This exercise is a straightforward one; to write down, in the most general terms, a list of the things that we fear. There are elemental and universal terrors that we dare not face or even acknowledge, but that nevertheless scream at us from every page of the inventory. Driving each assessment of a difficult situation, every justification for an objection, and every response to a challenge is the fear that if we don’t do this thing we have decided upon then something bad will happen. Many of our fundamental fears – formulated as simple, short sentences without explanation or justification – are so obvious and common to us all that it may seem strange that we haven’t acknowledged them openly before now. Actually writing them down and reading them out aloud can be a breath-taking experience. The fact that we feel so raw and exposed, so fragile and flawed and uncertain after completing the inventory makes it an ideal time to do so, for it is a cathartic and powerful experience.
This exercise will have four sections. Section one is those universal fears that we probably all share, and that are in large part what make us human. You will not need to refer to anything other than your heart. Examples of these may be: “I am afraid of getting old,” “I am afraid of being alone,” “I am afraid of being unloved by those I love,” “I am afraid of uncertainty,” “I am afraid that I’m not doing the right thing…” This last one is especially poignant, no matter what aspect or area of my life it is applied to. I can withstand any trial or tribulation provided that I know that it is necessary, and the best course of action given the circumstances. It is vital to my sense of well-being that I am assured – by you, by a committee, or by God – and convinced that I am not making a mistake that can’t be corrected.
Section two requires an objective and dispassionate review of your inventory, in particular of your column five truth as a fear-based rebuttal of the column two cause of the resentment. The question to ask yourself is; what am I afraid of? Not in the sense of a specific answer to the example you are considering, you understand, but the base fear that drives it. You will see repeating occurrences of the same themes generating your actions again and again, in different areas of your life and inventory. Seek to synthesis and codify that fear. If you have been disrespected at work and insulted by your friend, the issue for you may be one of respect and affection. It may be about your needs being important to others, or it may be principally concerned with your ability to control and convince them and your success in doing so.