“Worst fears” is a technique I sometimes use, as a therapist, inviting people to let go of fear.
That seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it works:
- People express or show fear (or some sort of emotional discomfort).
- I ask, “What’s your worst fear, about that?”
- They think about that and express it (sometimes for the first time).
- That seems to help.
What’s my worst fear about this post, so far?
That I’m not being particularly clear or convincing.
Let’s see what happens when I ask YOU that question (in a slightly different version, which I also use in my work):
What’s your worst fear, right now?
Did that help you, in any way?
Or did it make things worse?
My recommendations, regarding answering that question, would be:
- Take a breath.
- Write down (or otherwise put words on) an answer (in order to externalize the fear and to start identifying specifics).
- If that doesn’t help, STOP doing it.
- Distract yourself with things you know WILL help. For example, look at some fun photos:
Did that help?
What are MY worst fears, right now?
- That my very unusual heart is failing, in some ways.
- That I will be alone with that.
Did it help me to write those down?
Yes, it did.
Because, now that I’ve written down those worst fears, I can answer them, as follows (in my usual inquisitive style):
- Does anybody’s heart really and truly fail?
- How can I be alone, if I keep posting cool photos like those?
Thanks to my ex-in-laws (not pictured) with whom I spent Thanksgiving Day, to my boyfriend Michael’s family (whom I saw briefly, last night), to all who feel fear and do their best to let go of it, and to you — of course! — no matter what your worst fear is.
Does this mean I can comfortably let go of my malevolent sister-in-law. I have tried to reconcile so many times to no avail.