This morning, as I was making coffee, a little friend was on the window watching my movements with keen interest. I say ‘a little friend’ now, but to be perfectly honest, most of my life I’ve found spiders terrifying. Not just terrifying, but really terrifying. The kind of terrifying that I call ‘Body Terror’. It comes up from deep down in your core and gives you an immediate panic-laden fight-or-flight reaction as if your life is in danger. It’s like you have no control over your actions, at the first sight of a spider nearby some primordial force takes over and for a few seconds you’re this bizarre creature in a frenzy of fear-driven panic.
And all because a harmless little 8-legged creature smaller than your hand decided to explore your window looking for some food. It doesn’t really make sense. Tigers, lions, rhinos, dangerous animals, I could understand the fear. But this little creature? Surely he’s no threat to me?
It’s easy to talk about fears as if they’re tangible things like allergies. “Oh, I have a fear of flying” or “I have a fear of success” for example, but fears aren’t actually tangible things in that way. They don’t actually exist by themselves, they’re reactions to circumstances. You can’t have a fear of something without first believing something about it – for example, you can’t have a fear of flying without first creating the belief that something bad will happen if you fly. You can’t have a fear of spiders without first buying into the belief that spiders are dangerous and might kill you. Every fear has a corresponding belief system sitting underneath it giving it life, and often these belief systems have been picked up many years ago and have been carried around ever since.
So the first step towards eliminating a fear is to get in touch with the belief system that’s setting it up. What is it that you must believe to be true in order to experience this fear reaction? What are you most scared will happen if you take that plane trip?. What’s the very worst scenario you fear will occur if you go near that spider or speak in public? What is the fundamental, underlying belief that your fear is based on?
In most cases, once you have flipped the fear around and realised what the belief is, you’ll see straight away that it doesn’t make sense, that it’s completely out of alignment with who you are today. And that’s all a fear is – a belief system that’s out of alignment. When you make the choice to drop that belief, and not buy into it any more, the fear will lessen and often it will disappear completely. It took me some time to convince my unconscious mind that spiders weren’t always dangerous, but at least now I don’t run away in terror each time I see one!
With Love from your Coach,