Day 697: Worst Fears

“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:

  1. People express or show fear (or some sort of emotional discomfort).
  2. I ask, “What’s your worst fear, about that?”
  3. They think about that and express it (sometimes for the first time).
  4. 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:

  1. Take a breath.
  2. Write down (or otherwise put words on) an answer (in order to externalize the fear and to start identifying specifics).
  3. If that doesn’t help, STOP doing it.
  4. Distract yourself with things you know WILL help. For example, look at some fun photos:

IMG_2534 IMG_2535 IMG_2536 IMG_2538 IMG_2539 IMG_2541 IMG_2542 IMG_2543 IMG_2544 IMG_2545 IMG_2546

Did that help?

What are MY worst fears, right now?

  1. That my very unusual heart is failing, in some ways.
  2. 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):

  1. Does anybody’s heart really and truly fail?
  2. 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.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Day 697: Worst Fears

  1. 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.

  2. Great sharing Ann!
    One heart beat at a time. One post at a time.

  3. I voiced mine in my head, Ann. It’s been bugging me since my layoff from the big daily. I go up and down, doing the best I can with it. Looking at your pictures helped, yes. Thank you. So does worrying about your fear, which I do along with you. Which addresses your No. 2, I hope. Your two cardiologists will tell you something more definitive and then we’ll get on with a plan?

    • FOUR cardiologists, Mark, whom I plan to see within the next month. As they say, the more the merrier.

      • Two more to the team. Yes, merrier, right. You are addressing the fear, Ann, thank you.

      • And, Mark, I just called the Cardiologist on Call, at my hospital, to address my worst fear. He said (among other things): (1) Have you changed your diet recently? (not counting yesterday) and (2) No reason to come in to the hospital right now.

        That means I can stay home with Michael and Aaron, watch “True Detective” and eat whatever I want!

      • Well, if you think that’s good news, so do I, Ann. Enjoy the movie and company and food!

  4. Aw, Ann, I have tears in my eyes. Some of your fears are mine. The more we age the more you wonder how it will all turn out. And yes the issues that one contends with as well …. When fear hits I have to remind myself to breathe. After this horrible snow storm I just lived through, panic hit me. I couldn’t go out of the house. I felt such fear. I couldn’t breathe. I could not get my breath. My husband declared we were going out. Of course at first I objected. But then I reluctantly left the house and in a matter of minutes my breathing eased. Sometimes in order to rise above our fears, we have to face them and tell them NO you will NOT bother me! Hope you are feeling good, my friend. Love, Amy

    • Amy, how can I not feel good with friends like you? And, your comment is inspiring me to leave the house and get things done today. Love back at you, Ann

  5. My likely-to-happen fears all turn out to be trivial. The others are so big, I know they are nonsense. So that’s sorted. Thank you. Hope your fears are soon dissipated by the heart experts.

  6. sometimes fear waking up
    and experiencing whats going on ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. A beautiful heart likes yours never fails to inspire Ann. My worst fear? That my business won’t take. How I answer that? Then I will just do what I have to do, taking my values, mission and love with me wherever I end up.
    Diana xo

  8. Amazingly, I have no major fears. My biggest is that I won’t be able to sell me house, but if I can’t, at least I can afford to live in it. It is just not what I want to be doing and where I want to be. I am losing my trailer on the beach, though. I don’t have a fear about it but I do have a deep sadness. (I share the rent with others and they no longer want to do this. I can’t afford it alone, so I guess we’ll sell out. At least I’m not losing it to the bank or something!!)

    • I’m so glad you have no major fears, Emilie, and sorry to hear about your losing your beloved trailer on the beach. I always feel less fear and more brave when I read your comments here.

  9. I’m not fearing for your heart. I’m going to believe in positive energies and prayers for you.

    A doctor once told me that if I could put words to my fear, I could diminish the fears grip, bit by bit, day by day. Another one of his bits of advice, that really encouraged me to move forward, came during a most difficult time of recovery. I had recently spent weeks in a psyche ward and was allowed a home visit for a holiday. I have a very demanding and controlling mother-in-law. Before leaving on my visit, I was once again reiterating my dread, my fears of having to ward off her disappointment in me for being mentally ill. He asked me, “What healthy thing do you think that you can do if you find yourself in the midst of a anxiety-ladened situation?” I told him, “I could go for a walk, give my mind and senses a break, but that would just confirm for her that I really was a crazy.” He replied, “So what difference does it make? She already thinks your crazy. Take that walk!”
    Best advice, EVER…
    Head up, Sweets! We are pulling for you, just as you come and pull for each of us. Thank you for all that you do.

    • Thank you, so much, for sharing that best advice EVER here. Isn’t it great that we are all pulling for each other? Your positive energy is leaving no room for fear, right now.

  10. Hmmm… fears are funny things -how they motivate us, paralyze us, send us running or making it so we stand our ground and fight it out. On the big level of things, my fear is to say at the end of life’s book, “Holy crap! That’s it? That’s all my life amounted to?” It isn’t death and not even the dying that troubles me. It’s that feeling of so much undone left to do and no more time to do it. It’s the thought of being locked in a body, a shell if you will, and not be able to do one more damned thing to rectify that. Is it mixed in a fear of being forgotten? Perhaps… but more so it involves the concept of a life of intention, a purpose driven life…and since being unable to continue my work (a nurse) much of that purpose has gone, along with the simultaneous empty nest and being able to drive, walk any distance and at times see well enough to read or sew or draw or to have the dexterity to play my 12 string again, walk our 4 greyhounds…well you get the picture. The times when speech fails me and processing things being labored are SO frustrating and I definitely feel the ticking of the clock on my shoulders then.
    On a lighter side- a fear of being a passenger in a car in a MVA and be unable to move well enough or do what it takes to save someone. (Um lighter?0
    OK here’s lighter… when the SHTF , a world with no chocolate! That’s scary. hahaha

    • Your sharing your fears (and other feelings and thoughts), exactly the way you did, somehow helps make the world seem less scary, bettemae. I give thanks for you (and for chocolate, too).

      • Thank you Ann. It gave me pause to think and unfold in my blog and discover thoughts that I usually don’t bring to the surface so rawly…but having done so, I think may give me the impetus to move forward.

      • I read your blog post, and it helped me move forward. Many thanks.

  11. My worst fear? That I will never get around to writing THAT BOOK that I’ve thought about for eons. Procrastination is a work-avoidance tactic that I must overcome.

    Yes, Ann, your cool photos do keep me coming back for more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I am moved by the way that you share your fears, and I’m just sitting here, feeling your fear with you.

    I don’t know what will happen with your obstinate, complicated, captivating heart — I hope that your cardiologists give you reason for optimism — but I am confident that, come ill health, good health, or fear, you will never be alone; not really.

  13. I like your style! Thinking of that malevolent SIL, I sometimes tell people when they ask me if I think they should reach out to a difficult person, “Only do it if you’re okay with any outcome: loving, friendly, cold, rejecting, angry, hurtful, or even no response at all.” Good for you for calling the on-call MD and getting the go-ahead to stay home, eat good stuff and enjoy the show. I thought about your questions too. Worried about a family member. The best I can do is tell myself that “it’s not about me.” If it is, they’ll tell me. If not, I worried for nothing. Btw, getting old is rough! I’ve seen more doctors this year than ever before. But it is what it is. And hey, it beats the alternative! Hugs, Sonnische

  14. This was a great post, Ann! I learned a lot from this post. I am sure this technique has been out there, but I had not thought about picturing my worst fears and then, dismissing them by dispelling their power of over me. I loved this, also hearing about your ex and your present boyfriend, too. I like to learn personal details about people. Ann, I have to tell you, I admire your “stick-to-it-ive-ness!” you are always here, to be counted on with meaningful thoughts and daily smiles. Sorry, I miss a few in between ones, but I try very hard to keep up with you! Smiles!

    • I never have a worst fear about your missing a few days here, Robin, because of your proven stick-to-it-ive-ness and your obvious wish to help others. And, believe me, your comments help me!

  15. Pingback: Day 2652: Fear and Caution | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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