02/02 Fear of Flying and schooling a dog
Shall we take a collar off?
A short while ago I got a call from my graduate, which doesn’t have any problems with flying for a long time already. And after a small talk of this and that she asked me a question:
— «Alex, Dear, I’ve recently made a spontaneous decision to take a flight to Samui, so can you tell me is it scary to fly by Air Astana airline?»
— (me) «I don’t know».
— (She) «What do you mean you don’t know??? You’ve said before that all airlines are about equally safe, haven’t you?!!!»
A question to you, my dear readers, can you see any logical problem in her question? Stop for a moment, please, and make a try to understand why the question of my graduate was illogical. I’ll give you a clue – it has nothing to do with planes, airlines, and other similar things.
Many people don’t see it. But I see it clearly.
My graduate asked me about HER EMOTIONS. Is it FEARFUL to fly by Air Astana airline? But wait a minute, is it fearful for whom? For HER!
It is obvious that I can’t know for sure whether SHE has a fear or not. The FEAR is HER internal process. It’s HER emotion, and nothing more.
It stands to reason that she had in mind something quite different. She was wondering, by the usual habit of all anxious fliers, whether it is DANGEROUS to fly by Air Astana! But nevertheless, she asked me «IS IT FEARFUL?» In other words, in her opinion the words FEARFUL and DANGEROUS are nothing, but synonyms!
Such kind of concept shift is typical for almost every scared flier on earth. According to their way of thinking, scary means dangerous. That’s the reason 99% of people with the fear of flying won’t ride a rollercoaster, while millions of people all over the world wait in long lines to take a ride, get a fright, feel an adrenalin rush and the whole range of emotions. Which are DANGEROUS for an anxious flier.
Let’s try to understand why does this shift «fear-danger» happen to them (and probably, to you either).
Attempt to recollect a process of schooling a dog. For example, when masters want to make their dogs walking alongside rather than pulling the leash, some of them use choke spiked collars. A dog pulls the leash – and it sticks into its neck. One-two-three and the dog start to obey its master – walks straight and doesn’t pull the leash any longer. And what makes it behave in this way? Exactly, a fear!
Unfortunately, many parents are not too far removed from these dog masters. They also use FEAR to FORBID, PREVENT or GET from their child a behavior THEY want!!! «Stop running – or you may fall and wring your neck.” «If you don’t behave yourself I’ll go away and leave you.” «If you get a bad mark I won’t let you go outside.» «Don’t go away from your mother too far if you don’t want to be kidnapped » and so on, it can be kept going for hours. Such child will just stop distinguish between FEARFUL and DANGEROUS things. These words are synonyms for him or her. And this is not the worst outcome of this story.
Much worse is when the mind of a young person which is not strong enough yet, gets a confirmation to the habit of placing fearful on the same foot as dangerous. Standard scheme: a child makes something wrong (notably – in the eyes of parents).
A usual dialogue, quite standard: «Well, let’s wait till your father comes, he will show you what is what” – mother tells her child. This child is waiting for the father while being SCARED TO DEATH. The father comes home. And starts “dealing with problem”. The child feels pain – either mental or physical. And that’s all. The loop is closed. A FEAR becomes not only a synonym but also a signal. Of PAIN. MISFORTUNE. DANGER.
The years are flowing away. The “Child” is already 30 years old. But as it was before, any slightest fear instantly starts meaning nothing, but DANGER. The subconscious tells him: “Don’t go there! Don’t do it! Don’t get in there! Stop it! Keep away from it!” Or “If you fear now, you will be hurt soon!”
Please, note that there is absolutely no connection to the actual processes taking place, risks or safety.
During the courses, we learn to have a deep logical understanding of aviation to realize the amazing safety of its operations and to prevent naughty fantasies. But much more attention we pay not to the logic, but to the work with a problem of «fear collar», the very one which probably could control you in the past.
The time for getting rid of it is now. Take it off and live freely. We have all the necessary knowledge, methods and techniques to help You in that. Just take a chance.
To choose a program click here or join my group chat session by Skype. Just add me to your skype contact — I’m alexinna (Israel) there and say hello. I’ll invite you every time the group chat session is being held. It’s free and without any obligations on your side of course.
I’m looking forward hearing from you soon.
Alexey Gervash, an aviation psychologist, pilot,
a fellow of European Association for Aviation Psychology (EAAP)