How to Overcome a Fear of Authority Figures
About five years ago, in a previous job of mine I had to work with a guy who I hated intensely…Hate is a strong word that I’ve rarely use in my life but at that time it was an accurate description of my feelings toward him.
We really didn’t get on…
We were like chalk and cheese, argued regularly and every time I saw him I felt a knot in my stomach as the anger welled up inside of me.
Now this wouldn’t have been that bad but the problem was he was my manager and I had to work with the guy for pretty much 12 hours every day. It was a complete nightmare and clearly something had to be done.
So I started using my imagination...
As I sat watching him I began to imagine what he would look like wearing a pink ballerina costume.
Then I started imagining a huge Pinocchio like nose on his face and stuck a pair of angel wings on his back.
Next I turned my attention to what he was saying…As he spoke I imagined what his voice would sound like if it was Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck or Bart Simpson.
I kept doing these visual and auditory hallucinations every time I had to deal with him for a full day and pretty soon something strange happened. By about afternoon time I noticed that all the negative feelings I had towards him had completely disappeared.
Because I was laughing inside every time I looked at him the feelings of hatred and anxiety got displaced.
They just simply melted away, were neutralised, couldn’t possibly exist anymore in the presence of the humour and try as I might I couldn’t get them back.
Pretty amazing for a mornings work…
Using your imagination in this way serves two useful purposes. Firstly it brings your attention from the inside to the outside. Successful social interaction requires that your attention be fixed on the outside world most of the time so that you can respond, in the moment, to what’s going on.
By hallucinating visually and auditory in this way it is forcing you to be more on the outside.
You may be imagining stuff but the stuff you are imagining is on the outside if that makes sense.
The second and probably more useful purpose is that it uses feelings of laughter and humour to collapse, displace and wash away the negative feelings you had been experiencing.
This is such a useful technique that can be used in any social situation but it is particularly useful if you have a problem dealing with authority figures.
Feeling intimidated around authority figures is a fairly common problem that most people can handle but some really struggle with.
Throughout our lives we are taught to respect authority. Some people reject this and go the other way where as others buy into it a little too much and it results in them feeling unnecessarily nervous or anxious around them.
If you fall into the later category then using your imagination in the ways described above will work really well in stripping away these un-useful associations.
The beauty of the technique is it is under your complete control and can be done pretty much instantly, in the moment, any time you like in any situation…It is your brain after all!
The trick is to keep using your imagination until you feel like you could have a little chuckle inside. As soon as you reach this point you’ll start to notice the negative feelings being displaced. It doesn’t happen right away but were not talking about years of practice here we’re talking about minutes, maybe half an hour depending on how creative you decide to be.
To summarize, here’s a quick review of the exercise, if you want to experience a much more powerful version of it then check out The People’s Coach Guide to Social Confidence CD Kit on digital Download:
How to let go of a Fear of Authority Figures...
- Pick an authority figure that has intimidated you or made you feel unnecessarily nervous or anxious in the past.
- Close your eyes and imagine a situation where you felt nervous/anxious around them.
- Now imagine them dressed in a pink ballerina costume on. Put some large funny ears on them and imagine their nose growing huge like Pinocchio.
- Next play about with how they sound. Speed their voice up or make them sound like a cartoon character.
- Keep using your imagination until you laugh inside.
- Next time you have to interact with them repeat the exercise with your eyes open as you interact with them. Remember don’t laugh out loud just allow yourself to smile inside and pretty soon the negative feelings will wash away.
If you would like to experience a far more powerful version of this and finally banish those unnecessary social fears and anxieties for good then check out The Guide to Social Confidence CD Kit available on Digital Download.
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