In observing colleagues, friends and family, I have come to the conclusion that the most “efficient” explanation for my own and their reaction to life’s challenges is that there is a fundamental fear to which we are responding.
Speaking for myself, I find that identifying that fear is exceedingly difficult, and as Jeffers points out in her long selling book, it is worth the effort. Whatever the fear (loss of life, regard, being wrong, status, etc.), we sometimes let it keep us from acting or let it cloud our thinking.
Jeffers believes that we can harness the energy of our fears and turn that energy toward power, action and love. The fear will not go away, but it will no longer be debilitating. By allowing ourselves to acknowledge the fear, and feel it, we can then mentally image moving ahead despite our fear. I remember clearly speaking to my daughter who had asked me if I ever lost my fear of public speaking. She wanted to know if the “Butterflies go away.” My reply to her was to repeat what I had read many years ago that, “The Butterflies never go away, and we don’t want them to. Instead, we want to teach them to fly in formation.” In Jeffers world, that is feeling the fear and doing it any way; turning the fear into power and action.
Jeffers provides several techniques for working around and through our fears. These practical ways of moving ahead despite our concerns are more easily said than done in most cases. We all, to one extent or another, these coping techniques in our lives now; so many won’t be new to us. We just need to identify the fear and how we cope with that fear in order to apply the technique to a new situation.
What I appreciate most about this book is that Jeffers has successfully taken the topic of fear and its manifestations in our lives out of the Psychologist’s office and into the education world. Like most education, the reading assignment is fairly easy, the understanding less so and the practical application is where the real challenge lies.
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