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Bloganuary - January Blog Challenge - Day 15: Fear

Today, Bloganuary asks, "What fear have you conquered?" I think that in terms of serious fears, it's impossible to ever make them go completely. But you can conquer them to the point where they no longer impede your regular functioning. I have many fears. I'm a big old coward. Most of my fears related to social phobia and leaving the apartment have not yet been resolved. However, I can think of an unrelated fear that I conquered: my fear of dogs.

I've been bitten by dogs several times when I was very young. On one particular occasion, I was bitten close to the neck (under my chin) and it could have gone very badly for me. I was pretty lucky. I also got spooked a lot by big neighborhood dogs that ran around without leashes or owners. These dogs were usually not aggressive, but they still scared me. When I was ten to eleven, my fear of dogs was at its strongest, such that I couldn't take walks in the neighborhood and I would tremble and get sick when passing a barking, leashed dog.

Despite being so afraid I could barely function, I also loved dogs. In general, I love animals. That's how I was able to fight back against the fear. I love dogs more than I fear them. I really wanted to be able to pet cute dogs and play with friendly dogs. So, I did some unofficial exposure therapy, getting used to the regular dogs at two different park areas. I also trained myself to stop running when feeling threatened. I would stand very still, with my hands in the pockets of my big hoody, when a big dog approached. I got better and better at reading their body language and finding out when it was ok to touch them.

Looking back, I kind of don't know how I managed to do all this by myself. It's a pretty big deal to conquer such a strong fear without much outside guidance. But I did it. Now, I could take neighborhood walks again and sometimes pet the dogs I encountered if their owners were there and it was safe. The fear of dogs is and always be in the back of my mind. I can't ever shake it completely. Part of me sees a big dog and can't help imagining it biting my throat. But I can act more confident than I actually feel, apply rational thinking, and remember my training. Usually, I'm able to befriend dogs, and this makes me happy.

Thanks for reading~

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