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Article, Giving in to the fear... - Jonnyjonny_uk - 05-07-2007 11:08 PM

Giving in To The Fear

Remember being a child, wanting something really special for Christmas or your birthday, and the let down you felt when your special gift didn’t appear? How about wanting to go to a special performance or concert when you were a teenager, and the disappointment you felt when you weren’t able to attend?

As adults we face disappointments as well, and they are not always caused by other people. One of the most devastating effects to our self-esteem originates from us being disappointed in ourselves. When we give into our fears, we are smart enough to realize that it’s not anyone else who is causing our miserable feelings. When we avoid doing what we want or need to do, we feel inadequate, incompetent, weak, ashamed and foolish. In a word, we feel uncomfortable with and about ourselves.

Feeling uncomfortable means the lack of comfort, or discomfort. And that feeling of discomfort comes back each and every time we replay our most current avoidance behavior in our minds. While we’re in the process of berating ourselves for how displeased we are with this most current failure, it’s not unusual to go back and think about past incidents when we couldn’t follow through.

Think about it for a moment… It’s uncomfortable to go to the dentist and face your fears, and it’s also uncomfortable to think of yourself as a coward when you don’t face your fear. So really what you are facing, is a choice of two discomforts 1) Being uncomfortable "in the chair" or 2) Being uncomfortable while you are scolding and reprimanding yourself for not going. And as a person who has plenty of experience running from fear, I assure you that you will spend more time and energy being uncomfortable for not going, than you will if you do face your fear.

Think about the last time you were going to make an appointment, but talked yourself out of it because you thought it would be too painful. Think about the time you did schedule an appointment, then canceled because of some excuse you fabricated. I will bet that in your mind you didn’t just drop the idea, that the disappointment in yourself lingered for hours, maybe even days. And how about the daily discomfort you feel each and every time you eat or drink, each and every time you take a bite of food, each and every time you chew your food, each and every time look in the mirror, each and every time you place your hand over your mouth when you smile.

Starting now and for the next month, total up the number of hours of emotional pain, the self-blame and shame you go through because of your dental phobia, and if you’re feeling physical pain add that time in as well. Then compare your total "discomfort time" against the number of minutes in a single actual procedure at the dentist.

Let’s say the typical procedure takes one hour. That’s one hour of discomfort you have to feel. If you’re honest with your tally of how much discomfort you’re causing inside you because you’re not going to the dentist, it’s quite likely to add up to more than one hour in a single month. And even if it the total time does equal 60 minutes, the point is, you can either be uncomfortable for going and facing your fear, or be uncomfortable for not going. And again, I say from personal experience in conquering fear, you may as well be uncomfortable and making some gains in fighting your fear. At least while you’re "in the chair" there are some positive benefits to your discomfort 1) your teeth are being taken care of and 2) you are gaining back some of that precious self-respect that’s been missing in your life for too long.

No you won’t be 100% comfortable at the dentist’s office. But remember, you’re not comfortable much of the time now because of your dental phobia. Only by facing your fear, will you overthrow your fear.