Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Facing Fear Head On

Today is the monthly blog fest run by Alex J. Cavanaugh called "The Insecure Writer's Support Group." You can sign up for it HERE.

My insecurity as of late deals with environmental depression plagued by feelings of fear. I think as humans, fear can become unmanageable. And it's also contagious, spreading from one person to another rather quickly. As a writer, there's lots to fear. We can fear reviews, we can fear crowds, we can fear rejection, we can fear  the industry itself.

There's lots to fear in life too. Who isn't afraid of what North Korea is doing or if the housing market may crash again or if the economy will tank? Who isn't afraid that the bump you never noticed might be cancer? Who isn't afraid that we could die at any time? I think I understand fear better than I've ever understood it before. And in a way, it is a choice you can make. Are you going to be afraid? Or are you going to choose to not be afraid.

For me, I need to choose option two much more often. It's the only way I can grow both professionally and privately. So yeah...I'm kind of making a resolution to shore up my insecurities and do some things I've never done in the hopes that they won't turn out all that bad. How about you? How do you deal with fear?

38 comments:

  1. Believe it or not, about 90% of the world aren't fearful. They drift along, day to day, blissfully unaware of international events or looming medical threats. They assume that tomorrow will be basically like today.
    I think you need a vacation in the tropics! :-)

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  2. I think fear is a kind of moral compass - not that its a comfortable feeling. Fear, like anger, let us know when we need to pay attention to something. The trick is just not to let it get the better of us - to consume everything else.

    I struggle with this concept myself. How do I deal with it? I take a risk and be around people who have more positive, accepting attitudes. Sometimes, I just need to see people at their best to believe again.

    .....dhole

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  3. Once they're are enough things to be fearful of i think they sort of cancel each other out. Something terrible will happen at some point, might as well get stuff done now while you can.

    mood

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  4. Fear is a choice. (Crap, that sounds like a bad M. Night movie, doesn't it?) I deal with it by turning fear over to a force greater than myself.

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  5. Fear tends to make the very thing your afraid of come true. I try to remember that when afraid.

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  6. I deal with fear by writing hope. I turn off the news, throw the newspaper away, walk in the sunshine, and I pray.

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  7. You make a good point, Michael. Reading everyone's blogs always makes me feel better, stonger, more inspired.
    ~Just Jill

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  9. Fear? I don't have time for fear.

    Just kidding, I just always wanted to say that. Sounds like something Batman would say.

    Anyway, I tend to think of fear like cholesterol. You've got the good kind and the bad kind. Sometimes fear lets you know you're onto something big, and sometimes fear paralyzes and keeps you from moving forward. I think we each need a little bit of fear in our lives, finding the right balance is what's difficult.

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  10. I do what I have to do to move away from fear. It's there, but I try not to let it own me.

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  11. I swear Michael, sometimes it feels almost PTSD like...always worrying about what is around the corner. But then I have to just remind myself, this world has seen and survived turmoil since Cain killed Abel and it still keeps spinning.

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  12. I try to tune out the news more and more for this very reason. I found myself in a constant state worrying about the economy, getting laid off, losing my house, etc, etc. I still tend to worry way too much and can end up frozen with fear, but trying to distract myself with writing and other things I enjoy helps some.

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  13. I don't usually panic for something like a flat tire, but if I see a snake or rat or something--PANIC! That probably means something.

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  14. It's almost too depressing to watch or read the news because I'll have something else to worry about. I make an effort not to worry. I do the best I can everyday. Well., most days-lol

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  15. If I'm not careful, I'm fearing or dreading everything. I've learned note to give in though, cause fear has the power to paralyze.

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  16. Fear is the mind killer. =) Name that book, eh?

    I think we all build a mental dialog that we buy into more and more, the more often we repeat it. If we face the mirror each morning and say, "I am wonderful, I will be successful, and thing will come together," it's a great deal more likely to happen. Have to program the brain until we believe, eh?

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  17. i actually don't live with all that much fear in my life, i don't think. I try to be very zen about things, mostly because i don't like anxiety and if i'm zen about stuff, anxiety doesn't pop up

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  18. I don't know how to deal with fear, I mean when I am really afraid. I am afraid of the "A" word. Not being able to follow up a fiction book from chapter to chapter makes me think that I am loosing my long term memory and I am robbing myself of reading stories that can be fun and touching as well. I do not believe in dishing out money in counselling when I know that the problem cannot be taken care of.

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  19. You're spot on, Michael. I do think we can choose to not be afraid. I know I'm prone to fear--so I do have to consciously make a decision each day to not be afraid and to face my fears head on. But it's a hard thing to do!

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  20. I think it's less about trying to pretend the fear doesn't exist and more about persisting even through the fear.
    "Fear is the mind killer."

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  21. What Donna said.

    I've been dealing with the fear monster a lot lately. I've been trying to focus on other things. That works some.

    (Ever seen Defending Your Life? I like how they talk about fear.)

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  22. Fear. *cringes* It can be so crippling. I like how you mention that fear is contagious--just like mob mentality. What I wonder is why it's growing in strength right now?

    I'm trying to choose not to be afraid, but you have to choose every day. Sometimes several times a day. Monday I had a rather big scare. I sat and let my mind go numb until I learned the results. Then I ran to my car and had a quick cry in relief. Crying relieves so much *stuff* for me. :)

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  23. I like that you're making a conscious choice to not fear. It's a struggle for me, too, and I wonder if it's an occupational hazard for writers. We spend so much time in our heads thinking, "what if?"

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  24. Like Julie, I don't watch the news anymore. I skim headlines online, and if something interests me I'll read, but to watch the television/cable news anymore is a trip through hyped-up, fear-factor, have we got your attention yet, hysteria. I don't need that.

    Also, I've found that when you do something you are afraid to do, even if you fail, you feel so much better for having faced it. That in itself gives you confidence. :)

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  25. I tend to face things head on if I'm afraid of them. Fearing something I can deal with doesn't make sense. Fearing something I have no idea how to deal with, well, that when I start finding way to just get over it. If it is medical, I go right to the Dr. Anything else, well, there's always a way to deal with it. Good luck and if you need me to kill a spider, I've got plenty of heavy shoes. :D

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  26. Because of some stuff that happened in my childhood, I'm terrified of everything about life except when I am safe at home.

    How do I deal? Therapy and God.

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  27. I have to work to keep the fear at bay. I try to channel any fears into a positive so that I can deal with them rationally.

    Suzanne
    IWSG co-host

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  28. A lot ofpeople much smarte than have said this, and I'm probably going to muck it up, but the saying goes that courage is not the absence of fear, but the choice to act in spire of fear.

    We can't turn off fear, it's an automatic emotion based on unconscious thought. We can make it worse by focusing on thoughts, sure, but we can't prevent it from happening. What we can do is choose to act in why that disprove that fear.

    Like if I'm agorophobic: every time that I choose NOT to go outside I reinforce the distorted belive that something bad will happen if I do. But if I go outside in spite of my fear, nothing bad will happen and I will learn that I had nothing to be afraid of in the first place.

    My point? It's all about the action. Read the review, go hang out in the crowd and take the rejection and keep on writing. Advice for us all to follow.

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  29. Sometimes, the only option is to choose not to be afraid, because if you don't choose it, you'll drive yourself crazy.

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  30. Well, I start with what doesn't scare me and what I want.

    For instance, working at the observatory scared me. I didn't know anything. If I had let that stop me, I would have missed so much.

    Luckily my dream overpowered the fear and I just went and did it. That helps me slay other things.

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  31. I disagree with Alex on this one. Fear is not a choice. It's visceral. The choice is in how we deal with the fear. You can allow it to disable you or you can choose to face it head-on and deal with the problem causing the fear. In the end, we fear what we don't know or understand, so what better way to conquer that fear than to engage and learn. If you understand it, you're much more likely to be equipped to defeat it.

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  32. I think our fears change as we get older. I found having children to worry about introduced me to a whole new level of fear.

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  33. I've pretty much chosen to ignore a lot of my fears. There are the larger ones (climate warming, screwed up planet) and then the private ones (losing my job, financial woes). Tomorrow I have to face another fear: major dental work. To deal with that fear and discomfort I've chosen serious medication that will pretty much knock me out for most of the procedure. So I guess you could say on the funnier side that drugs can help us deal with some fears.

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  34. Good piece. Fear holds us back from so many things!

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  35. I am not the person to solicit an answer from when it comes to handling fear. I'm afraid of so many things it's criminal. I give Woody Allen a run for his money when it comes to insecurity...but I do know this, I force myself to face and do the things I fear the most, in the hopes that I will one day, overcome the fear!

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  36. Hi, Michael,

    Fear can and is often debilitating to so many people. Sad really.

    One has to manage that fear and channel it into positive actions. It's amazing how powerful it can be.

    Also remember when you have someone to share your fears with, it helps ease the tension. So share your fears, nine times out of ten, you feel better just by expressing them. As you have here.

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  37. Thank you for this post! I'm a naturally fearful person, and it's important to me to constantly choose not to be afraid.

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  38. Fear is a natural emotion. In certain situations, fear is appropriate and may even save your life. It's the irrational fear that causes problems, phobias, things like that.

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