Overcoming Fear, Part 2
We are exploring principles to help overcome fear. The principles we are looking at through the experience of Rosie’s fear of Lliam the llama and through the experience of men in New Life Center’s Genesis Program include:
Find safe experiences for exposure to the fear;
Use a relaxation technique: go somewhere safe in your mind;
Grow in knowledge through research;
Enlist the support of others;
Build on small successes.
Since many fears are irrational, learning about what you are afraid of can provide a foundation to face your fear. Levi, one of the men from New Life Center’s Genesis Program, recounts overcoming his fear of spiders through research. He learned what spiders were dangerous and actually to be feared. Since there are no dangerous spiders in our area, he was able to use this information to help him face his fear. Although he says he still may scream if a large spider catches him unaware.
Letting your friends and support system know that you are working on facing a fear can help you gain their support and encouragement as you do so! Chris and Kayla both had our team’s support as they faced fears of heights in Chicago on the Navy Pier Ferris wheel and the Willis Tower Sky Deck. As Kayla encouraged Chris to step out on the Sky Deck, she found herself being impacted by her own fear. Her fear caused her to freeze and not being able to step out. Chris was able to take her hand and help her step onto the glass floor! With support of others she was now standing 103 stories above the city of Chicago, with the city beneath the glass under her feet.
As you take steps to face fears, acknowledge and celebrate the small successes. The positive experience of a small success can build the ability to achieve the full success that is desired. While some may see less than full success as a failure, acknowledging the steps in the process that build toward the complete goal helps you to reach that goal. We helped Rosie build on her experiences bit by bit. She went from slamming against the stall wall away from Lliam, to stepping into his stall on her own accord and not panicking after doing so! They are now grazing in the same pasture.
In addition to the above, Abraham, one of the Genesis Program men, shared that he overcame his fear of conversation and speaking by having something important to say and feeling worthwhile through Christ. Each of us has an important contribution to make to the lives of others. Each of us was created with a plan and a purpose. Abraham felt more human once he recognized how important he is in this life. This recognition of a God given plan and purpose to share the love and hope of Christ that he is experiencing helped him to overcome his fear. He says that it is good to feel like a person again after the battle of his addictions that were so dehumanizing.
What are fears that you face? Which of these principles can you apply to gain freedom from them? Come back for Part 3 where we share relaxation techniques with video of a waterfall in Montana!