Just how important is perception to fear?

“You would not look at a 45-pound dumbbell and say,’Why must you be so heavy?’ It is what it is. Heaviness is your thought, not an intrinsic  property of the dumbbell itself.  Similarly, do not look at the things you fear and say, ‘Why must you be so scary?’ Fear is your reaction, not a property of the object of your anxiety.”  –Steve Pavlina

A friend posted Steve’s website on facebook, and because the topic was courage, and because he said he thought this was the best personal growth site on the internet, I had to go there. He said all of his clients say “Wow!” And I could see why.  It was thorough, clear, bold and fresh.

We think and then we fear.  Or we react and then we fear.  If we would stop and think, and ask ourselves,  “Why am I so afraid of this _________?” we might be able to move ahead.  What we believe about ourselves, or our ability in  a given situation is often debilitating because of past experience. Our beliefs are powerful.

One experiment I read was done in Japan. Researchers told a group of  young boys that they were going to touch their right arms with the lacquer tree (similar to poison ivy) and their left arms with the chestnut tree. Then they switched them.  The boys were blindfolded so didn’t see the branches that were used.  All of the right arms broke out with bumps, itching and burning while the left arms were fine.(The Worst Evil –Losing Yourself, p 152)

There are records of many such experiments showing that what you believe affects your body and your ability.  A notable common everyday experience of this is panic attacks — on the rise today.  If you believe you are in danger, your heart will start beating rapidly, your breathing becomes difficult, you may have chest pain.  You may even believe you can’t breathe, and it is all caused by emotions or beliefs. And it might turn out that what you thought was a snake in your path was only an old rope. Perception is really important.

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