Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dealing With Fear

The number one fear I have is of heights, more specifically of flying. The greatest fear is of flying in a small plane. I can list down the many occasions I refused to fly small planes even if it is so important. The times I fly in planes with propeller engines are when I have no choice or alternative mode of travel. When I am flying in jet planes I always carry a rosary or my Bible with me.  Heights scare me a lot. At times in my travel and work I have to live in tall towers.

I remember I was living on the fifteenth floor of McKnight Tower in Minneapolis, USA for four years. It was never that comfortable, but it was the only place I stayed in for all those years. In Tokyo I had to stay on the twentieth floor. That was scary. I prayed every night and every morning to calm me. One day there was an earthquake. I rang home. Everyone at home prayed also for me.

The second fear I have is on thunder and lightening. I am so afraid of being struck by lightening. I can’t stand thunder and lightening. I have to stop or refuse to drive when there is lightning or thunder.  I don’t sleep when there is lightning and thunder.

I have other fears that I have to live with. I know I have to deal with these fears all my life. They will not go away from me. The important thing for me is to deal with them; to acknowledge them as fears I have to live with.

On a trip to Fiji I was to fly on a propeller plane from Nausori to Nadi. Instead I decided to hire a cab to drive me from Suva to Nadi. I did not care how much it cost me to hire a cab. I had the option and money to do what I could to avoid my fear.

There are other fears that I had to deal with such as fear of making mistakes. I make many mistakes anyway. The truth is these mistakes are avoidable if I was thinking correctly. I made mistakes that are genuine then I accept them as mistakes resulting from my ignorance, unpreparedness, or not making sure of details. Sometimes they are not even my mistakes, but other people taking advantage of me.

One such occasion that caused me so much stress was in Honolulu, Hawaii. I had a couple of PNG friends come over to my house on a Sunday in March. We had some drinks, listened to PNG music on my laptop, talked about home, but called it off by 10.00pm. It was not the best decision I made at that time. I regretted it for a week. By the middle of the week the manager of the properties sent out notice of car theft and car burglary reported on Monday and Tuesday. That made me so scared. I thought because it was odd, but my fear was that because they saw many black people together someone had suspected we were up to something. I found it silly, but the fear was that other people’s fears that led to the notice were also causing me unnecessary anxiety and fear of being seen as a burglar or car thief. I was not one anyway.

I feared being questioned or evicted from my apartment that might lead to me shame. It was a fear that caught me for a week. I rang all my friends and told them not to come to my apartment. It was a mind-boggling experience. I kept a low profile that whole week.

John Maxwell writes: “When it comes to dealing with fear you have three choices. First, you can try to avoid it altogether. But that means staying away from every known or potential fear-producing person, place, thing, or situation. That’s neither practical nor productive. If you move tentatively from place to place, always worrying that around the next corner you’ll come face-to-face with something that could cause you to fear, you will be tied into knots.

Face Fear Don't Walk Away From It
“A second way to deal with fear is to hope that it will go away. But that’s like hoping for a fairy godmother to rescue you.

“Fortunately, there is a third way to deal with fear, and that is to face it and overcome it. In the end, that’s the only method that really works. Here is a strategy to help you face the fear and do it anyway:

·           60 percent of our fears are totally unwarranted; they never come to pass.
·           20 percent of our fears are focused on our past, which is completely out of our control.
·           10 percent of our fears are based on things so petty that they make no difference in our lives.
·           Of the remaining 10 percent, only 4 to 5 percent could be considered justifiable.

These statistics show that any time or energy you give to fear is totally wasted and counterproductive 95 percent of the time.” We need to understand ourselves more by thinking about the statistics given above. I think they make sense to me.

I dealt with this fear by persuading myself that such notices were normal in a place such as the one I was living in. It was clear to me that someone was making things up to protect their own interests. Other people’s insecurities and fears must never ruin my life.  I am an honest person with the right to be where I am and must continue to do what I always do.

I chose to write about the theme of fear this week. It is one way of dealing with fear. I hope sharing this will inspire you to deal with your own fears in a positive way. There is always a reason for everything that happens around us.
Instead of worrying about our fears we should deal with how we can use our fears to our advantage. 

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