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In college I taught myself to hide from fear. Alcohol was a good hiding place, as was believing that the success I wanted in life would just magically show up one day. And whether or not self-criticism—self-condemnation, really—hid me from my fear, it provided a way to express it that did me absolutely no good. I don’t think I knew I was hiding. I certainly did not understand how afraid I was, and I did not know I was becoming the poster boy for one of fear’s greatest supporters: avoidance. I didn’t even know who the Bully was, so I could not have known he was already breathing down my neck.
And for this I get paid. 37 38 / Embracing Fear As I reflect on my interesting career choice, I can see that another way to describe what I do is this: I stand with people as they face their fears. I help them lift their heads and look directly and carefully at the walls of resistance engineered and constructed by fear. ” I help them place their palms firmly on those walls, and I help them push. Many people along the way—friends, teachers, colleagues, and my own therapists—have helped me to do the same.
What they didn’t know was how much I was only just beginning to change, thanks to my new personal motto: NO FEAR. Thom Rutledge / 35 Later that day I was joking with one of my psychology professors about a recurring dream I had had ever since leaving college. In the dream I am distressed because I have forgotten to check my campus post-office box. There is something there I need to get, but I cannot because I am no longer enrolled in school. It occurs to me only now, as I write this, that my recurring dream has likely found its resolution; I have not had the dream again.