How Fear Sabotages Us

It is natural for people to think that fear keeps them safe. A person may say that fear of getting burned keeps them from touching something hot, thus they stay safe. Fear of getting run over keeps them from walking into a lane of moving traffic. Fear of getting bit causes them to stay away from rattlesnakes. But is it really fear that keeps us safe in these situations?

Picture yourself cooking in a kitchen with a hot stove. Is the “fear of getting burned” really present? Or are you calm and relaxed as you move about the kitchen and cook on the hot stove. Imagine you are standing on a busy street corner. Is the “fear of getting run over” present? Or are you at ease as you wait for the cross walk sign that tells you it is safe to cross the street? Chances are you don’t feel fear in these situations.  If fear isn’t present, then it isn’t fear that is keeping you safe. What keeps a person safe is correct information and awareness. In both of these examples  you are aware of the danger, and you have correct information on how to act in these dangerous circumstances.

I hope this is easy to see in these circumstances. Sometimes it isn’t quite as self evident. A person may get hurt emotionally, and be afraid to trust again. We think this fear is preventing another situation where we get hurt again. It turns out that this backfires almost every time.  Let me illustrate why. In video 3 I discussed how staying stuck in the flight or fight mode adds to negative emotions. I also asked viewers to do a simple exercise; wiggle one finger. The point of that exercise is to illustrate that we consciously don’t know how to move the finger. Do you know how many muscles it takes to wiggle your finger. Do you know what part of your brain you used? Do you know how the instructions to wiggle the finger goes from the brain to the muscles? There are people that know the answers to these questions, but most of us don’t know. I will make this simple and say that the when the body does something, it is simply follows instructions, and the instructions seem to be coming from the subconscious part of the brain. Even though we have a conscious desire to wiggle our finger, it is the subconscious that orchestrates this for us. It also orchestrates almost everything else in our life.

Also in video 3 I gave the example of a monitor in the subconscious mind. Whenever there is something on the monitor, the subconscious works on making it happen. When I think about wiggling my finger, an image of my wiggling finger shows up on the monitor, and the subconscious says, “OK, here’s what we need to do.” And it gets to work doing whatever it is that is needed, and your finger wiggles almost instantly. This can work to our advantage, or not. You see the subconscious mind isn’t a judge, it doesn’t care if what showed up on the monitor is in our best interest or not. Here’s an example. When I play tennis, at times as I  approach the ball, and swing my racket, I think something like this: “I’ve got this shot, just don’t hit the net. I just have to make sure I don’t hit the net?”  Guess what happens? You probably guessed it, I hit the ball into the net. But why? I was just thinking about how I didn’t want to hit the ball into the net. What do you suppose is on the monitor in my subconscious mind when I am thinking “don’t hit the net”? The only thing that can be on the monitor is the net, or a memory of me hitting the ball into the net. With this on the monitor, the subconscious says, “OK, here’s what we need to do to get to the net.” And it orchestrates things so I hit the ball into the net. A number of times I did that I was shocked! I had such an easy shot, and it was almost impossible for me to hit the ball into the net, but I did because that was what I was focusing on.

So how does this relate to fear? When I fear hitting the ball into the net, I am focusing on the net, and my subconscious orchestrates what I am focusing on. Fear leads us to focus with laser intensity on what we don’t want. The more we fear it the more we focus on it, and the more likely it will come into our life. When I coach people struggling with addiction, this is one of the main saboteurs that keeps people stuck. The more we fear something will happen again, or just fear it will happen, the closer we move to it. Fear doesn’t keep us safe, just the opposite!

When we bring fear into the equation, we often feel like it has happened even if it hasn’t happened. I remember visiting with a woman who had a huge fear that her daughter would be kidnapped. She heard of a number of high profile incidents where children were kidnapped and horrible things happened. Her daughter had not been kidnapped, but her body and her emotions were responding as though it had happened, because she kept this image on her monitor. When she feared her daughter would be kidnapped, this scenario would play out on her monitor, and she would cry and be upset, and it was paralyzing her life. So, even though it hadn’t happened, fear brought it onto her monitor and she went through all the emotions of it having happened.

So, get fear out of your life! On other posts and videos I have discussed how we need to give our fears to Christ. He told us to “fear not” over and over again. EFT is another tool which can be very effective at helping us to let go of our fears. Remember from video 1 that fear is at the root of all the emotions on the dark side. Having fear opens us up to a whole world of darkness. I’m not saying nothing “bad” will ever happen when we let go of fear, but we will be able to see things in light and truth and respond in a positive, appropriate way when adversity hits.

I think I’ll make another video of this concept. Stay tuned for that.


About Arden Compton

I love helping people be the best that they can be. Addiction, stress, limiting beliefs & emotions, and bothersome memories are my specialties. I am happily married to my wife Cheryl, we have 7 robust, growing children. I like to ballroom dance, play volleyball, and enjoy the beauty of nature!
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