If there is one emotion that is very active in our society at this point in time, it's FEAR.
Understandably, people are feeling anxious and uncertain about what's around the corner and fear is taking hold of many of us.
The best thing I can contribute at this time is not more suggestions about HOW you can use this extra time that may have been forced onto some of you, but rather a way to help you manage one of the most damaging emotions we can experience as humans.
This is an exercise I learned from Tony Robbins years ago and one that you might find helpful in reducing or completely eliminating your fear, any fear. I will put my own twist on it, adding to it other bits I learned through coaches training and other learning I've participated in.
Let's take a look at this powerful emotion that grips the best of us.
F.E.A.R. also referred to as 'False Evidence Appearing Real', because fear is rarely based on truth but rather a worst case scenario that your Ego conjures up as a way to attempt to keep you safe. The ego believes that, by thinking of all that could go wrong, it can prepare itself for anything and therefore keep you safe. The irony is that, unless there is a saber tooth tiger chasing you or a real threat to your life, fear will always take from you more than it gives you.
OK, let's start with the exercise - we will call it COLLAPSING THE FEAR.
So, get out a piece of paper... here are the steps:
1. Identify the fear. What is the actual THOUGHT that keeps going over and over in your mind, (as we know fear does)? Write that thought down. One thing we know is that when you verbalize, acknowledge and shine the light of truth on a fear, it begins to lose it's grip over you. Fear is always most powerful when it's kept in the darkness of your own, un-analyzed thoughts.
As a way to demonstrate this process, I will use the example 'I'm afraid of public speaking'.
2. Create the image of a table On a piece of paper, draw a table with 3 legs (if it's round) or 4 legs if it's not round. You just want the flat surface of the table so you can write on top of it and the legs to represent how it sustained.
3. On the table top, write out your fear. Do this however you want to do this. Basically you are putting the fear on top of the table.
4. Describe each of the legs. We all know that a table needs legs in order to be supported right? RIGHT! So, each leg will represent the REASON why you believe this fear. So in my example above, 'I'm afraid of public speaking' I may write something like:
I may not know what to say
They may make fun of me
I could completely freeze up
I've never done it before
Great, now you have 3-4 reasons (well, actually 'excuses', because that's what they really are as most fears are NOT based on reality or truth), one for each leg of your table. You can write these vertically along the leg or underneath it - it doesn't really matter.
5. Collapse each leg. This is the powerful my friend! Would you agree that as you knock out a leg of a table, it begins to destabilize? And, if you knock out all the legs, well then the table can no longer stand right? EXACTLY! You are now going to look at the TRUTH about the matter. You will look at EACH of the legs (reasons) you identified and ask yourself these questions:
What is ONE way I can discredit this excuse?
Is it really REAL?
Is there ANY way this excuse can be argued?
You are looking for the objection that collapses this excuse. Pretend you are a defense attorney and your job is to PROVE THIS WRONG. Remember, in life, we either fight for our limitations or fight for our dreams to be free of them.
Let's take my example excuses above and go through this process here:
I may not know what to say - I can practice a topic. I can choose something that I really know a lot about. I'm usually pretty good at talking about things I love and that interest me.
They may make fun of me - Most adults would probably not make fun of me. Most people are so scared themselves that they will appreciate my courage. Even if someone smirks, it is not the end of my and I'm in charge of my interpretation of it.
I could completely freeze up - I haven't ever really frozen up. If I freeze up for a second, would anybody really notice? It's highly unlikely that I would be speechless for long.
I've never done it before - There are many other things I haven't done before and did them eventually. There are other things I was afraid to do before and once I did them they weren't so scary. Actually, everything that's new is a little scary but on the other side of it I feel great after having done them.
6. Break the leg. Write your discrediting statements next to each leg (or underneath the excuse). Put a big x across each leg and it's corresponding excuse. Your table legs are now broken - it can no longer stand. The excuses you gave for holding that fear together in your head have now been discredited and you see your fear from a whole new perspective.
You are now able to let go of this fear as you see how illogical it is and how it is NOT based on hard facts. If another excuse creeps into your head, write that one down too and then put your attorney cap back on and discredit that one as well.
Remember, you are fighting your ego. You either let IT win with it's excuses and rob you of your peace and progress or you win it over with logic and TRUTH.
I sincerely hope you find this exercise helpful and that you will put it to use with every fear that pops up in your life, especially now. I have used this over and over and it works.
If you've enjoyed this, please comment below and/or share it with others. More than ever, people need to be empowered to take back their thoughts and peace of mind during these very trying times.
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