Communicating more successfully involves taking all sorts of risks. When we listen we risk being changed by what we hear. But only by listening to others can we build relationships in which people will listen to us. When we express ourselves more clearly and ask for what we want we risk being turned down, rejected or even ridiculed about our needs and requests. But only by expressing more of what we really feel and want can we build relationships of mutual respect, care and fulfillment. (You can't respect the real me if I never show you the real me.) As we explore new possibilities in interpersonal communication, we are challenged to live more courageously, to push beyond our fears, which are really the congealed memories of all our past disappointments. The following exercise from psychologist David Richo's book, When Love Meets Fear, invites us to work more consciously and creatively with whatever fears may be holding us back from greater interpersonal skill and overall life success. The Cooperative Communication Skills extended community thanks Dr. Richo for contributing this exercise to our online library.
FROM FEAR -- AN EXPLORATORY
You may find this worksheet helpful in taking a personal inventory of your fears and in designing affirmations to clear them. It combines the three elements of freedom from fear: admitting it, feeling it fully, and acting as if we were fearless. Read it onto a tape to hear it daily in your own voice or recite or read it regularly. Form an image of yourself acting out each affirmation. This list is meant for a wide audience so add or delete entries to fit your unique situation:
I trust my true fears to give me signals of danger.
I admit that I also have false fears and worries.
I feel compassion toward myself for all the years I have been afraid.
I forgive those who hypnotized me into unreal fears.
I suggest now to myself, over and over, that I am freeing myself from fear.
I have fearlessness to match my fear.
I trust my powers and resourcefulness as a man (woman).
I trust my abundant creativity.
the strength that opens and blooms in me when I have to
in myself as a man/woman who handles what comes his/her
I have it in me to rise to a challenge.
I am more and more aware of how I hold fear in my body.
I stop storing fear in my body.
Now I relax those holding places.
I open my body to joy and serenity.
I release my body from the clench of fear.
the part of me that holds fear the most (jaw, shoulders,
I let go of the stress and tension that come from fear.
I let go of fear-based thoughts.
I let go of basing my decisions on fear.
I stop listening to those who want to import their fears into me.
I let go of finding something to fear in everything.
I let go of fear and fearing and of believing that everything is fearsome.
I am more and more aware of my instant reflex fear reactions.
I am aware that I have habituated myself to a certain level of adrenaline.
I forego this stressful excitement and choose sane and serene liveliness.
I let go of my obsessive thoughts about how the worst may happen.
I trust myself always to find an alternative.
I see the humor in my fears.
I see the humor in my exaggerated reactions to unreal dangers.
I find a humorous dimension in every fear.
I find a humorous response for every fear.
I play with the pain of fear.
I smile at my scared ego with tough love.
confident in my ability to deal with situations or people
I have self-healing powers -and- I seek and find support outside myself.
I have an enormous capacity for re-building, restoring, transcending.
I am more and more sure of my abilities.
I am less
and less scared by what happens, by what has happened,
I trust an uncanny timing that I keep noticing within myself: I love how I awake or change or resolve or complete at just the right moment.
Nothing forces me; nothing stops me.
I let go of any fear I have of nature.
I let go of my fears of natural disasters.
I let go of my fears of sickness, accident, old age, and death.
I cease being afraid of knowing, having or showing my feelings.
I let go of my fear of failure or of success.
I let go of the fear behind my guilt and shame.
I let go of my fear of aloneness or of time on my hands.
I let go of my fear of abandonment.
I let go of my fear of engulfment.
I let go of my fear of closeness.
I let go of my fear of commitment.
I let go of my fear of being betrayed.
I let go of my fear of being cheated or robbed.
I let go of my fear of any person.
I let go of my fear of loving.
I let go of my fear of being loved.
I let go
of the fear that I will lose, lose money, lose face,
I let go of my fear of having to grieve.
I keep letting go and I keep going on.
I let go of my paranoia.
I give up my phobic rituals.
I let go of my performance fears.
I let go of my sexual fears.
I let go
of fears about my adequacy as a parent or child, as a
worker, as a
I let go of the need to be in control.
I acknowledge control as a mask for my fear.
I let go of my need to be right, to be first, to be perfect.
I let go of my belief that I am entitled to be taken care of.
I let go
of my fear of the conditions of
flexible enough to accept life as it is, forgiving enough
to accept it
I drop the
need for or belief in a personal exemption from the
I acknowledge my present predicament as a path.
I trust a design in spite of the display.
I let go of more than any fate can take.
I appreciate all the ways that things work out for me.
I appreciate the graces that everywhere surround and enrich my life.
I find the
alternatives that always exist
I open myself to the flow of life and people and events.
I am grateful for the love that awaits me everywhere.
I feel deeply loved by many people near and far, living and dead.
I feel loved and watched over by a higher power (God, Universe, etc.).
that I have an important destiny, that I am living in
myself have the full measure of:
I let fear go and let joy in.
I let fear go and let love in.
I let go of fears and enlarge my sympathies.
I am more and more aware of others' fears, more and more sensitive to them,more and more compassionate toward them.
I am more and more acceptant of all kinds of people.
I enlarge my circle of love to include every living being: I show my love.
I am more
and more courageous as I live my program for dealing with
I have pluck and wit.
I let go of being on the defensive.
I protect myself.
I am non-violent.
I am intrepid under fire.
I am a hero: I live through pain and am transformed by it.
I am undaunted by people or circumstances that may threaten me.
I let people's attempts to menace me fall flat.
I give up running from threats.
I give up shrinking from a fight.
I show grace under pressure.
I stop running; I stop hiding.
More and more of my fear is becoming healthy excitement.
I meet danger face to face.
I stand up to a fight.
I take the bull by the horns.
I run the gauntlet.
I put my head in the lion's mouth.
I stick to my guns and hold my fire.
An automatic courage arises in me when I face a threat.
I dare to show myself as I am: afraid and courageous.
I hereby release the courage that has lain hidden within me.
I am thankful for the gift of fortitude.
I let go of hesitation and self-doubt.
I am hardy in the face of fear.
I have grit, stamina, and toughness.
I take risks and always act with responsibility and grace.
I let go of the fear of being different.
I let go of the need to meet others' expectations.
I cease being intimidated by others' anger.
I let go of my fear of what may happen if people do not like me.
I let go of my fear of false accusations.
I let go of having to do it his/her/their way.
I acknowledge that behind my exaggerated sense of obligation is a fear of my own freedom.
I let go of my terror about disapproval, ridicule, or rejection.
I dare to stop auditioning for people's approval.
I dare to give up my act.
I give up all my poses, pretenses, and posturings.
I dare to be myself.
I acknowledge that behind my fear of self-disclosure is a fear of freedom.
I dare to show my hand, to show my inclinations, to show my enthusiasms.
I let my every word, feeling, and deed reveal me as I truly am.
I love being found out, i.e., caught in the act of being my authentic self.
I explore the farthest reaches of my identity.
I dare to live the life that truly reflects my deepest needs and wishes.
I give up the need to correct people's impressions of me.
I give up being afraid of my own power.
I am irrepressible.
I draw upon ever-renewing sources of lively energy within me.
I am great-hearted and bold-spirited.
I dare to give of myself unconditionally -and-
I dare to be unconditionally committed to maintaining my own boundaries.
I am open to the grace that shows me the difference.
I fling open the gates of my soul.
I set free my love, till now imprisoned by fear.
I set free my joy, till now imprisoned by fear.
I honor and evoke my animal powers, my human powers, my divine powers.
I let true love cast out my fear.
As I let go of my fear, I free the world from fear.
May I and
all beings be free of fear and full of
that has been: Thanks!
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