Who's Afraid Of Fear

Who's Afraid Of Fear? -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.

Fear is a universal experience. A lot of it is useful as it helps us react to danger and take evasive action. Other fears are more persistent, nagging, and seem to form a vicious circle that keeps going around. Here, the person going through this experience may need to gain some self-understanding to help face it. This is a general article in which I take a look at "fear" but I need to emphasise that I am not a professional medical or psychological practitioner. Like many people, I have some personal experience of the subject and hope that this basic summary may be helpful to someone.
Many people have learned to understand fear, not completely, but sufficiently well to cope with a fair bit of it. Maybe some of these insights will help you, and I shall make them as practical as possible so I don't appear too much of an ivory tower theorist!
What is fear? A good question, as we say. Let's give it a shot and say, fear is a deep sense of alarm, a deep emotional response, caused by an external object or some negative information, from which we wish to escape. It is often provoked and interpreted as a form of attack, or of being in a situation in which one feels extreme vulnerability or danger. Towards the higher end of the fear spectrum a strong flow of adrenalin is often generated which increases your sense of alertness and energy to help you escape from the fear-provoking situation.
Many fears have to do with loss - loss of health, a partner, a job. Some are caused by external circumstances, others by inner troubling states of mind like extreme anxiety, when fear seems to overwhelm us. The cause of some fears may seem simple to spot; others like irrational fears or phobias are often concealed and more difficult to deal with. They become deeply entrenched thought patterns that need a lot of unlearning and self-insight, before they become more manageable.
These more complex fears are an exaggerated response, out of proportion with whatever triggers it. Some quickly escalate, as the adrenalin pump gets excited, and we experience a sense of rising panic or alarm. When these are repetitive, that is, the panic occurs again and again, triggered in the same situation, we are describing a phobia. Many people have such an intense dislike of crowds, of open spaces, closed spaces, of flying, public speaking, social occasions, and so many others, that this sort of fear is really quite common. Other times it is the reverse; people dull their healthy sensitivities to the fear of bad outcomes of guilt, substance abuse or their ill treatment of someone (that may lead to a court case) and deaden their fears of judgement to come by further substance abuse or avoidance of responsibility.
Patterns of fear-stimulating thought readily become associated with a place or a particular situation. This may then make us very apprehensive, thinking fear is near at hand, when all we are really doing is being reminded by association of a previous occasion when fear was triggered. Some fears are very difficult to share, because there is a stigma associated with fear that is not easily overcome - which is another fear!
If fear is troubling you in some way, whatever it is, one very simple thing to do is talk to someone who will listen. For a start, this is often a big help, as fear of being thought foolish or crazy is very common, and when we are able to make that first move and share our fears, they begin to shrink to more manageable proportions.
Yes, it's not easy, because in describing our fear we are afraid of triggering the extreme panic all over again. So, find somewhere you feel relaxed, where you can smile and let your hair down, just gently and gradually, and you may be surprised how you get better self-insight as you articulate you fears, and also get a sense of relief, that you have been able to share something that previously was taboo for you! Suddenly it's like climbing a huge mountain, and you reached the top and came safely down without falling down a precipice!
One of the effects of deeply entrenched fear is that it forces people to become self-focused. In the effort to deal with the problem, whether we are aware of it or not, the desire to conquer fear makes us self-focused people. This often becomes very wearying, a constant drain on energy, that can become a virtual obsession. And perhaps those of us with varying degrees of obsessive/compulsive tendency find it rather easy to form habits of mind that are not easy to break.
We keep getting drawn back to the strange phobic sensation that may indicate something deeper, another fear or unresolved conflict that we have buried and don't want to face. The situation that gives rise to the phobia is well known, but we seem powerless to break what seems like a foolish link, or one that constantly baffles us between the trigger and our reaction. If only we were able to de-sensitise that awful trigger that sets off the alarm bells of panic!
To help in this unlearning process, as well as sharing as I've discussed, some people find it helpful gradually over a period to get closer to the phobic situation, as they are able to face it. Don't expect results too quickly; persevere with this, perhaps a little bit each day or each week. Then finally the day comes when the old trigger has lost its terrible potency, and we can stay in its presence for a short time, and then progressively longer as we feel more comfortable, until all it becomes is a slightly stressful memory, and we are able to feel at home in that previously impossible situation. But this may take quite a long time.
But by far the most serious fears people suffer are those to do with having genuine moral guilt in the sight of God. When we hear and become alarmed about the holiness of God, our natural state of sinfulness and about our just condemnation, then is the time to take action. Then is the time, as the Holy Spirit convicts us that we need God's personal forgiveness, to turn back to God, who will freely and undeservedly forgive all our sins. And God will do that on account of his own sinless Son, who willingly went to the cross to die as the sinner's Substitute, to endure the full penalty our sins deserved in order to rescue people from that penalty. Just as the Scriptures teach, 'For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God' (New Testament, 1 Peter 3:18).
When we gladly accept on trust, what Jesus accomplished for others, our worst fears dissolve into peace and joy, as we hear him say 'Fear not, for I am with you' (Old Testament, Isaiah 43:5).
Michael J. S. Austin's books and articles offer serious discussions and answers for life's big questions -  'How do I know which is true - Theism or Atheism?'  'Is biblical Christianity finished, or does it still speak to the 21st century?' My title, 'DAWKINS' DILEMMAS' answers, 'will Richard Dawkins' atheism grip millions, fade or stir lingering doubts?' and shows how Dawkins' atheism works hard to shut its eyes to the glory of God revealed in creation, conscience & supremely in Jesus Christ the Son of God. Find out how biblical Christianity uncovers Dawkins' dilemmas and why atheism lacks rational foundations. My second title, 'LOST RELATION - finding humanity and God' is a serious discussion on how the evolutionary beliefs of Charles Darwin undermine the validity of human reason to the point where, if Darwin was right, you would never know! He says as much himself when he admits to a loss of clear basis for his own thinking, if it's only come from monkeys - read to find out more about Darwin's greatest discovery! Check my books on Amazon and other main bookselling websites - & BUY TODAY! Personal email for book enquiries and brief discussions about published articles: mdaustin@iolfree.ie Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D.  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5078859