Are Phobias Detrimental To Self-Improvement?


Nowadays, it seems like just about everyone is on some sort of self-improvement journey and that’s a great thing. Ideally, everyone should aspire to be the best version of themselves and to do away with the bad habits that might be holding them back. However, if you have a phobia, you might feel as if it’s holding you back from truly accomplishing what you want to on your journey of self-improvement.

There’s a lot of debate as to whether or not a phobia is a major hindrance to self-improvement. There’s no clear answer; instead, it has to do with a lot of various factors. Here are some things to keep in mind when determining whether or not your phobia is holding you back from improving yourself.

Determine The Severity Of The Phobia

For a moment, think about the various physical ailments that people can have. Think about a time when you’ve experienced some minor pain in a muscle group, perhaps due to an overly strenuous workout. Now think of a time when you’ve seriously injured yourself, to the point where you had to go to the hospital.

Obviously, those two experiences probably evoke radically different emotions when you reflect on them. You probably think back to the time you had to go to the hospital and feel a sense of sadness for how much pain you were in at the time. When you think back on the minor muscle soreness, you probably don’t feel any negative emotions at all. In fact, you might just feel a sense of pride for the hard workout that had to happen for you to be in such discomfort the next day.

Phobias are like physical ailments in the sense that they really exist on a spectrum. A person with a very minor fear of clowns, known as coulrophobia, could reflect on the moments that they’ve gasped or jumped when approached by a clown and feel nothing besides an amused, self-deprecating feeling of bashful embarrassment. However, someone with a crippling fear of flying, also known as aviophobia, might look back at all the times their aviophobia has affected their life and feel a real sense of grief, sadness and loss over all of the vacations and experiences that they’ve missed in their life due to their inability to board a plane.

Choosing How To Handle Your Phobia

When it comes to minor phobias, if you don’t feel any real grief, sadness or negativity in relation to your fear, it might be best to just accept the phobia as a part of yourself and continue on your self-improvement journey. In a world that’s becoming more sensitive to mental illness, we often think of phrases like “suck it up” as being offensive. However, for someone with a minor phobia of spiders that doesn’t cause panic attacks or serious fear, being told to “suck it up” on an outdoor excursion often works just fine. In fact, conquering a minor phobia with a little tough love can be a wonderful self-esteem boost when all is said and done.

But for those who have a massive phobia, it’s extremely difficult to live a full and purposeful life when you’re burdened with such a crippling fear. In these instances, overcoming the phobia should be a cornerstone of the self-improvement journey. Of course, overcoming a phobia can mean several different things. Sometimes it means going on a personal journey. Other times, and this is more common for serious phobias, it means seeking professional help and treatment.

Asking For And Receiving Professional Help

Different professionals use different techniques to help people overcome their phobias. Sometimes exposure therapy is used, while other professionals prefer to use a gentler approach. The goal of therapy is not to traumatize or upset the patient, but rather to work towards recovery, even if it can sometimes be difficult along the way.

Only you can truly know the extent to which your phobia is holding you back. If your phobia is minor, then don’t feel as if it’s holding you back from your self-improvement goals. If your phobia is more serious, however, then it’s best to make overcoming it a huge goal that is prioritized highly on your self-improvement journey.

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