Now, since most of us have pretty safe lives, it is something we want to feel.
PROTECTING YOURSELF IN THE REAL WORLD
If there is a real threat in your life
(an abusive family member, someone making threats, etc.),
you need to protect yourself.
Line up the police, some strong and kind friends,
and whatever else you need so you can overcome the scary person in your life
and to get away from the danger immediately.
That’s the whole story on real fear.
If you are living under such a real threat right now, don’t read further.
This topic is not for you.
Go do what you need to do,
and come back when you are safe.
We’ll be waiting for you.
Safety IS first!
PROTECTING YOURSELF IN THE UNREAL WORLD
If there is no real threat in your life but you still feel fear,
this topic is for you.
Like all of us,
you need protection from believing your own thoughts!
We all sometimes have really bizarre thoughts,
and most of them begin with “What if…?”
“What if I go broke?”
“What if there’s a war?”
“What if I get some dreaded disease?”
These thoughts come to us either directly from our own imagination
or they come to us indirectly
from friends, politicians, the media, and anyone else with a point of view to sell.
HOW TO EVALUATE YOUR FEARS
This is how to evaluate your fears:
1) Decide if the fear is real or imagined.
2) If it is imagined, take a “feeling check” to see if you are still afraid or if you just let it go.
3) Know that your ability to think will be there for you in the future.
IS THE FEAR REAL OR IMAGINED?
Did the fearful thinking come from your senses or from your mind?
If it came through your senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling),
take the fear very seriously,
decide how to protect yourself,
and take immediate action.
If it came through your mind,
the fear is not about something real.
You can relax.
TAKE A FEELING CHECK
Once you realize you are frightened about something that is only imagined,
notice if this realization makes the fear go away.
If it doesn’t, the fear is probably related to your past, not to your future.
Remember the frightening thing that happened in your past in some detail.
Then remind yourself that the event is over, it is gone, and it is lost in the past.
If this doesn’t help you to feel safe,
you’ll probably need to see a therapist
so you can “finish off”
the effects of that past event in your life.
OUR BRAINS ARE PERMANENTLY ATTACHED!
Remember that even if the worst happens some day
and the fearful event does really occur
you will be able to think about it THEN!
It can be comforting to know that you will always be able to think
at least as clearly,
at least as intelligently,
and at least as wisely as you can right now!
And if you wait to do your thinking in the future,
you will be dealing with reality.
Reality problems are a lot easier to deal with than fantasy problems!
KNOW YOU ARE SMART!
People who were often called “stupid” when they were kids
are likely to have problems with adult fear.
It’s not that they really believe they are stupid,
but they do have doubts about their intelligence
and this makes them doubt their ability to evaluate their fearful thoughts.
To overcome fear,
do whatever it takes to convince yourself
that you are smart enough to overcome it,
and that your intelligence is going to be there
whenever you need it.