Monday Morning Coffee | February 8, 2010


"Fear knocked at the door, faith answered. No one was there." 
~ Unattributed




Ever received one of those emails that contains a touching message, then suggests that if you forward it to ten more people you'll receive a "special blessing" or "ten million dollars in three days"? It usually also warns that the last person who didn't forward it met some terrible fate at the hands of unknown evil-doers. Remember how that last part - the veiled threat - made you feel? You didn't think something awful would really happen, but you resented being put in the position of wondering.

We've been told many times that our worst fears are of the "unknown." An unidentified fear sends our imagination into high gear, conjuring up vivid mental pictures of dastardly plots against us. We ruminate endlessly over the possibilities. Such fear is disruptive to our well-being, and leaves us tired and wrung-out.

So, how do you handle fear? One method is to identify the fear, so that once you do, it is no longer "unknown." That also means it is measurable, and can be logically quantified. Once you know what it is, your imagination can no longer dream up worse things that it is not. Once identified, it is possible to determine possible outcomes.

Most fears will never come to fruition. Those that do are divided into two categories: those we can control, and those we can't. If we have control, we also have the ability to survive our fears, and change their outcomes. Most fall into that category.

One mother's lifelong advice to her daughter who worried too much was to replace the worry thought with another more pleasant thought. The opposite of fear is hope, which also gives us courage. The next time you experience fear of the unknown, try replacement therapy. Think positive, hopeful thoughts when fear knocks at the door. Then, when you open the door - no one is there!

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