Don’t Let Fear Get In Your Way
It is a rare person who lives without fearful feelings of one kind or another. You may be afraid of heights, or spiders, or new situations, or rejection. Whatever your fears may be, there are basically two ways of dealing with them. The first is to let those fears create boundaries beyond which you can’t move or grow. The second is to face your fears head-on and allow them to become opportunities to expand your life. Which approach do you tend to use?
Five simple ways to address your fears
1. Realize that everyone is afraid of something. No matter what you are afraid of, you are not alone. There are so many commonly held fears out there that they call them phobias. We’ve all heard of the biggies like Arachnophobia which is a fear of spiders. But how about Bibliophobia (fear of books), Dendrophobia (fear of trees), Leukophobia (fear of the color white), Philophobia (fear of love) or Pteridophobia (fear of ferns).
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
Why did I mention all these weird phobias? Because, now that you have seen some of the things that others are afraid of, your fears probably seem a little more reasonable. The point is, everyone fears something and understanding this can help you feel less isolated in your fears. Your particular fears do not make you weird and even your deepest, darkest fear is not unique to you alone.
2. You don’t have to overcome your fears all at once. Let’s imagine that you are fearful of public speaking. You probably wouldn’t want to address this by booking a speaking gig in front of a thousand people. All that would do is reinforce your fearful feelings. How much more reasonable it would be to start small and work up from there.
Fear is an acronym in the English language for, ‘False Evidence Appearing Real.’ ~ Neale Donald Walsch
The same principle applies to most fears. If you are afraid to swim in the ocean don’t go to the north shore of Oahu your first time out. Instead, find a quiet little bay somewhere and get comfortable with that situation. Then, as you become familiar with the feel and rhythm of small waves, you can comfortably ease your way into something a little more challenging. One of the best ways to overcome your fears is with baby steps.
3. Approach your fears as opportunities to grow. This involves changing your emotional viewpoint. Obviously, nobody wants to live with fearful feelings. What would your life be like if you overcame your fears? What kind of new opportunities would be available to you if you could just release your fears?
Looking beyond our fears to the prospective benefits of overcoming them changes our focus completely. As long as we are focusing on fear, we feed that fearful feeling. Focusing on the benefits of overcoming our fears removes much of the emotional energy feeding them. Making a list of the pros and cons of dealing with the thing that you are afraid of can help give your focus new direction.
1) What are the potential benefits of overcoming your fear?
2) How might your life be different if you weren’t afraid of it?
3) What would you be free to do if you could let go of that fear?
4) What do you have to lose by giving up those fearful feelings?
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