Posts Tagged ‘fear’
Even though this video was about how cute animals are, I could not help thinking how wonderful the big dog was at encouraging the little puppy to try something it thought was too hard. It did not bark, it did not push, it did not show disappointment. It simply let by example. It did not give up when it did not work the first time, or even the first three ties. It kept doing it again and again, until the puppy was confident enough to try it for himself.
Parenting is the same. When we want our kids to do things that they are afraid to do, we need to show them how we do it. Again and again. Without shouting, telling them they are small and unable, calling them names or showing disappointment. We do not even need to push them to do the things they cannot do, do not want to do, or are afraid to do. We need to lead by example. Again and again. Until our kids are confident enough to do it themselves.
Human behavior was always something that fascinated me. During my studies I learned about the difference between what people think they do and what they actually do. Since then I have been hooked. You see, when we are under pressure, we react differently to when we have time to think, analyze and react at our own pace.
Some people say that under pressure, we reveal our true selves. Others think it is the opposite – we are ourselves all the time and the ugly side of us comes out when we are pushed. I tend to think that when we are under pressure, our reptilian brain, the one in charge of “fight or flight”, takes over. Like a survival mechanism, we react instinctively to protect ourselves when we are stressed or we think we are in danger (whether that danger is real or perceived).
Often times, we see other people’s poor behavior and say, “Oh, I would have done it differently. I would have done such and such and I would have said so and so”. The truth is, we can speculate about what we might have said until we are blue in the face but until we are in a stressful situation, we will not know how we will react.
The first 4 needs we discussed (variety and certainty, significance and love and connection) may interfere with each other and are in constant strive for balance. The last two needs that people have are the need for growth and for contribution. Unlike the first 4 needs, these needs help and support each other in order to achieve a higher level of fulfillment.
It is estimated that we need to have our first four needs met before we are able to grow and contribute. For example, it is very hard for people to give when they do not have certainty. Think about it. How easy is it for someone to give their time when they are working 14 hours each day to provide for their family? How easy is it for you to invest in growing, learning, developing, when you are busy trying to fit in with others who think learning and developing are not socially favorable? Not very easy, right?
Schools struggle a lot with the increased use of mobile phones by children. Many new regulations are in place to stop children from bringing mobile phone to school. At a primary school level, some schools ask the students to deposit their mobile phones at the office. In high schools, the phone devices are part of everyday life and a regular item in each class. In the past, teachers had to deal with the concentration and focus of the children. Now, they need to fight the attraction of the mobile phones as well!
With the introduction of mobile phones, one new problem that teachers to deal with is cheating on tests. In the past, students had to think of very sophisticated ways of writing cheat shits on paper, on their hand, the back of the ruler or the calculator. Kids today have a very handy way to keep the information and they use it well.
A survey conducted by a media sources with some common sense discovered that a third of teens with mobiles admitted to storing information on their phone, using it in an exam or texting their friends the answers while their friends are in the exam.
Some goals are very hard to reach. That is why climbing is often used as an inspirational metaphor. Imagine yourself wanting to reach the top of a very high mountain. You know that it is going to be hard and maybe even long. You can prepare yourself for some of the paths you will need to take to reach the top of the mountain, but for others, you can’t.
In life coaching, we say that we can only work on the things we can prepare for. Why? Because “we do not know what we do not know” so we cannot prepare for it. We are not fortune tellers. Often we are able to think of a few challenges we might encounter on the road to wherever we are going, but we never know exactly what we will face. We cannot carry absolutely everything we might need for any possible unforeseen event.
Every mountain requires a climb. Sometimes the hill is steep and sometimes it is moderate. Some people have smaller legs and they need more steps, while others have giant legs and require less energy. Sometimes, you are physically strong, have lots of muscles and can run up the hill. Sometimes, you are a bit weaker and must rest every 2 meters. Regardless of your circumstances, climbing requires effort. The thing that determines if we make it to the top is whether we believe we can. Because as the saying goes, “if you believe you can or believe you can’t, you are right”.
As I wrote before in the letting go series, attachments bring us comfort and stability, but once we make an attachment part of our identity, change becomes an enemy. Do not get me wrong, attachment is important. It is when we panic, see change as a threat and go into “fight or flight” mode (subconsciously) that things get out of control.
Some people are very terrified of change. They can manage the devil they know and although they complain about it, they do not have the skills, courage and strength to do anything different.
Fear of change creates many conflicts in relationships, even when we talk about our relationship with ourselves. It is always a conflict between one side’s attachment and the other side’s comfort zone. Whether you are on the side that wants the other to change or you are the one being asked to change, you have an attachment. The person who wants the other to change is attached to an outcome in their mind and the person who is being asked to change is attached to what they are currently doing, thinking or feeling. The desire to change someone else in this format creates a lose-lose situation. Fear of change limits movement and the desire to change limits peace of mind.
People think in words. Every thought, feeling and idea we have, we give it a name. Naming (or labeling) is a very easy way to experience the world. Think of the color pallet. If you work with computers, you know that when choosing a color, it is not good enough to say “red”, because there are many shades of red, but in our life as humans and not computers, whenever we talk about scarlet, burgundy, ruby, magenta, maroon, coral or rose, we simply say “red”. Life is so much easier that way.
Words can be empowering or limiting. They can be our protectors, our guardian angels, or our demons, our tormentors. People who value words very much and find their power may wonder, “How can words be limiting?”
I think they are limiting for two reasons: they cannot describe the whole range of human experiences they make it difficult to recognize change.
When making a choice about letting go of some of our habits, letting go of the power we give words is highly important and can provide a lot of comfort and peace of mind. Think about it this way: using words to describe an experience is like trying to fit a giant into a space large enough for a grain of sand.
One of the ways in which words can limit us is negative self-talk.
From the moment we are born, time is a great challenge for us. We learn to read the clock around the age of 6 or 7 and we build our life around the time, but we do never have a good understanding of time. Although we all have the same amount of time, we treat it differently.
The movie In Time is a wonderful masterpiece about our relationship with time. The movie Tuck Everlasting is another wonderful attempt, examining life without the limitation of time. The concept of time is so interesting for me that I have dedicated a whole book to our existence in this puzzle of past, present and future. In this book, I do not claim to understand time, just to explore it. I think that time can be a servant or a master and that we can be trapped in time or freed by it.
One of the biggest miseries of life is to be trapped in a time we no longer have control over – the past. Many of my clients come to coaching to understand this and to free themselves from the pain of the past. If you have had a chance to read the previous chapter about blame and justification, you probably understand the limitations of living in the past and allowing the past to limit. Whenever we have a bad experience and we use the past to justify it, we keep ourselves stuck.
Our life works so that we are born into living up to others’ expectations. It starts with fitting into our parents’ expectations and then goes through 12-15 years of living up to our teachers’ expectations and nothing at all focuses on living up to our own expectations. In fact, as I recall from my early years, adults said to me over and over again that life was not about what I expected while they did everything in their power to make me fit their expectations.
There are several problems with living life that way and the common thing between them is that they are motivated by the fear of not matching others’ expectations.
Let go of living up to others’ expectations by speaking your mind, by listening to your gut feelings and by aligning your beliefs, values and rules to match them. Use your feelings as a guide. I am not suggesting that you live in the world on your own to minimize external influences, but whatever comes from the outside, ask yourself, “Does this match my feelings? Does this match what I believe? Does it feel right to me?”
In the next chapters of The Art of Letting Go, I will present a list of attachments. Letting them go is guaranteed to make your life easier and happier. Each example will include some activities and I promise that paying attention and doing the exercises will produce results. Also, I will add some inspirational quotes about each kind of attachment. You can use these quotes to remind yourself it is best to get these attachments out of your system, because they only bring disappointment, sadness and grief. So acknowledge them and let them go!
Fear is a belief that something will turn out badly in the future. When people are afraid, they go in their mind to the future and imagine a negative outcome. Many people are attached to their beliefs because they think that being afraid of something will reduce the chances of it happening or even guarantee it will not happen. In a sense, they are trying to control the future. In fact, nobody can do that. We were not born fortunetellers and maybe for a reason. There is no need to try and do it in our mind, so just let go of the desire to do it.
Being afraid is only natural. We have instincts that trigger fear to protect us from danger. Unfortunately, while those instincts were meant to protect us from threats to our survival, many of us today consider discomfort and stress as dangerous enough to trigger a “fight or flight” response. When we are afraid, we react as if we are in danger and our reaction is not proportional. After all, we will not die if things do not turn out the way we want them to or when someone is not happy with what we are doing.