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  • Fear Based Thinking...

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    30 posts, 18 voices, 2055 views, started Jun 25, 2009

    Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2009

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      Carnelian
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      Hey Ladies,
      I ran across this article today while I was reading about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and thought you may enjoy reading it.
      How would you describe your train of thought at the present time? Have you gone through times in your life when you’ve found yourself scared to take another step in life due to fear? Please share...  

      I write a Tuesday column for the Huffington Post. In my most recent column about "Why rational thinking is not all it's cracked up to be?" a reader commented that my example of a paranoid client was not a good one as paranoia is not rational. I did not say that it was, but used it in the column as an example of how our brains can go wrong and we can still believe them. It struck me that paranoia is a not-so-distant relative of fear. In fact, it is often defined as excessive fear. But when is fear excessive? What are the implications of this?

      There are many situations in which fear is protective. If you were walking in a dark alley in a dangerous area, you might become afraid. If you were about to encounter a dangerous animal, fear would be helpful. In these instances, fear is obviously helpful and informs us about something to avoid. However, there are also situations when fear is harmful. For example, fear of airplanes may limit a person's ability to travel, and fear of public speaking may limit a person's ability to express himself or herself. In these examples, the role of fear is obvious. But what about a time like we are in now-when fear based thinking is so rampant?  

      Fear-based thinking can affect us much in the way in which paranoia does. A colleague of mine once drew my attention to how fear and hope have so much in common. They are both expressions of a willingness to invest in an unknown future, except that we are often much more comfortable with fear than with hope. Why are we willing to invest in an unknown future with fear and not hope? If they are both unknown, why not choose hope?

      Hope is an attitude of willingness to explore. In being hopeful, we are essentially tuning our perceptions to find what we are looking for. If we looking for a needle in a haystack, by tuning in to all things thin, long, sharp and silver, we would be more likely to find the needle. Similarly, by tuning into what we hope for, we have a greater chance of finding what we want.

      If we look for things with the instruction of fear, we will also find what we are looking for. If we look for disappointment, we will find it. If we look for sadness and loss of things and love, we will find this too. The more I think about "possibility", the more I realize that in the phenomenal world, everything and its opposite is there for the taking. Good and bad health, happiness and sadness, wealth and poverty: these all exist in the world. When we hope, we shine a light on the positive and find those things. When we fear, we shine a light on the negative and find those things. We often rationalize life based on what we have found. During the recession, all eyes are on all things falling: money, houses and jobs. They are in the spotlight. True, they are happening. And the spotlight is on them. But I write this in order to caution against confusing what is happening with what your journey is.

      If you were looking for a needle in a haystack and you suddenly poked yourself while lifting up bundles of hay but still couldn't find the haystack, what would you do? You would wash the wound, and put a band-aid on it. But would you return to looking for the needle. If you had hope of finding it, you would. If you had fear of being poked again, you would not.

      Fear becomes counterproductive long before it becomes paranoia. And just as the paranoid person cannot see his or her paranoia, we cannot see our own fears very well either. But that does not matter. Finding fear is not the only way of handling it. Replacing it with hope is another option.

      William James was a medical doctor and prominent philosopher and psychologist at Harvard. In his essay "The Will to Believe", he eloquently describes the position that we find ourselves in, and a rationale to support hope: "...We stand on a mountain pass in the midst of whirling snow and blinding mist through which we get glimpses now and then of paths which may be deceptive. If we stand still we shall be frozen to death. If we take the wrong road we shall be dashed to pieces. We do not certainly know whether there is any right one. What must we do? ’ Be strong and of a good courage.’ Act for the best, hope for the best, and take what comes. . . . If death ends all, we cannot meet death better..."

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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Denise Richardson wrote Jun 25, 2009
        • happyWOW! great post Angela, I think reading the book Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere will also help too! I’m currently reading it and find that there are some things in a person’s life we may not know intimidates us but I’m finding as I read this book that it holds true. Who Knew? but it is helping me an aweful lot, most people would say they are not intimidated by anything I thought the same thing until I read the first few chapters in this book.



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          Max0125 wrote Jun 25, 2009
        • Angela, I always love your posts, and this one is no exception! I have had to overcome a lot of fear in my life. Now that I look back, I realize that I should have not caved in to it, but I honestly belive that it is one of my many life obstacles to overcome. I was raised with fear and always thought that somehow people felt that they are somehow safer if they lived in fear and worry. Instead of giving in to fear, I become inspired by quotes. Here are a few of my favorites.

          Fear knocked on the door. Faith answered. Noone was there.

          FEAR- False Evidence Appearing Real

          Feel the fear and do it anyway.

          “Every time we chose safety, we reinforce fear” Cheri Huber

          Neicy, thanks for the book recommendation. I will have to look up that book.



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          Angela 'Cocco' Williams wrote Jun 25, 2009
        • Wonderful Post Angela thank you. As I was reading I wondered what things make me afraid and I realized everything does. I realized that I really think hard about everything that I am doing. I do it because its wise, but I also do it out of fear. Fear of doing the wrong thing, fear of not being obedient to what I believe is God talking to me and also out of the fear of having regrets later. Some would say that, that is healthy fear, but the bible says that God doesn't give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and sound mind. Knowing this I understand that fear is not of God. Im not trying to be super spiritual Im just saying that I believe God. In hindsight when I look back and reherse the victories Ive had in my life, I know that I moved out of FAITH. Fear does one of two things to me, it either criples me or propels me. Most times it was the later.  When I am faced with something that scares me I look at it as a lining up of things. I know that If I just trust God everything is gonna be alright because Im not in control anyway God is. This is my acronym for FEAR. Finally-Everythings- Arranged- Right! I say that because I realized that I can do nothing in my own strength but "Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world" and "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me" in that I am confident that everything will be okay.  The one fear that I do agree with is this one; "Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom".  Be blessed friend.



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          Laurie Zieber wrote Jun 25, 2009
        • Angela,  

          Historically, I don’t handle fear well and fear manifested itself in my life as anger and then the unresolved anger grew into depression. As a result of my background, most of the efforts in my early life were in pursuit of feeling like I was in control. I attempted to control everyone and everything in my life.
          Whenever I felt that my control was threatened, sheer panic would rise within me- and the cycle began again. Fear, anger, depression, attempt to control.  

          Alas, any sense of control I had was an illusion. So, you can imagine how fearful and angry and depressed I was for many, many years. I made so many life altering decisions from in search of that sense of control and from that deep place of fear.  I was a “hot mess” as Neicy would say!

          Your article speaks to me and reminds me of how far I have journeyed from those hopeless years that I was completely miserable and held captive by the cycles that I created for myself. Finally,these days, the only control I seek to practice is self control.

          Thanks for posting this, it encouraged me. Sometimes you don’t know realize the level of the pain you were in until you realize that the pain is gone.



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          Marilyn09 wrote Jun 25, 2009
        • worried  So much to think about.

          Fear vs Hope

          I think of the Daffy Duck cartoon. On one shoulder is a little devil and on the other is a little angel.



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          Janet Wooley wrote Jun 25, 2009
        • Would you say then that fear is a choice?



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          Marilyn09 wrote Jun 26, 2009
        • estatic  If I could wish on a star right now... I would wish that everyone wakes up to a bright beautiful morning where only love exists. And no one ever feared anything.



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          Angela 'Cocco' Williams wrote Jun 26, 2009
        • Your welcome Angela. That is my own acronym. God gave it to me and I remember it everytime I start to feel fear. It is when Im shaking in my boots that I PUSH-Persevere Until Something Happens It is because I know that God is carrying me and its gonna be alright.  Blessings Sis.



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          Vikki Hall wrote Jun 26, 2009
        • Great post!

          If I was to give this ALOT of thought I may come up with more fears. But I tend to be the type who does not over think too much. I try to be proactive vs reactive. But if I find I have to react I rely on my gut to tell me instantly what to do.
          Now with that being said I used to fear dying before my children could take care of themselves. After all who would then take care of them? The evil stepmother who made them sleep on the floor when they visited? That was my biggest fear. I really tend to rely on my gut (which I believe must be God) and to breath thru most things.
          However working in an environment that was 99% women. I am not immune to others fears or depressions. As a matter of fact I was the one that had to break things down for them to help them cope. I am the person you come to when you know you have to keep moving and need the help to do so.I have spent endless hours with women in my life in police stations, hiding in hotels, court rooms, and any other situation you could imagine. Maybe because I was surrounded by this I felt I had no choice or maybe I was just afraid of losing control. I don’t know I’m just glad I was able to help. I may not always understand but I always try to be compassionate and sympathetic.



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          Marya1961 wrote Jun 29, 2009
        • Great post Angela!...what comes to mind for me is the quote, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself“...I guess I try to look on the bright side of things, not saying there have not been horrible and tragic things in my life, and the physical condition that I live with, but the strength that I have attained through God and my family is something profound to me. I often wish I could just wrap my arms around the world and comfort everyone who needs it, but to me it is the little things in life that matter so much...a smile, a caress, a baby’s coo, watching an elderly couple hold hands...all these things make me realize that fear, panic and dread will never overshadow hope, joy and humanity...BTW, I hope you and your daughter continue to feel better, so sorry to read about your accident..HUGS! estatic



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          Owlmaria wrote Jun 29, 2009
        • As usual, another thought provoking post.



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          Moodydee wrote Jul 1, 2009
        • Praise the Lord CoccoWilliams!!!!
          Fear is good because it keeps some of us out of trouble and can give you a second chance to do the right thing!



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          Michelle Bodycombe wrote Jul 1, 2009
        • Great article Angela!  It’s been a while since I have spent any time here...tonight I had to stop and read this all the way through. Keep doing what you‘re doing...you‘re very sweet and you‘re on the right path...but, you knew that already.

          Cheers!
          :)Michelle



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          L J wrote Jul 3, 2009
        • I WENT THRU TRAUMA STRESS WHEN I SAW MY EX GET KILLED YRS AGO AND IT IS NOT A GOOD THING TO DEAL WITH, AND I WENT THRU A LOT OF THERAPY FOR YRS AND I STILL HAVE NIGHTMARES EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE AND A BACKFLASH OR TWO HERE AND THERE ....
          BUT I AM A STRONG WILLED LITTLE INDIVIDUAL AND I VOWED TO NOT LET IT GET TO ME TO THE POINT OF LOOSING MY MIND... IA M LIKE A VIRGINIA SLIM, SO I HAVE BEEN TOLD! I HAVE COME A LONG WAY!!!
          lj



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          Dorothy1966 wrote Apr 9, 2014
        • I’ve always wanted to do things , but something would always stop me , and I don’t know why frown



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