Fear is a learned behaviour. When we are born, we have no fear but we learn fast, from those around us and from things that happen to us. Fear is good! It keeps us safe. However, sometimes these fears, phobias, worries, and anxieties can escalate to become very challenging.
Something that may have happened to us as a baby or child stays in our subconscious and can be triggered later in life potentially causing negative feelings, so we can end up having a panic attack and not understand why. The reason this happens is that everything we have experienced is filtered in our brains and is matched with an “appropriate” reaction. This pattern matching of a stimulus to a response would have, in the past, led to survival, so, despite how it makes us feel now, it is actually doing this to keep us safe.
We are all fearful of something. In my work, I have never met anyone who doesn’t have something they are frightened of. It may be that it’s not particularly limiting to them, but it’s still there, their monster under the bed!
So, how do we manage fear?
What if we don’t fight it but embrace it as fully as we can, whilst still experiencing the difficult physical symptoms that we feel? When we resist, the fear itself takes hold and intensifies. By feeling it fully and understanding what is going on, we are able to then harness the energy the fear creates and use it to feel better.
This is where courage comes in. Courage is another learned behaviour and one that we can become more proficient at. Children are good at this. When we are young we are always being encouraged to trust and try it… “Come on, be brave! Jump in, the water’s lovely, I’ll catch you!” and, they do. They take that leap of faith, and they jump!
Courage and bravery are skills that we, as adults, can grow and develop to feel more empowered.
I am currently working with a 9-year-old boy who has a fear of dogs. As a toddler in a pushchair a dog barked and jumped up at him and both he and his mother were very frightened. He understands that not every dog in the park is going to hurt him, but he can’t help his reaction, because it is a response he has learned.
In my work, I am able to reverse fear with an extraordinary therapy called BWRT®, a profound therapeutic intervention and more effective and successful than anything that has existed to date in the treatment of fears and can dissolve problems almost instantaneously.
My 9-year-old client now feels much better. Interestingly, he is now walking with a friend’s dog every day. He holds the lead, runs with the dog, throws the ball, and now wants one of his own! He has totally faced his fear and he is feeling empowered and happy as a result of this. The other dogs in the park don’t worry him anymore.
So, I would urge anyone who is struggling to take that leap of faith. Be brave and face your monster under the bed! Your only limit is your mind. Too often we just accept the ways things are. You can learn the courage to face your fears and to surf the waves!