Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fear: Part 2

The first post on this subject can be found here.

Child of Earth, fear is failure. Therefore be without fear, for in the heart of the coward virtue abideth not. -Neophyte Ceremony of the Golden Dawn

My issue is a two edged sword. I crave approval and fear disapproval from those I consider authority figures. This realization is so upsetting to me because I believe only true self confidence can come from inside. The only approval you need is from yourself and fear of outside disapproval limits yourself.

The roots of this fear run deep. Even my parents have commented that they never had to spank me as a child, only verbally dress me down and I would instantly cry and make amends. The fear has been there for so long that it has metastasized and seems to be at the heart of any other fear I come across within myself. In a child like manner I am afraid of getting into "trouble" with some sort of shadowy amorphous authority / parental figure. I am very much a rule follower. I never speed, never drink and drive, am always on time, always concerned with what I am allowed to do and not allowed to do. There is nothing wrong with that per say but the reason behind it is my concern, this paranoia of getting into trouble, being a disappointment, to and from who or what I have no idea.

It is almost crippling as I do not allow myself to be my true self, show my true self, do the things I want to do, or express the things I want to express because I am afraid others would disapprove. It seems I need some sort of "permission" most times before I allow myself to do most things openly, even things that would not be considered wrong. Without that implied permission from someone (wife, boss, whoever) I tend to either not do it or most of the time keep it a secret, even with completely mundane things.

It is completely juvenile and silly I realize but it is there none the less. Strangely this fear for the most part largely disappeared while in college, but has returned stronger than ever the last few years. I guess it has something to do with becoming a responsible adult (job, family, mortgage) that intensifies this fear. I am unsure.

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Upon further reflection I am beginning to wonder if my fear is really two fears rather than one lump. My need for approval seems more masculine oriented. Possibly a left over of always wanting and rarely receiving approval from my father. I want to be liked and respected by men more so than women, and of course I desperately want/crave/desire respect and approval especially from male authority figures and become paranoid and frantic if I believe there is a possibility that they disapprove of me.

The child like need for permission seems more feminine in my mind. My mother always did a number on me and I wonder if that is a cause. Also modeling is an issue. My father is extremely passive in the face of women, especially my mother who would dominate him. So perhaps a good deal of it is learned behavior.

So where does this leave me? What would be the proper course to overcome my fears? How can I apply the equal and opposite application to achieve equilibrium?


"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away the things of a child." -1 Corinthians 13:11

Passivity seems to be one natural outcome of my fear/s. Courage must be strengthen. Action the equal and opposite course. Secrecy is another aspect when dealing with the permission issue. Truth above all else. Transparency at all costs.

But perhaps this is concentrating too much on the effects rather than the cause. If I am correct then I should put my focus on approval / disapproval and need for permission. Permission seems an easy fix. Do not seek it, do not ask for it, do not even look for it. Then apply it with total and complete transparency and openness.

The approval / disapproval issue is more intangible. One immediate idea is to do the opposite and actively seek disapproval, but that would be a high cost professionally when often reputation is the most important quality you possess. Perhaps I could isolate it. Actively seek my fathers disapproval. That would be hurtful but if it is the heart of the matter then it is not off the table. Although if the root cause stems from modeling , my efforts should directed towards my mother or women in general.

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I find myself reluctant to press the "publish" button. I rarely if ever discuss personal topics on this blog. One, it is more than a little embarrassing. Also reading others full on verbal emotional spewing diarrhea generally makes me want to vomit. Something so intimate, honest, and important to the individual tends to promote the exact opposite reaction in others. Now I find myself guilty of the same sin of perpetual personal disclosure. But there is a practical reason for posting this. I discovered the act of labeling my fear was a big first step. Further sharing my secret shame was another step in the right direction in internally dealing with my fears. So this is another act of public humiliation to further humble the pride and come to grips with myself.

Self discovery is never pleasant or a happy making situation. If it is, then your doing it wrong and not being truly honest with yourself.

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