FEAR – The Enemy of Change.
FEAR! That most primitive of feelings that can stop us from achieving our goals or changing for the better. It’s the one thing that is present in every client I see. It really doesn’t matter what issue they are presenting me with, FEAR is in there somewhere.
A number of things have happened to me personally in the past couple of weeks where it has struck me that a timely post on the subject might be a good idea. Fear is possibly the oldest most primitive response we have. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of certain situations. It is the sub-conscious’ safety mechanism. One of the overriding remits of the sub-conscious is to keep us safe, both mentally and physically and it cleverly uses fear to stop us from doing things IT thinks could be dangerous or have an unwanted result. From the time of the cave man, evolution has hard wired fear into our make-up and it is the one single thing that stops us from achieving much greater things. It is the tool of the phobia bringing about actual physical reaction through the “fear, flight or fight” response. Fear is the enemy of natural childbirth, causing pain simply because of the physiology of the female’s birthing process.
I was chatting with an ex-client recently who said that it took her TWO WEEKS to pick up the phone and discuss her issues with me. She’d seen my website, researched my name and after comparing me with others, had decided I was the man for the job. Yet it still took her two weeks to pluck up the courage to ring me. Quite simply she was fearful of what else might be brought to the surface in addressing the original issue she wanted to see me about in the first place. That fear was stopping her from changing for the better. The sub-conscious detests change! In it’s remit of protection IT thinks that where we are now, with our beliefs, perceptions and behaviours is quite comfortable thank you very much. So when we consciously ask for change, the sub-conscious will dig its heels in using fear as it’s primary weapon of choice. It will throw in little questions like “What if…” and “Why would you want to…” etc.
I often ask a client to turn the word FEAR into and acronym i.e. F. E. A. R. So what would that stand for?
F – False
E – Evidence
A – Appearing
R – Real
Just because you have the evidence or memory of a certain situation leading to an unwanted result the last time or even that you know of the expereince of others that had this same unwanted result, there is no reason to suggest it will happen the same way if you attempt it again. Of course there are constants. I’m sure that most of us have burned ourselves in some way in the past. This has led to us not sticking our hand in the fire or being extremely careful when getting the Sunday roast out of the oven. But fire or heat is a constant. It doesn’t change. People and situatuions do change, so why be fearful of trying to change something in a different way? Just because doing X led to Y in the past doen’t mean that it will be the same now. This is where evidence of the past can be FALSE and because the sub-conscious cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality it also appears REAL.
FEAR is something I could write on ad nauseum and perhaps I will post on the subject again in the future. “FEAR Part II – The Sequel” in the style of the movies. But for now, let me leave you with a well know phrase popularised by the writings of another therapist:
FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY!