Oh my gosh, THIS. Funny because it’s fucking whack and so damn relative at the same time. I’m currently reading (tackling. digesting, working through) a very legit book called Fearless Living by Rhonda Bitten and just turning the pages is freaking me out because the exercises are supposed to help increase awareness of your greatest fear and the feelings that fear produces so that you can finally face your fears and stop being your greatest fear’s little bitch by managing it and trying to avoid it to the point that it dictates your behaviors and life choices, resulting only in your fear being fucking realized. Good grief!
So far, I’m ruminating on Step 1 (picking out the Miss America of fears from a list of ten words in the book) and Step 2 (figuring out the shittiest and most heinous way that the fear coming to pass makes me feel, also from a list of ten words).
The fun-in-a-perverse-way thing is that the fear you end up identifying as the Godzilla of anxiety producing mayhem and life-squishing paralysis isn’t usually obvious at first. The author states that often it’s the word folks skim right past as they scan the list of ten. She has tricks for figuring out what your super special shitastic fear word is: you imagine someone you really respect or love telling you or someone else that you ARE that word. Funny thing: I made a list of several people’s names to enter into the practice sentence. I wanted to try a lot of different folks in an effort to really HIT on the right word since this will basically dictate the rest of the exercise over the next few chapters. Anyway, the funny part is that my list of useful hypothetical, Judgey McJudgers actually contains Morrissey. And that is too legit for me. So yeah, I imagined my parents, my best friend, old high school classmates (who are now all insanely successful, by the frakking way), my fella, my old boss and MOZ talking shit about me in an effort to figure out what I fear the most. The scary part is the Insert Name Here person who had the most emotional reaction in terms of the exercise? Yeah, Morrissey. Sigh. Moz fans will understand why this is 1) not surprising and 2) totally legitimate. (My tags for this post are going to be all over the damn place.)
So ANYWAY, you run through the big-fat-fear words until one of the tten reaches up and bitch slaps you all the way to New Caprica and back (nod to my fellow BSG-ers). Then you have this ah-ha moment after which you contemplate how you sometimes feel like an anxious ball of failures and mis-steps because you fear (_____). I’m liberally paraphrasing here, folks.
So yeah, I’m still not sure if I’ve found the right fear word yet. I’m basically reading the chapter and wanting to email the author, “Hey, can someone legitimately harbor like, 2 or 3 of these fears at once?!?”
But I’ve narrowed My Big Whoopty Whoop Fear down to 2 words from the list and I’m pretty sure that they are the ones. It just freaks me out that of the ten suggested fears, I feel pretty comfortable identifying with about five of them.
I’ve also started honing in on Step 2 - I’ll call that identifying your most Epic & Shitastic Feeling (ESF). As the book suggested, I tried using my imagination to think of people I care about talking shit and how that would make me feel. That didn’t seem as effective as it should be. So I diverged from the book and used my own fill-in-the-blank sentence: “Every time I wanted to kill myself I felt ___________.” Yeah, um. Let’s just say that evoked the emotional knee jerk that I think the author was looking for me to have.
I haven’t started Step 3 yet - picking all of the behaviors I indulge in due to my sucky fear factor. Some of the behaviors can be things you get praised for - like, being a workaholic or a perfectionist. Other behaviors include everything from shoplifting to overeating.
There’s Step 4 but I haven’t laid my eyes on that beauty yet. When I’m all done, I will be staring at (are you ready?) my Wheel of Fear. Ms. Rhonda Bitten doesn’t fuck around. I respect her a great deal; she shared her story in the book’s preface. In a nutshell, she watched her Dad shoot her Mom and then himself when she was 14 and spent the next 20 years fearing that she was a Loser and trying to avoid feeling Worthless. I have time to pick up what she’s laying down.
Well, clap your hands, clap your hands. The shorter version of everything I just typed is the animated graphic I posted above, before exploding with all of this narrative. God bless, I hope my followers like to read.