Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How My Silly Small Fears Do Good

Spiders are one of my silly small (big) fears. I was going to put an actual picture of a spider up, but they all made me a bit squeamish, so instead I give you nail scissors spider, because as a child I also had a fear of having my nails cut. Creepy Scissor Spider found here

We all have them. The ‘silly’ fears and phobias that we laugh at, based on nothing tangible but still making us jump. Or at least I hope we all do, because I think these ‘silly’ fears might serve a bigger purpose.

I separate these fears from my proper fears by matter of experience. For example, I am afraid of someone breaking into my house while I’m sleeping because it’s happened in the past and it was damn scary. That, because it’s possible, I put down as a legitimate fear.

Laying awake at night, listening to noises that might just be in your head, sure that someone is working their way in to get you is not healthy, it’s crippling*. My fear of spiders, which I class as a silly small fear, is not though, it’s actually kind of helpful. Let me explain how: when I’m putting on my shower cap before having a bathe, I’m thinking of nothing other than looking inside, stretching it over my hair, securing it in place. I’m completely focussed on the now, there is no worry about work, about my appearance, about what I’m going to eat or what time I need to leave. It’s all shower cap. You know why? I’m absolutely convinced that one day there will be a crazy, man eating spider hiding inside. This fear though, instead of really negatively impacting my life, just allows for shower cap time to be almost meditative, as I focus completely and solely on one action at a time. It’s a fine line, but I find encouragement in draing it.

I also class my dislike of flying as a silly small fear. Logically, I know all the statistics about air travel being much safer than road travel, and I’ve never experienced even the slightest issue when flying. Get me in a plane, though, and I am constantly aware of my surroundings, the sensations of the motion, the muffled announcements coming from the cockpit and the statistical readings flicking onto the television screen about altitude, speed and air temperature. When flying, again I am completely in the now.

From this I learn about the amazing focus and attention skills I have when I apply my mind to only what is happening in the moment. Of course, I’d like to not only use these skills when I’m freaking out about something, but I think it’s almost like a natural jolt or practice technique to get me back where I’m meant to be mentally. Is the lesson here to do things that scare me more often so that I completely focus? Possibly it is.

Do you have any silly (or maybe not so much) small fears that help keep you in the present?

*Disclaimer: I’m actually nowhere near as scared of robbers as I was before the idiot tried to break in. I scared that fool away like nobody’s business and now consider myself the ultimate intruder defence system.  

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