Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift
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It′s Time to Take Back Your Life
Fear takes many forms -- dread, panic, anxiety, self-consciousness, superstition, and negativity -- and manifests itself in many ways -- avoidance, procrastination, judgment, control, and agitation, to name just a few. Whether we are afraid of the dark or being alone, of failure or commitment, of public speaking or flying, fear dominates our lives, affecting nearly every decision we make.
Combining compelling stories from the author′s twenty-five-year practice, examples from his own struggles with addiction and depression, and practical exercises and tools, Embracing Fear does not pretend to teach the impossible and eliminate fear, but rather shows us that once we understand it we can live beyond its tyrannical control. Instead of repressing or ignoring the voices of panic and dread, we learn that it is only through facing, exploring, accepting, and responding to fear that we free ourselves from its paralyzing grip.
put you into the mini-movie, making it a subjective experience. It is important to remember the Nutshell on my wall that reads: “Forget about finding the right answers; just make a list of some very good questions.” 140 / Embracing Fear Good questions are powerful. Like magnets, they attract information to us. I listen for the questions that my clients might be asking without knowing it. And when, in the collaborative spirit of the therapy, we have mined out a good question or two, I recommend
process was at work. After a couple of conversations on the subject, it was ultimately Jenni who answered her own question—to my benefit and now to yours. 149 150 / Embracing Fear “The bricks are life itself,” Jenni explained. “Each brick represents a different aspect of life, and some bricks are very specific events.” “Do you mind if I write this down?” I asked her. I could tell she was making an important contribution to understanding, and therefore benefiting from, the wall metaphor. “The
face the fear; explore it; accept it; and respond to it. These four steps, designed to transform your relationship with fear, will make the difference between a life well lived and a big brick wall. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The first question here is where we find a contaminate for our mortar. How do we weaken the fears? The answer is that we move directly toward them. The strongest fears are the unexamined fears. Like vampires, our fears do not fare well in the bright light of day.
trying to help. Virginia smiled. I could tell she had “heard” an instant answer to my question. “What is it?” I asked. “Well it’s not very nice,” she said. “This is therapy. You don’t have to be nice,” I assured her. “F—k you.” “What?” I’m not often caught off guard in therapy sessions anymore, but this took me by surprise. 176 / Embracing Fear “F—k you,” Virginia repeated. “That’s what the attitude says.” Virginia and I discovered what she eventually named her “Quiet Rebel.” In the face of
advisors, the Ally and the Bully. Or just keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings as you read. I tell therapy clients that keeping a journal can save them time and money because sometimes sitting down with a journal can be as productive as a good therapy session. And as you will see, many of the therapy exercises I describe easily translate into writing exercises. After giving it a fair chance, if you decide it doesn’t fit with your personal style, then let it go. But maybe you will