If you haven’t read the last post, “Discerning what is fake and what is real” then STOP right now and read that before this post.
Okay, now that you have, let’s continue.
Why does it help to be exposed to your fears? Because you realize how irrational they are. One of two things happens when you face your fear. It comes true or it doesn’t. But how often do your fears actually come true? Obviously bad things can happen, but what is more debilitating? The fact that the fear came true or that you lived in fear for so long. Even if your fears come true, for the most part, things work out with time. You may think this is naive of me and you’re probably right, but I believe the majority of fears seem worse in our minds than they really are and the real consequence to our fears is that we don’t stand up to them.
I remember one friend of mine who had an irrational fear of germs. He was convinced that if he did not wash his hands more than 10 times an hour then he would get infected and die! That seems crazy to us, but to him it was real – just like when you see a horror movie (see previous post).
His exposure therapy was to stop washing his hands. He went a step further. His mom dropped a piece of cake on the floor and he, despite his conviction that he would die, ate it. I bet it tasted good too. Crazily enough… he didn’t die!!! I know right?!?! He was shocked too! (Sarcasm) Now as silly as that may seem to you, you have irrational fears that would seem silly to him and like him you need to stand up to them.
Although this was difficult for him, he did similar experiments with his fear of germs on a daily basis until he overcame his fear. I did the same thing with heights. To me it is still an irrational fear but I won’t let it decide my actions. I’ve been skydiving, bungee jumping, canyoneering, rappelling, rock climbing and have done many more activities that deal with heights, but I haven’t overcome that fear. I have learned to deal with it and oddly enough I am still alive! Face your fears. If your fears are debilitating enough seek professional help. If you’re afraid to see a therapist then go and see him! If you’re afraid to talk with your parents then go and talk to them! Don’t let your fears dictate who you are and what you will do. Face them today.