Fear of the unknown

15.11.2020

You may have noticed that human beings generally fear the unknown. This is a primitive nerubiological effect that works in automatic mode, designed to protect us from danger.

When we are in a situation that puts us at risk, we feel fear. Fear acts as an alert that if we know how to read it will be useful to us, as a tool that will mobilize us to place ourselves safely, initiating the physiological defense mechanisms of fight, flight or freezing. In this way we learn to read certain patterns from the environment that make us perceive what is everyday and normal and from which we are safe because the existing risks do not have a greater alert since we have already learned to defend ourselves against them.

The opposite case occurs when something new arises, which is outside the pattern. Faced with this new thing, we not only don't know what it is, we don't know how to face it; therefore, we consider that we are facing a potential risk, (emotional, physical, life and many more), and fear arises and with it we will react in some physiological way of fight or flight.

When we do not know something, our first tendency is to be alert and fear arises

This way of protecting ourselves operates in all areas of our life. For example, when we are offered a new job position, when a new colleague arrives, when we start a new job or project, when we are invited to meet new friends, when a son or daughter is born, when we go on a trip, when we start a relationship of couple and every time we tackle challenges together, and of course, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, among many other possibilities.

And the same happens with our inner world, with our subjectivity. It happens to many people that it causes them a lot of fear and even refuse to look into their own inner world. Carrying out a process of EMDR psychological therapy involves seeing yourself, confronting your inner life, learning to look and find what is bothering you.

The feeling of fear when boosting self-knowledge in therapy

Fear is expected to arise, as it is unknown. Usually nobody teaches us, we do not learn to relate to ourselves, only to the external. They teach us that when we feel sorry we have to make it go away, "don't cry," they told us, "it's not that bad, wipe your tears and come to dinner, there's no reason to be sad." That is, we learn to avoid our subjective activity. Or we learn to deny what happens to us, like when it happened to us: "Dad, I have a problem, all the children carry a green backpack and I have a yellow one and they make fun of me ... that's not a problem, a problem is what I I have at work, go do your homework".

By encouraging us to avoid, deny and also minimize our needs as children, it is expected that it is difficult for us as adults to take care of ourselves, understand what happens to us and solve our emotional states.

There are many people who do not know themselves, and I mean beyond the visible qualities or behaviors, (that is, I am intelligent, I have creativity, I like to sing, I get angry when they lie to me or I am sociable ...). I mean observing our mind and noticing what emotions arise, what it feels like, what is the bodily correlation, what are the thoughts, the positive and negative beliefs about me, the world, the worldview.

Achieving this involves relating to yourself, which is already complex if it has never been done. And trying to do so is overwhelming, since you don't know how to proceed; in fact, some people feel ridiculous. And there is the "risk" that you could see something that you do not want to see, because you would not know what to do with it or tolerate it, which translates into something unknown. Let us remember that we fear what is not known, what is outside the pattern, because it puts us outside the comfort zone.

The issue is that we are directed more abroad, with a locus of control placed in the other, and when difficulties begin to arise, we always notice what the other does or does not do to us, the defects of the other, "than the other he doesn't love me, he doesn't listen to me, he doesn't know what makes me happy", and we give more control to the rest of the people in our lives than to ourselves. We hope that they give us solutions or that the other changes to feel loved, and since this does not happen, the discomforts continue and begin to become more evident, overwhelming and unmanageable.

What to do?

To solve what happens to us we have to start by stopping avoiding, denying, minimizing our inner world, our real needs for love, our emotions and thoughts, and starting by relating to ourselves, bonding, looking at each other, even if we don't like it. let us see. Only in this way will we fully understand what is happening to us, the possible and varied causes, in order to seek solutions and make more appropriate decisions.

This is one of the initial challenges of EMDR psychological therapy, getting the person to learn to know themselves, stop avoiding, identifying and attending to their self-care needs. Whoever manages to take the step, improves their inner quality of life and as a consequence changes the way they throw themselves into life. Because his paradigm of how he perceives society, people and relationships and how he perceives himself, changes. Thoughts and emotions are regulated, you stop feeling so much fear, anxiety, grief. Negative beliefs of the "Self" are appropriate with conviction, by a "I am loved", "I can achieve it", "I am safe", "I can overcome the challenges", among others, as the case may be.

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