June 29, 2007

Overcoming Fear (Part 3): Acknowledgement

So there I was, scared to go on stage with one of the best jazz singers of all time, Al Jarreau. I was afraid I would fall flat on my face, but I chose to ignore the fear that I was feeling. Of course, instead of ignoring my fear, I should have acknowledged my fear. And this is the next step in the fear puzzle.

You may have heard the quote: "What you resist, persists." Well, nothing can be more true, especially when it comes to fear. As I briefly mentioned in Part 2, fear manifests itself in our body in various ways. Unfortunately, if we fail to recognize the fear, the body continues to find ways to let you know that the fear is there. Think of this like a young child that is trying to desperately get your attention. (S)he might start with simply calling your name, but when that doesn't work, they might jump up and down, scream, tug at your clothing and much, much more. Well, your brain will try to do the same thing with fear in order to let you know that it is there. It just wants a little love, that's all.

Fear is an ague, that forsakes and haunts, by fits, those whom it takes; And they'll opine they feel the pain and blows they felt, to-day, again. --Samuel Butler

So guess what happened to me before the concert? Remember, I chose to resist my fear. So my brain decided to try a little harder. You may have already guessed it. I threw up. I've never admitted that before now. There's nothing like a little vomit to make you feel more powerful - or not!

So just how do you acknowledge fear? Here are a few tips:
  1. Locate the Fear - As I said earlier, fear manifests itself in the body in different ways. Use your laser focus to figure out where your particular fear is residing. Common areas where fear manifests itself are the stomach, head, neck and shoulders. However, you may have other trigger areas in your body, so pay particular attention to what feels out-of-sorts for you.

  2. Talk to Your Fear - Okay, I realize this sounds strange, but realistically, you probably already talk to yourself. This is no different. Say to the fear (i.e. yourself) that you know it is there, and you accept it. Remember, it's like a child that wants to be heard, so here's your chance to acknowledge it.

That's it. Like I said before, if only I knew then what I know now. Ah, the beauty of 20/20 hindsight. Stay tuned for the last part of the story...Go to Part 4

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