Sunday, November 25, 2007

Facing Fears

What value is there in facing your fears? What is there to gain in reliving painful experiences? Does it change anything to acknowledge you have been hurt?

The point of facing your fears is that it allows you to eventually move through it. But before you move through it, you have to acknowledge the pain. You have to allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. You have to allow yourself to feel all the emotions that come up for you as you face your fears. No matter what those feelings may be. Usually there are a myriad of emotions to deal with when you confront your fears, especially if you have avoided dealing with them for years. You may have feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, helplessness, vulnerability and rage. It may be helpful to remember this phrase,
“ If it is coming up, then it is on its way out.”


So how do you begin to face your fears? You do it by to telling your story. Write it out. Chronicle exactly what happened. At first you may think you are unable to recall all the details, especially if it happened a long time ago. However, as you write, you may recall memories long forgotten. It is also important to describe how you feel or felt about what happened. Describe in detail what emotions come up for you. Once you allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, you can get to the other side.

The story I had to tell to face my fears was about my dad. After he passed away I came to realize that I still struggled with facets of our relationship. Initially, I really did not see the point in relieving all the ways my dad disappointed me. He was dead now. What was the point? What could be the benefit in reliving those painful memories? Despite these objections, I began to write my story.

I recounted the countless times my dad did not show through, as promised. It was a hard story to tell even to myself. At times I wept uncontrollably. At other times my rage was so intense it was palatable. It was incredible to me how many different emotions I felt and how real they all were, as if the events I was retelling had just happened moments ago instead of over a decade ago.

What was the point in that painful exercise? I did indeed move through those feelings and came out on the other side.

On that other side I had some new insights. One insight I discovered was how stuffing those feelings about my dad, over time, impacted my personality, my choices and my relationships. By retelling that story I also gained an entirely new perspective on that painful experience. Eventually, after allowing myself to feel all those emotions I had been stuffing for so many years, I began to feel lighter like a weight had been lifted.

What happened next was really unexpected. I found that I had transformed into a higher version of myself, a more authentic version of who I really am. This new insight even made me feel grateful for that painful experience because I liked who I grew to be because of it.

Facing your fears enables you to rid yourself of buried emotions. By coming to face-to-face with what you are afraid of, you are able to free yourself. You also offer yourself an opportunity to grow from the experience. In the end, you may discover you like YOU not in spite of what happened to you but because of what happened to you.

4 comments:

Christine OKelly said...

wow... this is an incredible post! Your insight about managing fear runs very deep. I think that learning to manage fear may be one of the most critical factors in our success - but that's easier said than done!

T. Dorsey said...

Thanks Christine! Managing fear IS one of the most critical factors to success. In your post,How to Achieve Ridiculous Goals, you suggest creating negative consequences for failures. That's really got me thinking about being bolder about setting goals and facing MY fears!

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TAHIRA said...

Thank you for the positive feedback.