On Friday I wrote about being imprisoned.
I asked you what you’re imprisoned by at the moment.
Your job perhaps or a difficult relationship?
A decision you want to make but just can’t get round to so you put your head deep into the soft sand of denial?
Feeling trapped is not a comfortable place to be. There’s no way out. You struggle and struggle but whichever way you turn there always seems to be a very good reason to stay trapped. Barriers present themselves and you believe you cannot get over or round them. Stress begins to creep insidiously and invisibly towards you and before you know it you’re at the doctor’s, asking for help.
One emotion that sometimes imprisons us is Fear. Today I’m going to try to shed some light into the dreaded darkness that we know as Fear.
Isn’t it strange that our fears nearly always seem far worse at night?
We lie awake, in the dark, imagining all sorts of situations. Fear is very clever. It follows us into our dreams, our moods.
You can follow these 4 steps and escape.
1. Imagining things
When we’re afraid and we do nothing about it, except lie paralysed by our thoughts, we imagine all kinds of things. We’re immobilized, completely helpless, trapped.
We need to switch off our powerful imagination and get real.
We need to acknowledge that we’re afraid and then we can start to do something about it.
We must put on the light , and write down all we know about what is frightening us. If it’s illness for example, then we must get more information. The more we know about it, the smaller and less powerful our fear will become. We need to know exactly what we’re facing.
It’s silly to allow our minds to take control.
Instead we must take control and begin the process of dispelling the fear.
2. Next we must get support.
We will immediately feel stronger when we speak to someone about our fear. Fear thrives on our isolation but as soon as we share our worries fear begins to recede. It really is true that two heads are better than one.
So, for example –
if it’s our job we’re afraid of losing, and so many are, then talk to someone who may be able to help with a fresh idea, a strategy to try, a new direction to go, a workable plan.
Join a Redundancy Help group perhaps, pooling ideas with others. Talk to HR about what may lie ahead at your work place so at least the fear is out in the open. Google it, consult your GP, do anything to arm yourself to tackle the problem.
3. Get your head out of the sand.
When I’m afraid I try all sorts of strategies to hide and pretend it’s not happening. It’s self preservation because I don’t feel able to face it just yet. Well, that’s OK for a while but there’s only so long I can stay in that sand and not suffer.
The fear will not go away until you make it.
It will not shrink until you face it.
Get out of the sand, shake yourself down and look this fear in the face.
4. Practise makes perfect.
Remember, a life without fear doesn’t exist. There’s always going to be something that gives you butterflies. But the more you face them and shrink them the easier it becomes.
We must practise handling the hard stuff. Start taking small risks at first.
In her book, ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’ Susan Jeffers gives this advice –
‘The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.’
When fear creeps up on me I always ask myself the old question,
‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
Imagine the worst case scenario and plan to deal with that, then anything other that the worst is a bonus!
My message today is –
Don’t stay imprisoned by fear: there’s always a way out, even if it isn’t obvious at first.
It just takes some lateral thinking, some support and motivation.
Stuck? Imprisoned by fear?
Take my 4 steps and escape.
‘Fear has the biggest eyes of all.’