with you that is causing you fear. Sometimes, we just need support from someone we trust. So if your fear is that you aren’t going to be a good Tarot reader or that you’re afraid you’ll embarrass yourself during a Reiki session, ask a friend to be your sitter or client. Practice, practice, practice. They’ll love the free services and you’ll get a chance to go through the process in a safe environment.

Idea #2 Examine if it’s actually fear, or dislike. Are you pushing yourself to do something you don’t really want to do because it’s what you think everyone expects from you, but ultimately you have little to no interest in doing? Can you admit to yourself that maybe it’s not fear but legitimate dislike? Be honest with yourself.

Idea #3 Get to the root of the fear and understand why you have the fear. Start a mindfulness journal or research Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Some great DBT affirmations are:

  • I’ve already been through painful or shameful experiences, and I survived, so I will survive through them again.
  • I can’t change what has already happened, but I can change my response to future events.
  • All of the events of the past have prepared me for the present.
  • Everything in the present is as it should be and is the culmination of millions of experiences resulting in the here and now.
  • I help people through my knowledge and experience. My knowledge and experience helps a lot of people.
  • People like me for the help I give them, and I like myself for being helpful, and that makes everyone happy.

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