Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fear



Quote of the month:
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience
in which you really stop to look fear in the face....
You must do the thing you think you cannot.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Back in the days of cavemen, one might find themselves running in fear for their lives from a tiger, a lion or other wild animal. Today, most of us are not physically running for survival, but fear still plays a role in our every day lives.

As the caveman, most, if not all of us have fears that we are also running from. In our case, the "something" we are running from is generally of an emotional nature rather than physical nature....and many times we are not fully aware of it. We looked at this in the December blog, during the Why Process. That process attempts to clarify just what it is that causes you stress. Underneath that stress, is something that scares you.

Let's take a simple example.....
From
November's post, we talked about attachments and how at different stages of our lives we identified with different things..... a child with a bike, a teen with a car, with clothing or with friends.... We talked about how a teenager might act on emotion when it comes to any of the things listed. and how a teenage boy might over-react by hitting someone, if they scratch his new car.

Breaking that down, what is going on there? Is he running from something, similar to the caveman? We are going on the assumption that the boy is identified with the car. He feels like he IS the car, or that the car represents something about who he is. So, a simple why process (see December's post for more information) might go something like this.....

Why did you hit that guy?
I'm mad!
Why?

He scratched my car.
Why does that make you feel mad?
Now my car doesn't look good!
So? It still runs. Why does the scratch make you mad?
(Think why is it this way for you? vs. Why it might make me angry.)
If my car doesn't look good, it makes me not look good.
It's just a car. How does it do that?
If I don't look good..... I might not get a date....
or If I don't look good.... the guys might not think I am cool..... etc.

Do you see the fear underneath the anger? The outward appearance is anger, but what is causing it beneath is the fear that he won't be seen as cool, or the fear that he will not get a date?

Of course this is a simplistic example, but the simplicity of this can be applied to other situations our every day life. Substitute a father yelling at a little league coach for the teen age boy, and a perceived "bad call" for the scratch on the car. Or substitute an angry driver with road rage for the teenager, and someone passing them or making a mistake while driving near them for the scratch.

Here is another example.... a child cheating on a test.....

Why did you cheat?
Because I have to get good grades.
Why?
So I can go to a good college.
But why did you cheat?
I am not smart enough to do it on my own.

In this case, substitute a job for the test and taking credit for someone else's hard work for cheating....

It is also important to note that the Why? can be different for everyone. The outward behavior of taking the credit may be the same, but the fear underneath could be varied.
For one person it might be looking good,
another being successful,
another might be afraid that the boss doesn't like them,
another might want to impress their spouse,
another might be out for more money, power, prestige, etc.
The list is really endless.

Although an over generalized statement, for the most part, "bad" or negative behavior is generally an indicator of some sort of fear underneath causing the behavior.

If you don't think this applies to you, let's go back and revisit your Why Process. Remember when you came up with something that was causing you stress? And asked yourself why....

It may take some time, but at the core, you eventually will get to a fear of some sort....but that is the good news!!! At least when you really know what is driving your behavior, you have the opportunity to do something about it. I also want to add here (and it may be the topic of a future blog) that there is no right and wrong here and no judgment. These are areas of your own life that you identified as causing you stress. The idea is to understand that you have a choice to experience your life differently and that we ALL have these types of fears.

The problem is, when you feel the fear of a lion or tiger chasing you....you run! One does not always think rationally in that situation. The intention of this month's post is to suggest that you look a little deeper at the things in your life that are causing you stress and consider the possibility that you may be in fear about something. If you can do this... I'll say again, that really is the good news! Once you see the "tiger," you can do as Eleanor Roosevelt suggests in the quote above.... and turn around, stand your ground, stare it in the face and not back down. More on that in a future post!

To continue reading next month's post on You Can't do it Wrong! click here.

I would love to hear your feedback as well as any questions you may have or topics you may be interested in for the future. You may comment at the bottom at the blog where it says "comments" or if you prefer, send them to me directly at penelope@simplyspirituality.com . All posts will be archived on my blog along with other useful information at: Simply Spirituality or http://simplyspirituality.blogspot.com/

Until next month....
Here's hoping you keep your spirituality simple!
Penelope


Picture of the month:
Lion, Lion Country, FL, March 2001