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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, October 03, 2013
Two Fears That Are Bad for Your Health by guest blogger Nancy Anderson

If you suffer from chronic health problems, your distress may be rooted in the fear of poverty and the fear of criticism. These two terrorists can keep you stuck in a job or business you hate, and relationships that drain the life out of you. To get past these gatekeepers to healthy living, confront your fears head-on. Once you look at what you fear and why, you can take the action that moves fear out of the way.

The fear of poverty: When you fear poverty, you constantly worry about not having enough money, even when you have the money you need. For example, as soon as you think about changing your job or business, up comes the fear of what will happen when you run out of money. There you are, out on the street, pushing a grocery cart full of your belongings. You are too scared to take the first step to change: getting accurate information, such as by talking with people who have achieved what you want to do.

To defeat the fear of poverty:
• Admit that you are not happy.
• Put away some savings. Spend only for what you need.
• Get the education or training that you need to advance.
• Don’t talk with negative people about what you are doing.
• Associate with people who take risks in spite of their fears.
• Persevere through self-doubt until you get where you want to go.
• Ask “what-if” questions, such as “What if I were paid for the work I do easily and well?” or, most important, “What if I liked my work so much I never wanted to retire?” Changing the way you think about work, from a necessity for survival to something you enjoy, reduces the fear of poverty.

The fear of criticism: This fear is rampant in our culture, which measures success in terms of status and money rather than being true to oneself. The stress created by trying to be good and perfect fills doctors’ offices with patients who never get well.

The symptoms of the fear of criticism are:
• procrastination
• inability to accept correction without being defensive
• ambivalence about starting and completing projects
• seeing mistakes as unforgivable failures

Many people’s new ideas die at birth because of their fear of looking wrong or stupid in the eyes of others; often these people are also afraid of criticism. Regrettably, this fear can cause them to miss golden opportunities for growth.

If you grew up in a highly critical family, you may have internalized a voice that shames you when you fall short. Even when you have done nothing wrong, you default to blaming yourself. If it rains, it must be your fault; if someone is unhappy, something you said or did caused the distress. It does not occur to you that critics could be wrong, or that the flaws they see in you actually belong to them.

To defeat the fear of criticism:
• Have compassion for the human condition. We are all insecure travelers on this planet. Accepting error as a normal part of life makes it easier to correct mistakes and move on to the solutions. Strangely enough, this will make you more open to criticism that helps you to improve.
• Be prepared. Preparation is like a pair of hiking boots that take you through the roughest terrain. When you don’t take shortcuts, you handle criticism with ease and grace.
• Keep your sense of humor. Even the harshest critics are disarmed when you can laugh at your mistakes. When you get too serious, watch funny movies, exercise vigorously, and/or talk with people who remind you that the mountain you are making of the situation is just a molehill.

The fear of poverty and the fear of criticism are no match for the surge of well-being that comes after you take the risks that scare you. And if you keep your mind focused on what you can do today to improve your life, what you do tomorrow will surprise you.

Nancy Anderson is a career and life consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area and the author of the bestselling career guide Work with Passion: How to Do What You Love for a Living and Work with Passion in Midlife and Beyond: Reach Your Full Potential and Make the Money You Need.


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