The following continues from Part 6.
4. Realize that you can have control over your fear. How, by facing it.
For example, I have learned that if I have a feeling that I should do something but begin to waffle (thinking, “Ah, why bother, it is not important anyway”), then I must do that thing. Why, because I have to be 100% sure that my desire to avoid that situation is not due to a fear, but because it really was not important for me to experience. By continually doing this, I have learned to differentiate between my “fear” of doing something and not doing something because it really does not matter to me.
A good example this that at least some of us can relate to is a belt test. How many times have you told yourself, as time to test gets closer, “I don’t think I’ll bother. I don’t care if I get the next belt. I’ll just keep going to classes and learn the next level stuff anyway”. Then, after the test is over and you have achieved the next belt level, you realize that it was important for you to test after all. Not only did you succeed, but you faced and conquered your fear.
Some fears can seem like mountains, they can seem completely overwhelming. In that case, gradually tackle them one step at a time. For example, if you are afraid of water, begin by putting your feet into the water, then after you feel comfortable doing that, go in a bit deeper. Continue to do this until finally you are up to your neck in the water.
However, if even putting your feet in water is too overwhelming to you, you can try this technique. First, make a list of your fear of water from the least anxiety-provoking situation (might be standing on the shore fifty feet from the edge of the water) to the most (standing in the water up to your neck).
Next, get yourself as relaxed as possible. You could use one of several self-relaxing techniques that I outlined in Part 5, or find another method that suits you best. Relaxation and anxiety are mutually exclusive — you cannot experience both at the same time.
Once you are relaxed, imaging yourself in the lowest anxiety-provoking position on your list. Once you feel comfortable there, go to the next least-anxiety provoking position (it may be standing at the edge of the water). If, when you do this, you begin to feel anxious, then imagine yourself going back towards your initial position. Keep repeating these steps up your hierarchy of positions until you are comfortable imagining yourself up to your neck in the water.
Now, you will be ready to use the identical technique in real life. You can use this technique when conquering any fear.
I remember a quote from a wise man (Montaigne): “He who fears he will suffer, already suffers because of his fear”.
I am going to stop here and begin another topic on “personal growth” in Part 8.