Benefits of fear? We’ve spent two years worried about COVID-19. Public health officials have pushed an agenda of fear, separating loved ones from their families and telling people to stay home to “save lives.”
The result has been nothing short of disastrous. Our suicide rates have gone up, especially among young people. Small children’s IQs have gone down. People feel more divided than ever before, over disagreements with their friends and family about the severity of COVID-19, the efficacy of masks, and the necessity of vaccinating.
So how can there be any benefits of fear? How can there be any benefit of any kind to feeling fearful?
Last month I wrote about the upside of fear for the Mind & Body section of The Epoch Times.
(The article is behind a paywall but if you give the newspaper your email, you can read 20 articles a month for free.)
Fear is bad for our health, as I mention in the article. But, interestingly, at the same time it is an emotion that can protect us from our own stupidity, keep us safe, and also teach us to be more self-aware.
Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., wrote a book entitled Fear and Other Uninvited Guests when it first came out in hardcover. The paperback version is called The Dance of Fear. I read it when it was first published, and recently re-read it. The book is very wise and insightful. Highly recommended.
In the book, Lerner tells the story of one of her clients named Frank. Frank’s wife left him. He wanted to date again but he was afraid. Lerner had Frank do something unusual: She told him to seek out rejection from women, the very thing that terrified him. She helped him be “squarely in charge of his own symptom,” Lerner explains. “Rather than being a passive victim of his greatest fear—rejection—he became actively engaged in making rejection happen.”
As crazy as this sounds, it worked. Frank faced his fear, found benefits of fear, and gamely tried to get 75 rejections in one day. You can find out how, and what happened next for Frank, by reading my article.
I decided to apply this principle to my writing life a few years back. I made a New Year’s resolution to get more rejections. The end result was a heck of a lot of rejection. But facing my fear helped me break into several of my A list publications, including The New York Times, and it also helped me realize that rejection is not something to be afraid of. Helpful lessons indeed.
The take-away message: Instead of shying away from difficult emotions, we need to pay attention to them. We can learn from our strong feelings and even use them to get from where we are to where we want to be.
Marriage Rules: How to Have Good Communication, Good Sex, and a Good Marriage
Why You Need to Stop Telling Your Kid She’s Doing a Good Job
Do You Want to be Buried or Cremated When You Die?
Leave a Reply