Confront Fears

I started to open up my laptop this morning not knowing what to write. The lid was half-opened when I saw the prompt for today’s post. A medium-small spider had perched herself on the screen.

I powered up my device but the little critter only flinched a bit. After a few minutes, she scampered away to the safety behind the mug of pens at the corner of the desk. The poor little thing was more afraid of me, than I was of her. I didn’t disturb the spider because I like spiders and view them as allies.

I didn’t always feel comfortable in the presence of spiders. It’s not that they ever triggered dread nor loathing. There was and remains a reflexive type of fear more akin to being startled. I was most averse to the medium size, brownish-grey arachnids that inhabit the basement. I mostly disliked walking into the webs they rebuilt every day.

I knew intellectually that the spiders had no intent to harm me, they were only minding their own business, living their spidery lives. They were unintentionally providing a valuable service by keeping the basement insect–free. To my knowledge, none of them have ever come upstairs. They seem to be content with their basement habitat. We live together in peaceful coexistence.

The reflexive fear of spiders is still present in my mind regarding the upstairs varieties. This is especially the case when I notice an unfamiliar species. I calm down and observe the new creature in order to evaluate it and my reaction to it. I usually leave such spiders alone.

In the case of larger, swift-moving spiders I capture them in a paper cup, then slide a square of stiff paper between the cup and the wall. I then bring the covered paper cup outdoors to release the spider onto a tree or shrub. If they don’t run away right away, I watch their behavior for awhile. Watching a spider in natural, outdoors settings is pleasurable. The practice of spider catch and release is the main way I overcame the irrational type of fear of spiders.

What about those fears that are more mental than physical–the fears that stand between me and what I want. Those are the fears most worth facing. What about existential fears? I wish I could simply capture them in a Dixie Cup and bring them outdoors where they could be observed more objectively.

In fact, I have visualized performing catch and release of my fears as a mental exercise several times. I form a mental image of whatever it is that brings about fear. Although the visualization does not wipe out the fear, it does serve to focus my eventual actions. This is one way I keep from over-thinking situations.

Although the mental drill does not magically banish the fear, it does help me to judge the fear more objectively. I remember that to react with fear and panic is counterproductive and blocks my rational mind. I still have the fear in the back of my mind. The drill helps prevent procrastination about finding a solution to the main problem. The main task remains–to face the fear and go ahead anyway. When I’ve had enough, it’s time to put my foot down and just do it.

While finishing this short post, I leaned back in the chair and glanced at the Venetian blinds in front of me. I saw the little spider calmly standing on one of the slats. It seemed to be observing me in order to evaluate whether or not I present a threat to its life. It need not worry, it’s a cute spider and is welcome to stay. There will be no catch and release necessary. We can observe one another for awhile.

Ciao
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes author, entrepreneur, and rapper, LL Cool J. “Stand up and face your fears, or they will defeat you.” 

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Confront Fears

  1. Alien Resort says:

    When I recently found out that pill bugs were crustaceans, I started regarding them as pets.

  2. I don’t mind spiders but my real fear is snakes and I’ll never confront them with a mental catch and release drill. I just get shivers thinking about it.

  3. Eva Hnizdo says:

    I like spiders.But I had many arachnophobic patients. London zoo used to run programs for this. Very successful . Desensitized patient of mine who used to leave her house shrieking when she saw a spider ended the London zoo course holding a live tarantula in her hand after three months of the course.

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