… fear itself

We all have our bug-bears and mine is, most definitely, fear. The prospect of bad news, or financial difficulty, or being in any kind of trouble with the authorities has me paralysed with fear. I think that what I really dread is not so much the difficulty as the fear. It is the waiting game, the trickle of apprehension.

I had a bad patch of it recently, but suddenly this morning I woke up feeling able to take a real pleasure in surmounting difficulties. I flipped suddenly from cowering in a corner to coming out relishing the challenges ahead. Because the daft thing about the fear is that I am a person who thrives on a good challenge. I rather enjoy having too much to do and too little time to do it in, of having a new skill to master and a short time to accomplish it. It is reported of me that as a toddler, my favourite phrase was ‘Buba (me) do own self’ and I’ve not changed much, though I can now ask effectively for help. The idea that, running short on the dosh, I might need to tackle a difficult job myself does not really upset me at all. I have an insane confidence that I can do it. Sometimes I can – sometimes I have needed to call for urgent help. The last time being when, with a wedding approaching, and the bride’s coat still not completed, I found the dress could not be sewn by machine. I was not nearly upset enough at the hours a good friend spent rescuing the situation with her very superior sewing skills.

So why, given that the actual situation does not terrify me, does the waiting game of fear paralyse me? It is plain the opposite of fear is not confidence. Perhaps it is faith? (Genuine question!)

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6 responses to “… fear itself

  1. we do a session where I work called primary and secondary poo – i.e. there is the tricky, unpleasant, challenging thing its self the ‘primary poo’ and a whole second layer of poo which is the distress we create for ourselves about the primary poo – fear, the struggle not to be afraid, getting stuck in the past or the future, ruminating about guilt or blame etc etc. The secondary poo is entirely natural and pretty much pointless. The more we are able to be ‘in the present moment’ the less the secondary poo grows.

  2. rosemaryhannah

    The religious formulation of that would be ‘Engage in prayerful activity and trust in God.’

    Unfortunately, a degree of foresight is what brings about human success – we defer pleasures and work for future achievements. We even (and the dogs know this is wrong, wrong, wrong) keep the left overs for tomorrows dinner. (The cat knows it is wrong, too, and is more successful at preventing it)

  3. There is nothing wrong with forsight or forward planning or being human, its about being able to notice when we are dwelling or ruminating in a way that is holding us back rather than helping.

  4. rosemaryhannah

    Ah, but I rather suspect that only Sergeant Carrot can actually manage to turn off the negative emotions when he recognises them.

  5. I suspect no one can ‘turn off’ negative emotions, anyway I would challenge the whole notion of negative emotions anyway – its what we do with emotion, not the feeling itself which causes problems. Isn’t that the point of your post?

  6. rosemaryhannah

    The thing is, I know the things I stress over. I know when I am stressing. Sometimes it does help – I can decide what action to take in a more informed way. For instance I decided on fore and aft parking sensors n the new car, because I foresaw how I would react to stress and a modest parking space.

    Sometimes I fail to see how knowing I am stressing over something helps at all – for instance when I know I need professional advice and cannot get it, and get more and more worried over its non appearance. I know that worrying will not help. Yet I worry.

    (When Sgt. Carrot’s were-wolf girlfriend was kidnapped he got an early night because it would help him deal with the situation next day. Commander Vimes commented sadly that Carrot really would be sure to sleep soundly that night, because he knew it would help the situation.)

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