Facing Fear

When we are dealing with individuals, and placing physical and psychological challenges in front of them, there is one thing we MUST be aware of – their individual breaking points, and the fear that comes with that. It’s interesting what drives each of us both towards and away from challenges, and the individual perceptions we can have from the same story and situation. What one person sees as threatening, another views as inspiring. So what is fear, and why is it essential in our lives?

Fear is a vital response to both physical and emotional dangers—and it’s a feeling that is uncomfortable, but also allows us to protect ourselves from legitimate threats. What’s so interesting with fear is that in most situations where we experience fear the actual situation is in no way a real life-or-death moment. Traumas, and bad experiences, can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to stop. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal fears and inner demons is the best way to move past them.

The term ‘Fight or Flight’ is very much about fear, meaning you are going to stay and work through it, or flee the scene and pretend the fear is not there. Biologically fear is a warning signal that death, injury or destruction is imminent, and it is designed to cause the perceiver to avoid the dangerous situation. Psychologically the victim of fear perceives a threat to his identity which he experiences as a loss of control, subsequently fear is capable of generating more fear, and a victim of fear can find himself in a nightmare of his own making if he allows his imagination to get out of hand and does not successfully reimpose control on the situation.

Once an individual perceives himself in control, he must maintain that control until the situation stabilizes. If his control falters, he will enter a vicious cycle of control and loss of control, and thereby facilitate the start of a panic reaction. As health practitioners we have a responsibility to assist our clients in becoming aware of their fears and barriers to progressing towards their goals. We then have to follow up by assisting them to respond appropriately to those fears and recognise they have the power to overcome these fears. Never judge your clients fears, but rather see it as a challenge for yourself to guide them through something that without you they may never address. You’ll not only be a valuable resource to them, but they may just prove to be an inspiration to you.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” (Marianne Williamson)

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