(This was originally posted on October 31, 2012, as the Sex & Relationships Blog for Pacific San Diego Magazine.)
It’s Halloween, so why not have a beer with your fear? I don’t mean to say you should use alcohol to ecape your fears. But I do suggest you sit down with your fear like you would an old friend, and really listen to it.
We usually run from our fears through distraction, numbing, or reacting with anger to feel more powerful. We do anything we can to not feel the fear, regardless of whether the feelings come from a fear of pain, loss, humiliation, being unlovable, not smart enough, not man enough, not pretty enough, etc. Until we learn how to sit down with our fears and accept them for being there, like we would a friend, we continue to allow them to wreak havoc in the background. While it might not seem important in the background, this means our fears will influence our reactions, decisions, and ability to relate to others. Pretending that they are not there only makes this dynamic stronger and out of our control.
How can you break this pattern? By doing the opposite of what you want to do. When you want to escape or distract from an uncomfortable fear, choose to stay with the feelings and bodily sensations. Notice them, label them, breathe into them. Befriend your fears by accepting them for exactly as they are. Once you’ve sat and had a few beers with them, they aren’t so scary anymore. Cheers!
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sexologist, Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker