“In my recent blog I discussed Systematic Desensitization (SD) as a useful method for getting over fears and phobias. There are other approaches that are very effective too. NLP has a Fast Phobia Cure that can work wonders. Here is a reason why I mentioned SD.
Little by little the individual gets desensitized to the trigger for fear through exposure. They are repeatedly and safely exposed to the stimulus, or source of their fear, which lessens its impact; thereby diminishing their emotional reaction to it. Bit by bit they change.
They experience less and less discomfort. The ‘item’ is brought nearer and nearer to them. Not too quickly. Just as rapidly as the person can maintain comfort in the presence of the trigger. If it get close too quickly, they back it up a bit, until the reaction lessens.
Everything You Want Is On The Other Side Of Fear
Then try again later or another day. For example, the SD practitioner presents the ‘item’ to them from across the room. The next time a few steps closer. Next time, more steps closer. Until they are next to the person, whereby the person can handle the item if they choose.
After repeating this for long enough the person typically experiences a reduction in fear. This illustrates a couple of noteworthy points. One a person can get over what they are afraid of by facing it. Yes, they face it in a particular, and safe fashion.
The point is they can learn to get over it. They learn it is not so bad. They learn they can get over feeling afraid. Imagine if they did this ONE thing how many other things they could learn to do, as well. They learned to be afraid. NOW they learned they can control it.
Don’t Let Fear Stop You – If You Can’t You Must – Face Your Fears
People can control their emotions, thoughts, internal pictures, voices, and feelings. They can learn to behave differently. They learned to diminish the fear reaction and overcome it, even if they don’t totally eliminate it. BUT they learn something else, too.
Here is the parallel notion coming in. At the same time they are diminishing their fear they are learning to feel more positive and confident. They are learning they can exist with their fear, face it and be brave and overcome it. They are learning control. Self-control!
It is not that the fear is taken away and nothing left in its place. Remember, nature abhors a vacuum. Instead of just no fear confidence, bravery or some other positive emotion simultaneously comes in to fill the gap. Whatever the person originally wanted.
Courage Is The Ability To Keep Going In Spite Of Being Afraid
Most likely, they wanted to ‘not feel afraid’. Remember, what I have shared with you about the word ‘not’, negativity, and the brain. You can’t not think of a pink cat with zebra stripes wearing a yellow hat, right now. Can you? Don’t think about it. Too late! Oops. Get it?
For some people they could have learned to get over it simply by repeating affirmations and deciding to. For others, they need to face and remove the fear first. Then, simultaneously, fear is replaced with something positive. Either way, the result can be the same.
No fear, more confidence. So in SD the individual is taught how to handle their fear and eliminate it or ‘not’ experience it by building up comfort and familiarity through repeated exposure. Safe repetition is the key. Repetition IS the mother of ALL skill. It works powerfully.
We Have Nothing To Fear Except Fear Itself – Keep On Going
Another example. A person learns to speak comfortably to one person. Then two. Then three or four. Then 6 or 8. The 10 or 20. Then 30 or 50. Beginning with small numbers the person shares information with increasingly larger sized groups. Guess what?
People learn to get over their fear of public speaking. Once they learn it isn’t so scary they learn it can be fun and enjoyable. They become comfortable with doing it by becoming familiar with the process. Items can be added or subtracted. The point? It works!
We often are more comfortable with those which we are familiar with. Most people fear the unknown. They are afraid of what might happen or what they don’t know, that they imagine, could happen. They are afraid of strangers, animals, flying, foods. You name it.
Even The Darkest Night Ends And The Sun Rises
By repeatedly exposing them to the fear trigger, they face it and develop both familiarity and comfort. You can learn to do anything! You can overcome any debilitating fear this way. Gently and safely. Here is the good news! This is the same way you build any skill.
You repeatedly do it. You familiarize yourself with it and get comfortable or accustomed doing it. It is the same way you build a muscle. Repeat the exercise gradually increasing resistance. You can learn to get over shyness, public speaking and do anything you want.
You can take any desire that you want and turn it into a burning hot desire. You can take any lie and begin to believe it. Some lies are not worth believing. Those include falsehoods of all kinds but most particularly ‘I can’t’ statements, self doubt or criticism.
It Is By Facing Your Fears And Problems You Become Strong
You can begin to believe more useful beliefs like ‘I can’ statements and positive useful affirmations such as ‘I can learn to do anything when I commit to it. I can learn to feel brave and move forward. I can learn to make lots of money easily. I can learn to love and be loved.’
‘I can accept compliments graciously. I can learn to get along with all sorts of people; those like me and those completely different than me. I can learn to listen to opposing viewpoints and feel confident in letting the person keep their ideas without trying to change them.’
‘I am in the process of learning how to speak to groups of people and feel comfortable. I can learn to make any positive change I want. I can eliminate bad habits and fears and move confidently forward. I can be a loving and kind partner and parent. I love my life!’
Whether You Think You Can Or You Can’t – You Are Right
If the mental leap from not being able to do it to being to do it, is at first, too large, you can inch way there by strengthening your word choices. You can start gently by saying, ‘I am beginning to learn I can feel confident’ I am in the process of leaning to feel stronger’.
‘I am beginning to feel much better. I am feeling wonderful. ‘I feel powerful. I am powerful. I have great power. I am confident. I exude strength and comfort easily and effortlessly. I rock! I am strong!’ You work your way up to it through repeated exposure. Anyone can!
This is how our beliefs, thought, feeling and behavioral habits were and are formed. We can learn to overcome the dark side while simultaneously strengthening the good side. Through repetition we builds bad habits or good habits. You too can make changes.
I Can Do Anything – No Mountain Too High – No Struggle Too Hard
You can make positive, permanent changes when you choose. Choose the best. All of us can increase our abilities and positive feelings. We can amaze and delight ourselves by going beyond limitations into wonderful new ways of being. We can learn to be, do and have anything we want. We can definitely learn to celebrate everything!” Rex Sikes
Live passionately today!
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Photo used with permission of Phil Koch.