Creating an “out of sight, out of mind” state even when the thing you fear is right in front of you

by Michelle on July 18, 2011

in Facing your fears

Wow, this summer has been HOT and CRAZY here in Colorado. Seems to be a new tradition that we get perfect sunshine in the mornings – then lightning, thunder, and rain in the afternoons. I’ve witnessed a few rolling thunderstorms, which are so strange to me – the thunder sounds like a low-pitched electric guitar playing continuously.

Is that something to be afraid of, or is it just the music of nature?

I used to be really afraid of lightning and thunder. (It probably had something to do with my parents always turning off all the lights and hiding away from the windows any time there was a storm when we were little.) Now I find myself growing out of this fear.

I’ve been experimenting with the possibility of “erasing fear instantaneously.” For example, one day when it was thundering, I put on ear plugs so I could focus on my work. I had never done that before. To my surprise, the noise was completely gone. (Yeah, that’s what ear plugs do… they erase noise.) But I thought this was fascinating. Even though it was storming outside, and for years I’d been afraid of storms, I was now wearing ear plugs and couldn’t hear the noise of the thunder. All that was left for me to perceive were flashes of lightning.

Those flashes still made me nervous, but they weren’t as scary without the thunder. I pulled the curtains over the windows to darken the room, and poof – the lightning was gone. All the lights in my apartment were turned on, so the room was bright.

I was no longer afraid of the storm. Out of sight, out of mind.

This led me to wonder if I couldn’t produce an “out of sight, out of mind” state even while I was witnessing lightning and thunder? – without ear plugs and without the room darkened. How about with the windows wide open?

When it’s storming and I’m driving in my car, I simply turn up my stereo and the thunder is magically gone. I have a subwoofer in my trunk, and the bass is much louder than the thunder, yet I’m not afraid of the booming bass. (Yes, I actually have a subwoofer in my car… in a nutshell: I’m a fan of hip hop.)

As for the lightning? I forced myself to observe it for several minutes, then realized, “It’s just flashes of light.” We have a greater chance of being electrocuted by something in our houses than being struck by one of these flashes of light – yet we don’t go around fearing our household appliances. (At least I don’t.)

Are there fears you’ve had since childhood that you’d like to reexamine with your adult mind? Can you create an “out of sight, out of mind” state even when you’re right in front of the thing you fear?

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