When I was a small child old, I had a recurring dream. The dream could have been considered a nightmare, however, early on my mom helped to squash my fear and anxiety. My dream involved a witch wearing all black with the typical pointy black hat; she lived in a big black kettle that sat inside of a red brick fireplace. The floor in the room where all of this occurred had a black and white checkerboard pattern linoleum floor. The witch in the dream chased me; the dream was without sound. After having the dream a few times I told my mom. My mom gave me advice on how not to be afraid during my dream; she said, “Remember it’s only a dream”. After the advice from my mom upon recurrence of the witch returning in my dreams, I said these words to her, “You’re not real, this is only a dream.”
It has been over four decades since I faced the fear of the witch dream. And yes, I still remember the details very clearly. I don’t recall everyday of my life in such detail but certain life changing moments I put into a mental file cabinet. Whether the event is good or bad I am able to take a lesson from it. From overcoming my witch dream, I learned how to overcome scary situations that exist in the conscious world. When something unpleasant or scary occurs to me, I remember that it is only one situation and it will pass just like a my childhood scary dreams.
We do not have absolute control over what happens to us but we can control our response to the good and bad that comes our way. Fear usually comes from not knowing what might happen during a situation, which is the case with the number one fear of public speaking. Yes that is correct public speaking still is the number one fear of most people, the second is the fear of death. With a lot of practice and encouragement via my local Toastmasters club I was able to fight my longstanding fear of public speaking.
Looking back at my two biggest fears my initial fear being the witch dream and second public speaking, I determined there was a common thread overcoming both fears. I acknowledged early during each case that I was afraid then secondly I sought help to reduce my fears. It wasn’t easy but after acknowledging my fears I was able to conquer them both. I still have scary dreams and I get nervous speaking in public but both former fears don’t control me. In conquering fear, we must first admit our fear, even if we may not always understand the reason why we are afraid. Then we need to seek assistance from family, friends, or a professional individual/group. Facing fear head on is the only way to conquer its power over us.