Lately, I’ve been thinking about fear. And how unneccessary it is. To feel it. I had a spider phobia for a LONG time, long long long time. Decades. (I don’t really want to advertise how old I am, but I know precisely when and where I learned to be afraid of spiders–I was grade school age, probably around 7, at the bus stop on Mercer Island, off of 72nd street–while talking to a girl named Paige.) It was a one-shot learning. And, as I discovered a few years ago, it can be unlearned just as quickly.
I was telling a story to Paige. Not a nice story. It was about spiders. I was trying to scare HER. With words. And somehow, I scared myself so thoroughly and horrifically, that it STUCK. I suppose that’s justice! I was terrified of spiders for more than 30 years. Seeing a spider would set me OFF–body recoiling, heart pounding, adrenalin pumping, an involuntary gasp or scream or two, and so on. But not only that–I lived “on alert” for spiders. Anytime I would enter a room, any room, but primarily bathrooms, I’d scan, the floor, the walls, the crevices, looking for danger. Looking for spiders. Any spider, regardless of size, would set off the same phobic response in me, even microscopic spiders. If I’d see a speck or dot across the room on the wall, I’d have to wonder and worry: “Is that a spider?”
I had what my hubby came to call “bug radar.” If a spider was anywhere near, I’d know it. And, freak out!
To lessen the tension of this horrific story about how I was tortured for decades with fear–let me tell a more pleasant spider anecdote! When I first started dating my future hubby, I had an apartment. He had an apartment. Neither of us had cars. One night, I was getting ready for bed, and found–horrors!!–a spider in my bathtub. What to do? I could not, no way, no how, just go to bed knowing a spider was around. Nor could I touch it, or go near it. I was distraught. I called Michael. That sweet man took a city bus across town (probably more than 1 bus) to come save me that night. When he did that, I knew it was LOVE! Then and there I decided to keep him, forever, and I am. 29 years and counting!! 🙂
So, anyway, everyone knew about my spider “thing” and some people laughed at me about it. Like my mother. We went camping and a spider was crawling up her leg at one point in one of those open-air-bathrooms in the woods. She laughed, thinking how I would scream. Yes, I would have. I didn’t see or know any way out of this FEAR. Yes, I knew it was unreasonable, spiders are tiny, I wasn’t, and yes, I could stomp the living daylights out of them, but that did not lessen the FEAR. The panic response in my body. The conscious mind wasn’t in charge of this thing.
Seal of the Society of Neuro-Linguistic Programming TM (your seal of the best).
Until 4 years ago. I learned NLP. And NLP can crush the daylights out of fear. Quicker than you can imagine. See, when you learn something, you’ve got a pattern running in you. Mine was spider: shriek! spider: recoil! spider: fear! All three of those things together. Well, NLP broke the pattern. In about 15 minutes, conversationally, I learned something new, a new pattern. A pattern called: spider: feel calm! spider: feel neutral! spider: feel clear-minded! And that new pattern has been running for 4 years in me. I’m not afraid anymore.
Of course, I was super skeptical—how could something that’s been such a terror to me just vanish? Well, it did, and how I KNEW, how I came to believe was the next time I came face to face with a spider. Nothing. No reaction in my body. I felt so amazingly free. Calm gives me the clarity to see if the spider is actually a threat or not. Some spiders ARE dangerous. It’s miraculous, actually. That’s what NLP is and does: miracles on demand.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming ™. Neuro meaning the neurology in your body, how you feel and function. Linguistic meaning communications, spoken, unspoken, language, etc. Programming to me means change. Changing how you feel in your body via communication. My spider fear was changed to my spider calm. Neutral. An absense of any negative feelings. How wonderful.
NLP is miraculous on phobias. Every kind. It’s all just unconscious associations, stimulus response patterns which get learned/installed. I can help you learn something better, and more resourceful. Because I’ve learned NLP.
I’ve worked with a wide variety of fears and anxieties with my clients, from claustrophobia, to fear of flying, to fear of public speaking, to fear of records stores, to fear of deep water, to fear of the wind, fear of heights, fear of spiders, and so on… with GREAT success. NLP works! Hypnosis works. Together, they really, really work.
I declare 2010 the “free from fear” year. I want to help people release fear. Sometimes fear makes sense and is appropriate, but when it isn’t–let me help! I’d love to. And I know it works. Every time I come face to face with a spider–a rare thing now–I know it.
I saw a spider on the floor of my bathroom about a month ago, sitting by the edge of some pants that I had thrown on the floor (don’t tell anybody), and it didn’t bother me at all. Before, it would have been a FREAK OUT DELUXE that a spider might get into my clothes…here it was live and let live. I didn’t care enough about the spider to even DO anything about it. It was there for several days, sitting in the corner, and I noticed it calmly and ignored it. That’s freedom.
If you’ve got an irrational fear, think about this: How would you rather feel? The tools I know can get you there, into that new feeling. Rapido!
Connie Brannan, CHt., Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapist
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