Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics
I have been through excruciating physical pain, I have tackled some very challenging projects, been in way over my head and stared into the face of losing everything, and none of this comes even remotely close to the difficulty of dealing with fear directly.
The main problem in dealing with fear is that we have truly amazing coping mechanisms. The most prominent and successful of these is a subconscious ability to blank out our fears to the point where we don’t know they’re there. When we approach a fear with this defense we respond in any number of ways which allows us to avoid facing the fear or being aware of it. Only the symptoms remain.
Therefore, if we are going to deal with fear, we have to know what it looks like. Once you understand, you’ll be able to see it everywhere . . . but in yourself. (We’ll get to that part shortly.) We’ll start with the basics: Anger is misplaced fear. When people are angry their emotions are higher and as a result, they become less clear headed, focusing entirely on the object of the anger. Other skills diminish in the presence of anger, such as driving or craftsmanship; it is a state of mind in which we are not as smart and our awareness is acutely narrowed.
These symptoms are identical to fear. It’s why angry talk show hosts can say so many dumb things and their listeners go right along with them. Rational thought has been diminished. This next part is very important to healing, so please pay attention: The one thing about anger we can always be certain about is that no one is ever angry for the reasons they think they are. The reason for this is that anger is a masking emotion for fear. You can check this out by remembering how you’ve reacted in the past when you’ve been angry, but discovered that you were in the wrong. The initial reaction almost always denial and more anger and most people realize their errors only with difficulty.
What this shows is that something beyond the topic at hand is being defended. A fear is at the root of the anger and it is the hand on the driving wheel, not the anger. It is typically layered. For example, a man might be angry at his wife for failing to tell him she was having friends over, which disturbed his own plans for the day. He is angry because she didn’t tell him and feels a lack of respect. He is afraid of not being respected and in turn this is because of a deeper fear that he might not be worthy of respect which is a fear about being good enough. Deeper and deeper it goes. The anger is just a mask for deep insecurities.
Now this brings up an interesting point. Why can’t the man simply recognize his insecurities? Why does he have to get angry? The answer to this gets to the heart of problems in dealing with fear shows why psychology is an important profession. What if I asked: Why can’t people just get rid of drug addiction, alcoholism and PTSD? The answer to all of these questions is that accomplishing this is really hard.
The basic problem in dealing with fear is that our ability to deny our fear is greater than our ability to see it. And we cannot confront something if we don’t even know it’s there. Anger though, if we allow ourselves to see it for what it really is, becomes a window for seeing what lies beneath if we can just will ourselves to go down that rabbit hole.
There are other symptoms of underlying fear. A need to conform, a lack of adventurousness or curiosity, poor eating and sleeping habits, addictions of any kind, illnesses of any sort, chronic tightness in muscles anywhere in the body, having subjects that are “off limits” and on and on.
What this should show you is that everyone has some degree of fear and no one is truly fearless. Also, the process of dealing with fears is going to be endless. You cannot do it all; no one can.
So in dealing with fear we must be aware that we can only manage it, not eradicate it. We deal with the fears that are in front of us and forget about the rest. By using the clues about our fears that are literally all around us, we can begin identifying them.
I have used the following process with some success: The first thing I did was to eliminate the white lies in my life. I did this many years ago and it greatly reduced my stress. We cannot be honest with ourselves if we cannot be honest with others. Generally, if you look for it, you can find your way out of any situation where little white lies are used and substitute some honesty. There are books to help with this.
If you are going to face your fears, this internal honesty is crucial. You are facing off against a part of you that is every bit as intelligent and resourceful as you are. If your subconscious does not have to take your conscious will seriously, it won’t. My own experience was that I couldn’t really deal with my fears properly until I managed this.
The next thing I do is to notice what part of my body is tightening up with fear. As I deal with the fear, this changes because it appears that fear resides in different and very specific parts of our body with some fears occupying several. I often have to turn my attention to several different areas in turn to release a fear.
Doing this seems to help the focus, which can be incredibly difficult to maintain. When I first started doing this, it was not at all unusual to simply forget what I was attempting only to remember a month later. Now I have that part of it down to a matter of minutes. This is actually part of the healing and it is not a problem. You’ll come back to it when the fear dies down enough.
At the very end of the process, when I can finally focus most of my attention on whatever fear I’m working on, I get a feel for what that fear is and it’s time for re-programming. Basically, I tell myself that whatever this is, is just an idea, and I choose to change it and myself. It helps if the re-programming is neutral like that.
And I follow up afterwords to see if anything in my thinking or my life has changed. If a fear has been released, then this will be reflected in my life, which will be easier. More green lights so to speak.
I’ve left a lot out of course, this is a far more challenging and involved process than I’ve described here, but my hope is that you’ll try. This was a process of self discovery for me to understand how fear was affecting my life and what to do about it. All along the way I was able to figure out what to do next and I’m sure that anyone attempting this would experience the same thing. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Have at it, all you have to lose are your fears.