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Fear or Dufear?

What is fear?


Fear is an automatic mental-emotional response, putting the mind and body on alert that something is (perceived as) a threat to the (perceived) integrity of the mind-body-spirit system. Fear, like every other emotion, has two components: bodily sensations and automatic thoughts.


Appropriate responses to fear

For simple, un-resisted fear, the bodily sensations are normally an increased heart rate and an added feeling of alertness. For simple, un-resisted fear, the automatic thought is a typical, “How can I address this threat?” Or, in the case of an instinctual reaction to fear as in catching yourself quickly to prevent yourself from falling down when you slip on something, then since the immediate threat is already handled, your thought might be, "How could I be less likely to encounter this dangerous circumstance in the future?"


Unlike animals, we humans have the ability to resist our fear, creating an internal civil war


Fear, however, is rarely un-resisted. We have all been taught, both implicitly and explicitly, from a very early age, to resist our fear, to push it down, to argue it away, to make ourselves wrong for having it, and to hide it from others, if not from ourselves. What we call “fear” is not simply fear; it is almost always resisted fear, which is called Dufear.


Body sensations stimulated by dufear


For dufear, the bodily sensations may include any of the following:


  • tightness in the chest, stomach, or other parts of the body,

  • dry mouth or tight throat,

  • sweaty palms,

  • cold feet or coldness in other parts of the body,

  • a feeling of weakness in the limbs and body,

  • drowsiness or dizziness,

  • headache,

  • quivering,

  • a shaking body or chattering teeth,

  • stress and tension,

  • feeling pressured

  • depression,

  • and so on.


Thoughts stimulated by dufear

For resisted fear the automatic thoughts may include the following:

  • “I can’t do this.”

  • “This is too much.”

  • “What will happen if I fail?”

  • “I don’t deserve to be treated this way.”

  • “I didn’t deserve to get a raise anyway.”

  • “She’ll think I’m a fool for asking her out.”

  • “What will people think?”

  • “It’s not going to work anyway.”

  • “This is not the right way to do things.”

  • “Why can’t life be easier?”

  • “What does it matter?”

  • “Why can’t she just know what is right?”

  • “Things can’t really be any different.”

  • “I don’t want to look at this.”

  • “It just doesn’t feel comfortable to me.”

  • “I don’t think I’m ready yet.”

  • “I’ll do it some other time.”

  • “I just feel like giving up.”

  • “I’m confused.”

  • “I don’t know which way to go,”

  • "I feel guilty,"

  • and so on.


Fear will be your friend if you treat it as such


Fear will be your friend if you will treat it as such. Here's how.


Identify some resisted fear right now by checking out the symptoms above.


Undoing dufear

Take several deep breaths, breathing into the energy of that fear, saying as loudly as you can or are willing to, “Holy cats and jeepers creepers, I'm so scared that..." See if you can find an ending to add, as in, "...I'm so scared that I won't make the right decision." If no ending comes to mind, just scream out, "Holy cats and jeepers creepers, I'm so scared!"

Loudly, slowly, and silly

Scream it loudly, slowly, and silly. Do it at least four times and as many as eleven times.

Feel the difference

Notice the difference this makes in your feeling of resourcefulness and in your experience of the fear, as it changes from resisted fear into fear you can work with.



"We gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot."

–Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962, American author and first lady)


"Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared."

–Eddie Richenbacker (1890-1973, World War I aerial hero)


"Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most."

–Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881, Russian novelist, journalist, short-story writer)

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