I dug my heels into the ground as I flared a free arm hoping to grab a piece of the railings or better a passer-by. Amidst laughter and embarrassments, he pulled my other arm.
“Frannie, what’s the matter with you? I’m here with you na, I promise nothing will happen to you. How many times do want me to say it so would believe it”
‘Daddy, let’s go back. I’m scared’, I stuttered repeatedly, as I kept pulling and staring down the stairs.
Seeing my pure resistance, my dad made a few more promises. I trusted him, held his hand and pants tight enough for assurance and then ended up making our journey all the way across the pedestrian bridge, as laborious as you can imagine.
Fast forward 20 years later, Monday morning, I was to resume work with an IT firm located at Ilupeju, Lagos and there I was contemplating on this fear AGAIN! I have to cross the Oshodi pedestrian bridge to get to work.
Right at the foot of the stairs, I FROZE!
Believe me, if I had an alternative, I’d dive for it…but I didn’t.
I was AFRAID of heights!
In split seconds, I ran a series of pep talk in my head. I assured myself that the bridge won’t collapse right under my feet simply because I’m the one crossing over, before I could proceed.
Just like everyone, you have what you may presume as “genuine fear”, phobia, inertia and so on,but the question is, does it really make it a constant reality?
No, it doesn’t.
According to verywellminds.com
“A phobia is a twisting of the normal fear response. The fear is directed toward an object or situation that does not present a real danger. Though you recognize that the fear is unreasonable, you can’t help the reaction. Over time, the fear tends to worsen as the fear of fear response takes hold.”
You can imagine, while I was there battling with my dad, people were casually going across the bridge just as an adult standing at Oshodi pedestrian bridge
What then makes it a reality then?
None other than our imagination, simply put, an ILLUSION.
Fear is an illusion, yet people die from it. Imagine if we are to switch the board and convince that fearful person that his fear has been overcome by someone else, I am certain his life will be saved.
In a training session, I recall the first day I heard it said that “fear is an illusion”, I was mad!
I was so eager to ask the speaker “Does it mean I cannot have a genuine fear, rather “concern”?
You sure can, the question now is does it hold water?
How long will you let an illusion keep holding you stagnant?
Thankfully the teacher took the time to share with me the following;
One of the presuppositions of Neuro Linguistics Programming (NLP) is that “If it’s humanly possible, you can do it”
That means that the reason you are afraid is because you haven’t seen a better option. Moreover, if I look out for help in discovering better options, I sure will conquer what I fear.
One needs to note that what we believe to be overwhelming, in most cases, if not all, is only a figment of our imagination, although meant to keep us “safe” yet stalls our desired progress… and the truth remains… It’s all in our heads.
“Fear is not as automatic as you think. Fear is part instinct, partly learned, partly taught. Some fears are instinctive: Pain, for example, causes fear because of its implications for survival. Other fears are learned. We learn to be afraid of certain people, places, or situations because of negative associations and past experiences. A near-drowning incident, for example, may cause fear each time you get close to a body of water.
Other fears are taught. Cultural norms often dictate whether something should be feared or not.
For example, certain social groups are feared and persecuted just because of a societally-created impression that they are dangerous.
Actions motivated by fear fall into four types—freeze, fight, flight, or fright. Freeze means you stop what you are doing and focus on the fearful stimulus to decide what to do next. For example, you read a memo that your company will be laying off people). Next, you choose either fight or flight. You decide whether to deal with the threat directly (tell your boss why you shouldn’t be laid off) or work around it (start looking for another job). When the fear is overwhelming, you experience fright: You neither fight nor flee; in fact, you do nothing—well, you obsess about the layoffs, ruminate, and complain, but you take no action. Being continuously in fright mode can lead to hopelessness and depression”
You see how fear can warm its way through many other parts of our lives. Throughout my career life, I have worked with different sets of strict and verbally abusive bosses. Most times, I found it difficult to air even my view, just to avoid getting hurt once more.
I could go on as to what I had allowed myself to miss just by the prompting of fear, even to the extent I wouldn’t listen to people’s opinion and wouldn’t hear how ridiculous it sounded.
Aren’t you just the same?
You’d defend and protect your fear with the might of a Viking warrior; Fight anything that threatens your precious comforts, as the real deal is left to fester.
In another case, you justify your fear based on previous experience. Truth be told, it is literarily in YOUR HEAD!
Now you ask, “How can I deal with this fear?”
By simply treating it as what it is
First, you deal with it by genuinely and constantly answering the following questions;
- What I fear the most, has anyone conquered it?
- What I fear to do, has anyone done it?
- How much (not necessarily money) do I stand to lose if I remain frozen still by this fear?
- Is it humanly possible?
If you answer Yes to one or all of the questions above, then, evaluate your potential losses. You’d see why you need to move, surprise yourself by doing that thing you fear the most.
As for taking the needed action, I fell in love with Mel Robbins after I read her 5 Seconds Rule. In her book, she explained how the brain gets into resistance after a period of 5 seconds. Once you are able to take action within that first 5 seconds of thought, you trick your brain and achieve that.
Practicing The 5 Seconds Rule has caused me to break my records repeatedly. I believe it can also work for you.
When you think about going up to close that deal, countdown from 5 to 1 and quickly jump at it. By the time your brain-resistance sets in, you are long gone. The good part is, when you’ve done a thing once, you can do it many times over.
Furthermore, create and make affirmations at the beginning of each day and a gratitude journal at the end of the day. Gradually, your brain will start thinking in the positive, and results will surely follow.
Keep at it, you will totally overcome those things you fear.
In our next edition, I will share how to create a glorious day for yourself, even when challenges are certain.