My Long Journey to Overcome Fear
Inspired yesterday by reading the courage challenge by blogger “Silver Lining Mama” I have decided to give my contribution.
Overcoming fear in my personality has been an issue my whole life. What struck me yesterday while reading her post was that you have to know your enemy to conquer it.
My fear enemy goes back to early childhood. My father was a very inwardly and highly sensitive man. He was often unable to express his feelings straightforwardly. That meant that I very early learnt to look at his face and gestures for what was acceptable behaviour for a child. He would burst out in anger if we turned out a barrel of collected rainwater. (I only did that once.)
The problem with communicating without words is that you can’t use words without being afraid of consequences. The worst period of my childhood was becoming a teenager. At that time I knew that I couldn’t live up to my own perfect image of behaviour. I was heading towards being an independent adult without the secure foundation for how to manage.
My mother was the opposite to him. Always loving and telling stories of her life especially when she was alone with us in our childhood. That gave me an intense feeling of belonging and the transition period was a depressing time having to leave home.
For many years I overcame fear by finding a good friend to share my feeling about stressful situations. I became a “born again Christian” at the lowest period at the age of twenty-three. In fact, the few good friends came only after that time.
As I see things now after having retired, I know the time has come to train to overcome fear preventively. I know it’s going to take time and a lot of training. It helps me to prepare what I want to say and then wait for the situation. When the things are said, I have decided to accept the reaction from the other person and just leave it there.
I did this twice recently, and I have not regretted, as I know I have said things honestly and discreet and after preparation. My goal was to respect my boundaries and train integrity.
The hard thing is to remember what to do if a sudden attack comes unexpectedly. I can have hurt people without meaning to so; I will prepare questions for the situation. I will say:
“I am sorry that I have hurt you, will you please tell me what has happened?” And then: Would you please let me explain my version of the story?”
I was advised to ask at my job when attacked over and over using the name of the person:
“What is your purpose for saying or doing this?”
Unfortunately, I never came to the situation where I could remember this question, but I have learnt it by heart and have it in stock.