11-29-2011, 11:34 PM
Status: SA Survivor
Join Date: Jun 2011
Repost: Face your fear and be happy!
What is your worst fear? Is it the fear of death, the fear of snakes, or of darkness? Or is it the fear of speaking in public?
Fear is a universal feeling; regardless of gender, age, race or religion we all have our own fears. Why? Because our brains are programmed for fear. Our ancestors needed fear to survive living with wild animals. Once their brains registered fear, their bodies produced fear hormones, which gave them extra power to fight or for flight.
What about us who now live in the comfort of our homes? We still have the same fear mechanism. But this time, we are afraid of our boss, of meeting new people, of facing new challenges, of losing our jobs, ,of what other people will say; we are afraid of failure. So real are these fears that our bodies also produce fear hormones, which we do not use in fleeing or fighting. They just accumulate, become poison in our bodies, and slowly destroy our health. That’s why few people are happy. So, if you want to be happy, conquer your fears! How? Let me share with you my story.
My worst fear is public speaking, or even just public appearance. It goes back to my childhood days when I suffered from asthma and I was not allowed to play or even to laugh aloud. I had a very weak and soft voice since even speaking would tire me. Now that’s tough, considering that I belong to a large family of eight children, I am the 6th, and my father who was a lay minister in church was a very good speaker and my siblings just loved to play, to talk and to shout on top of their voices. I was always left with my mother who was the sweet and silent type. My problem was, every time I would speak, they would ask, what’s that again? We couldn’t hear you. And since all attention was on me, the more that my voice would hardly come out of my mouth. That was embarrassing for me and surely didn’t boost my confidence in speaking.
Knowing our fears, we can actually work on it to our advantage. In my case, when it was time for me to go to school, I went to class very early and regularly so I wouldn’t have to explain why I was late or why I was absent. I listened intently at the teacher because I was afraid she would get mad if I didn’t know the answer. I would sit in the front row so I would just be facing my teacher, with my back at my classmates. That way, they wouldn't notice that I would turn red everytime I was asked to answer a question. Since I couldn’t go outdoors to play because of my asthma, I buried myself in reading books and studying my lessons. To compensate for my verbal skills, I developed my skills in reading and writing, in listening and understanding. And you know what? I found out later, that these skills are important in getting good grades and in getting along with everybody. I graduated on top of my class from elementary grade in our barrio, through high school in our town and even during college in the university. Fear has somehow motivated me to study harder than the rest. My big problem was, I had to deliver a valedictory address on our graduation. The thought really scared me, I was nervous and my system became so upset I felt nauseous, I did vomit. Not during delivery, though!
Ironically after college, although I applied and was accepted as a junior soil technologist in our university (so I would be dealing with soils instead of people), I was eventually promoted to a teaching position. How could I do it? Then I looked back at those times when my classmates would ask me to help them with their assignments or problem sets. And I said okay, but you have to know how we arrive at those answers because the teacher might ask you. And I explained to them and they were thankful. Then I realized that’s practically what teaching is! It is not about me, but it’s about the students and the lessons that they would learn from me. Instead of focusing on me, my limitations and my fears, I shifted my concern to the students and what they should learn about the subject. And it worked! I was able to teach, or rather, help my students to learn. But of course, I had good preparation and practice. I actually wrote down what I had to say to them every session, from “Good morning class!” to “God bless!” I wished I could be more spontaneous! But I’m still working on that.
Another strategy which I found very effective is affirming my faith in God. Last semester, I took my written comprehensive exam and I was really gripped with fear. I felt like I was going for my scheduled execution instead of examination. So I recited Psalm 23 in my mind: The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need…That somehow calmed my nerves and made me think clearly and I was able to pass the exam.
That’s my story. How do I manage fear in my life? I recognize my fear, develop my other skills, focus on others rather than on myself, make good preparation and practice, and I put my trust in God. But that’s not the end of the story. Because this first semester, I still have to take my oral examination. I started reviewing again. Actually, I signed up for this course on speech presentation as part of my preparation. And I’m glad I did! I was able to present not because I had to, but because I chose to. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
Face your fear and be happy! Good day and God bless!
be the light that creates a beautiful rainbow in a tearful sky...