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Have you ever been overwhelmed with fear as you have faced doing something? We all have I think, each at our own level, with some becoming physically immobilized by it. If your fear feelings overpower you to the point of inaction you have given fear the upper hand. I stated it this way on purpose, your fear is not doing anything to you, rather you are allowing the fear to affect you as it does – it is all within your thought. And you have command over your thought and feelings as well.
When you get the fear feelings based on doubt, worry and uncertainty you choose to allow these thoughts to roil around in your head. You choose how you interpret them and how you react to them. A fearful thought does not come pre-packaged with a specific set of feelings and behavioral commands. Those too are of your choosing.
When you let yourself remain in the fear, you are choosing to have the fear guide your actions. It’s a logical progression to react to the fear feelings based on how most of us have developed our perceptions around fear. But when you realize that you have created the whole cycle in your mind, you can begin to see that you have ultimate command over the whole cycle. You can change this existing cycle of perception, interpretation and reaction to one that is more supportive of the life you want.
Dr. Wayne Dyer is well known for saying in the Power Of Intention that – when you change the way you look at things, the way you look at things changes. He is referring to your perception, which may appear at first to be totally automatic but it’s not. Well it is and it isn’t! It is automatic as it functions now, but you have the ability to change it and have it automatically be different. Just because you now, as most do, react to worry, doubt and uncertainty with fear thoughts does not mean this is the only way or that it must be this way.
So how did your perceptions, interpretations and reactions get the way they are? And why does it seem that this is just the way they should be? Because you were taught these things by those you were around as you grew up. You took on the perceptions, interpretations and reactions of those who provided the greatest impression on you as you grew up. Your mind allows this, unless you consciously step in to stop it, because it seems normal in the environment you were in when young and highly impressionable. When most or all of the people you are around do it ‘this way’ there is no red flag raised in your thinking to question it, so you don’t. Their way becomes your way.
This is how your behavior and that of groups, families and societies is formed and why it appears to be ‘normal’. And the fact that many people behave in a certain way does not make it the best way, many times it is just the easiest way. It is easier to conform than to take a unique path. You don’t have to remain stuck in the mode of allowing fear thoughts to control your actions. You have command of your thinking so you can change the whole cycle or mental chain of events that occurs with fear. Initially the thoughts of doubt, and some uncertainty are normal when you are facing something new, different or challenging but you don’t need to let the heightened feelings well up and create this big fear thing that you then cater to.
You can change the way you look at doubt, worry and uncertainty. They are just certain thoughts questioning what you are about to do. “Am I prepared?” “What if ____?” “Maybe I won’t remember?” “How will they react?” “How do i look?” These are mostly logical concerns about what you are about to do and if you can answer them logically, without emotion, you can clear them up and soothe your mind. Some you can specifically answer and check off the list and others you will determine you can’t do anything about, so you do not concern yourself with it any more. Choose to leave out the doom and gloom thoughts, the “i can’t” thoughts that are not part of the original concerns – they are your reaction to those thoughts.
Just because you are concerned with how you look, dies not mean you should stop from doing it. Just because you are wondering if you are prepared or not does not mean to turn and run. Just because you have not done this before does not mean you can’t. Your interpretation and reaction to the logical progression of thought leading up to your planned action is what causes you to freeze up. But even when you allow the feeling of fear to well up over these thoughts, still does not mean you must behave in a certain way. You can proceed with the fear, don’t interpret the fear feelings as a stop sign. Just acknowledge those feelings and move on. Accept them, realize how they come about and let them be. Fear thoughts and feelings in themselves can’t do anything, only when you choose to react in specific ways do they. Choose not to react to them.
In acting they teach actors and actresses to channel their fear. It’s not that that many don’t have it, but it’s how they have learned to handle it. Many who perform live or speak in from of large groups are nervous every time before they do. But rather than letting this stop them they are able to channel the energy in the fear towards what they are doing. This actually transfers that heightened energy you notice with fear thoughts into their performance or presentation. Have you ever noticed that some performers seem to have a different ‘personality’ off stage than they do when they are performing? Many are quiet and reserved when talked to away from a performance, but when on stage they come alive with energy and boldness. I wonder where that comes from -re-directed fear perhaps.
Everyone has the ability to do this, to transfer that energy attached to fear thoughts onto something else, like what it is you want to do but feel afraid to. It’s really a matter of perspective, yes, how you look at something and how you interpret it determines what you will do with it. Have you noticed how that when you have chosen to do something you feared you did it with a higher energy level than you normally operate with? This is that energy re-directed to something of your choice, which better supports what you want.
In fact sometimes your energy is so high, in a calm way that you are ‘in the zone’ able to do what you are doing without much conscious thought. This is how powerful it can be to channel your fear associated energy onto the task at hand particularly if you are prepared to do it. As you may have found, even being prepared for something still does not prevent you from feeling fearful about actually doing it, but preparation does make it flow better once you get yourself to go.
Don’t allow your fears to slow or prevent your progression in life, choose to change the way you look at them so your personal dreams can be expressed fully. When you feel the fear and do it anyway, you choose to let it be and proceed as planned, and channel the fear energy into your planned actions to enhance your performance. As you do this, like with anything, over time it will get easier and easier. You will be actually re-training your unconscious thought patterns to automatically behave differently, to do it the way you want it done. Dropping the emotional reaction to logical thoughts can allow you to address them and move on. Once you have checked your hair, it’s good -stop dwelling about it.
Remember that you have command of your thinking not the other way around. It may seem that your thoughts and feelings run the show, but this is just because of the default programming that had been allowed to become established as you were developing. At the time you did not know any better or different so as to guide this development differently. But now you can change your perceptions of everything in your life, you can alter how you interpret everything that you see, and you can adjust your reactions to these as well which in turn changes your behavior. Choose what best supports; the life you want, what you want to do and how you want to feel.
One of the things that makes it tough to change your thinking is the attachment to existing thoughts.
At first you may think that you wouldn’t do such a thing when the new mode of thinking is what you think you want. And of course this is true, but there is the aspect of your mind that loves to hold on to what you know and are familiar with. It’s very much like how a magnet automatically attracts iron and steel. Your existing thoughts seem to have a power of their own. They don’t of course, other than through your allowing them to.
But the hard part comes with your not always being aware that these thoughts are even there. Your unconscious mind harbors these thoughts which are integrated into your base mental operating system
Two aspects that are very powerful with us humans are the desire for comfort and following the familiar. Even when thoughts are not really in our best interest but are familiar to us, we will gravitate towards them, craving what is known.
We generally have a hard time facing the unknown, thus we shy away from it rather more often seeking what is known and comfortable. In our desire to eliminate the unknown, we attempt to define, categorize and organize everything to put it all into neat order that we can feel comfortable with.
This of course can not actually be done. In reality everything is in constant change, but because we are generally uncomfortable with new and different, we seek the known no matter how inappropriate it may be for us. This is also why thoughts and actions that don’t serve your best interest are so readily held onto and acted upon automatically in your unconscious mind.
“Change is inevitable, growth is intentional.” — Glenda Cloud
Part of your mind is trying to help you feel comfortable by building a database of what you have already experienced and use this as often as possible to help you feel good. One of the basic human drives is to feel good and our unconscious mind is geared to help accomplish this.
I know, how can doing something that is harmful such as a bad habit be comfortable? It can in the sense that it is known. It is more comfortable than what you have not done before because at least it is known to you. As you know many people will hang on to some very destructive habits without knowing why. This is one of the main reasons why change is so difficult.
For the most part you are unaware of this mental activity as your unconscious mind efficiently streamlines many of your thought processes. Don’t get upset with your brain, it’s just doing it’s job. Just imagine if you had to consciously think about everything your mind did – you wouldn’t have time to do anything above your basic life support, if that.
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.” — Abraham H. Maslow
Our unconscious mind, much like a computer operating system, performs many functions without our need to be aware of them. But also like a computer program, your automatic brain functions can be altered. As a programmer can go in and change a program such as Microsoft Word and get it to perform different functions, you can change many of your basic thoughts, feelings and perceptions that automatically guide your behavior.
The question is – are you willing to face your basic comfort seeking programming in order to experience something new and different in your life? You must choose to step into the unknown, into what is new to you and away from what you have been deriving some comfort from. On the surface this seems and feels unnatural – but it’s not.
Learning to face and accept the uncertainty of the unknown releases your ability to change your lot in life, realize your potential and increase your happiness.
Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.”
This applies here with your perceptions about the unknown, comfort and feeling good. When you change how you look at change, the unknown, anything new, you can affect your related behavior and how your automatic unconscious mind tries to keep you away from it.
Your life is designed to continuously develop with you becoming more of what you are capable of as you go along. When you allow yourself to shy away from change you are actually stopping this free flow of growth. When you see something new as being somewhat painful because it is different, this is a perception – a choice. Something new and different does not come with discomfort attached that is your doing. Nothing comes with perceptions or emotional feelings attached – that is all of our doing.
One of the most powerful self-help methods is totally free. Ask yourself questions, the right questions. Your subconscious will seek to answer your serious heartfelt questions. And questions can be used to assist with changing the way you perceive the unknown and change so that you welcome it rather than avoid it.
Ask yourself, “How can this be beneficial to me?”
“How can this be more beneficial than remaining as I have for so long?”
“How can this, new and different activity, better support the life I want?”
The questions you can ask are endless. It will take a little practice to figure out what to ask, just keep playing with it – having the intent of creating effective questions you will discover the right questions for your situatuion. You will also likely need to learn to listen for the answers. Quieting the incessant mind chatter is necessary and can be done in various ways such as breathing and meditation.
Another angle for questions is to ask yourself why you feel as you do about change, comfort, happiness, new and different to see if you can get clarity into your perceptions about them. This then allows you to see what you don’t want which then leads to the opposite, what you DO want.
Take the position mentally that something new and different is basically good and beneficial, ask questions seeking how this is. Rather than your old way of looking at change as uncomfortable and undesirable. Look for the benefits, not the detriments – this is a change of perception. Your emotional feelings will follow your perceptions, you will feel different about change when you look at it differently.
Be proactive with how you look at things, choose the perceptions that best support the life you are meant to live. Just because you have had a certain perception now does not mean you must keep it forever. The first step is to change the way you look at change.
“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.” — Herbert A. Otto
John Halderman teaches and writes in the areas of personal growth and development focusing on effective methods for self actualization, increased satisfaction and happiness. For more: