Last Thursday Steve and I went with some friends from work on a GHOST HUNT! Normally, I hate being scared. I don’t watch scary movies, I’m literally afraid of the dark, and I close my eyes at every anticipated scary moment. You could definitely say I’m a huge wuss. So why would I go??? Team building…? I do love a good adventure… Mostly, I think it was peer pressure.
The escapade started at 8:00 PM and went until 1:00 AM. Okay, so that’s insane – it was a Thursday night! But I figured we’d all be tired together the next day at work. It was held at an old, abandoned “haunted hospital” up in Tooele, Utah. We started out looking at pictures and listening to recordings of “ghost voices” from previous people who have been to the place. Then they took us on a tour and showed us all the hot spots and told us stories about some of the ghosts. They showed us how to do the human pendulum. Everyone stands in a circle and one person stands in the middle. You ask the ghost to show what “yes” and “no” mean. Latisha’s (work friend) mom went first and we started asking questions. Slowly, she would rock forward on the yes answers, and backwards on the no. Creepy! Steve wanted to go next.
The tour guides said to snap a few pictures in a row so if there was something in the picture, you have others to compare it to.
So fear is a strange thing. What is happening in our minds when we fear something? Fear usually involves a focus on the future; we create thoughts in our mind that something in our future, some event or experience, is going to involve pain, danger, or discomfort. I was very fearful in the days leading up to the ghost hunt. I thought about backing out, a lot. Fear can paralyze and incapacitate us and can stop us from going after our desires. When we succomb to our fear, we settle for less and get less than what we really want.
There are different types of fears.
- There’s the fear of change. Whether it is moving to a new city, staring a new job, breaking up with a boyfriend, etc.
- The fear of pain or physical suffering. I’m deathly afraid of needles. I cannot for the life of me be okay with getting a shot. I’ve never gotten a flu shot because why would I purposely do that to myself?
- The fear of failure. My brother is one of the most amazing people I know. His fear of failure has pushed him to graduate in the top of his medical school class and get resident of the year in his radiology residency. Along with those outstanding accomplishments, he worked his butt off. He’d study beyond what was necessary, skip out on nights with friends, and put an enormous amount of pressure on himself.
- The fear of some thing. Spiders, snakes, the dark, muggers, and roller coasters are all things I’m afraid of. What things are you afraid of?
- Fear of the unknown. This can be fear of people who are different from you, new foods, unfamiliar places, going away to school, starting a boot camp, making a change, stepping out of our comfort zone, ghost hunts, and the biggest unknown of all…death.
Second picture taken:
As human beings, we all want to grow. We want to learn, experience, provide, serve, and enjoy. The thing that’s hard with that is you have to step out of your comfort zone and put effort into facing and overcoming your fears so you can grow. We do not grow within our comfort zone. When we step into our discomfort zone, we rarely are hurt in the true sense where physical pain is involved. Of course, there’s always going to be the exception and rare occasion. There are times where fear is justified and prompts us to take action but in the majority of situations that we feel fear, we are not really in danger of experiencing the pain we’ve imagined.
Remember: Thoughts always happen before emotions.
By realizing there is no real pain involved except the pain we created in our own minds, we can choose to think differently about it. (Hello, Robin and Candice’s advice! It applies in ALL areas!)
There are ways we can manage our fear.
Sometimes, fear can motivate positive action. Take my brother, for example. His fear of failure pushed him to getting into Georgetown medical school, graduating with honors, and becoming a radiologist at a Harvard teaching hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess. That was a really good example and I also wanted to brag about my brother for a bit.
Now, here’s where it gets good. I hope this tidbit of information will stick with you throughout your life as it has mine: There is nothing in the world that is inherently fearful. Fear is an internal experience. The motion of fear is the result of the thoughts we create inside our minds. I know there are people reading this who are not afraid of spiders, speed, failing, needles, etc. Those are my experiences. Here’s another thing that will blow your mind: Fear is learned. Most of what we learn to fear is the result of personal experience or our belief in someone else’s experience.
Also, we get better at handling fear with practice and experience. We develop confidence and self-trust. Until we step out of our comfort zone and face our fears head on, we will not rid ourselves of our fears.
The fact that you are here today, reading this blog, is proof that you are a capable person. You handle life’s challenges every single day. Why should a future event be different than the millions of past events? The pain we perceive rarely happens. The joy we experience by going after the things we want frequently occurs.
How can we overcome our fears? First, with all things, admit that you are afraid. Then start disassociating the feeling of fear with those exact things you admitted to being afraid of. Start confronting your fears. You fear will intensify as you do it, but do it anyway. Do it at least three times. You will be less afraid each time. Also, start calling it something else. I love the words challenge, excitement, and adventure.
Now let’s be honest – you probably won’t overcome all of your fears. I know without a doubt I will never get over my fear of spiders. But I faced my fear of ghosts, the dark, and “haunted” and I went and had so much fun with my friends. I’m so glad I didn’t back out. We’re all still talking about the ghost hunt and it will be something I remember forever. It really was such a great time. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it was definitely a fun experience. We laughed. A lot.
And now… for the scariest picture of the evening…
That’s my supervisor, Shayne (and yes, that’s my red hair). He had surgery a few weeks ago on his foot and had crutches. He found an old, creepy wheelchair and rode around on the rims the whole night. He also took every opportunity to try and scare us. EEK!
“Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.” ~Helen Keller
Questions: What are things you’ve let fear get in the way of? Or, what are experiences where you’ve faced your fear and come out just fine?