Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Grow…
These two acronyms above show that this four-letter word is one of the greatest yardsticks for becoming either a success or a failure in life. Many of us fail to understand the power of fear, even after we may have been affected by it and its consequences in our own lives.
But what really is fear?
Fear is the emotional response the brain gives after it has been fed and led to see a perceived threat, danger or unappealing experience; fear is caused by the picture of this in our minds. An absence of the ability to accurately judge a situation causes a shift in reality, and leads us to paint terrifying pictures. This all happens in a split second as our mammal brains react to a situation as it did when we first learnt to fight, flee or freeze.
From research and personal study, I have found out that fear is caused by man and seems inevitable to most people. But also animals exhibit fear. Most see it as an integral part of their lives. In fact, a lot of people are living in constant fear and this brings me to the discussion about the different faces of fear.
Sometimes it is not immediately apparent that an emotion is actually fear based. The different faces of fear are like war tactics. I am talking about the different methods through which fear creeps up on you and the resulting decisions you take to cover it up.
Are you someone who would rather not do something than to be unsuccessful? The fear of failing an exercise, experiment, or not getting a job has caused many to hold back and withdraw from a course they had been following or working on. They suddenly withdraw and stop a project as soon as fear grips them, then giving a flimsy excuse to cover up.
This is closely related to the fear of success. Many people are afraid of being successful so they self sabotage. They do not want to seem better than their parents, peers, or friends. As soon as they realise they are making headway they take some (more often than not) unconscious action to prevent them from having a successful outcome.
Another mask of fear is anger. So many of us tend to cover up an internal fear we are experiencing and use anger as a form of attack against fear. We then put on a front simply to guard ourselves against whatever we are scared of. Being angry prevents us from having to face this fear and possibly DOING something about it.
The act of being an introvert and withdrawn, introversion is a special tactic for some who might imagine they are weak or see themselves as victims. In these situations we tend not to go out of our way so that our worst fears won’t be confirmed; we say less than we know, do less than we could, are capable of, or are supposed to. We often end up not doing anything unless directly asked to do and are always very careful just to be on the safe side. Fear causes introverts not to take risks, have a dislike for taking initiatives, and to be wary of change.
The fear of not being good enough or doing enough is especially apparent in the business environment but not limited to it. We have the mother who thinks she is not good enough, because she cannot ALWAYS be there for her children, the aspiring young teacher whose students don’t always make the grade, and who blames herself for this, or the person who cannot say no, ends up taking on far too much, and is unable to reach set goals.
We ALL have fears, imagined or real, which are inevitable in our lives. I am not sure if it is possible or even desirable to attempt to completely get rid of fears.
What I do believe is that it is all about HOW we deal with our fears – do we allow them to run and determine or lives or do we use them as a gauge to assess if something is beneficial or detrimental to us?
Now we know some of the different ways fear manifests itself in our lives, what can we do to change this?
There is a whole list of ways in which we can deal with fear. That is the good thing, because there will be different methods to suit different needs, fears and situations.
The first place to start when wanting to make any serious and lasting change is always with awareness. If you are not aware of a situation you cannot possibly begin to change it. Become aware by just recognising it each time a fear comes up sets you squarely on the path to working with your fear. You don’t have to do more than that to begin with, just be aware that it is present.
2. Take a closer look
As you become more familiar with your fear, look at it closely. Take some time and really look at it, examine WHAT this fear is? Can you remember similar situations when you felt this fear? Are you aware of when it first started?
3. Be Curious
It is said that curiosity killed the cat; I say it made him smart! Curiosity allows us to look at things from a different perspective, gives us the freedom to be willing to try something else. You might ask yourself the questions above or other such questions like which thoughts or people make you fearful?
4. Seek help
Get help if you feel you cannot deal with it alone. There are so many different types of therapy, self-help books, courses, films. Take some time to research and find the best one for you.
5. Alternative methods – Tapping
A really great method for dealing with all sorts of fears and many other issues has to be TAPPING also known as EFT. Made popular by some like Nick Ortner, tapping has been found to be a very effective method for helping to release trauma, pain, insecurities, and fear. It is an apparently safe method which is easy to learn and is yet highly effective.
6. Self-help Books
There many helpful books which have been written on the subject of fear.
One of my favourites is “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers
In more acute cases HYPNOSIS might be something you may want to consider. This is not to be taken lightly and it is advisable to find a good practitioner. The same goes for any acute condition. Be sure to find out how long they have been practising, what reviews they have received, how they answer your inquiry etc. The reported cases of the successes of hypnosis in dealing with fear and anxiety is one thing. Still make sure you choose the right person for your situation. Drake Eastburn’s book What is Hypnosis, dispels some myths about what hypnosis is and gives you a clear idea of what it isn’t.
8. Get positive
Every now and then I watch one of the many inspirational films available. This really helps me see that the fears of not having enough, not being enough, not doing enough are not real. These films help to bring me back to being present. I am the often overcome by a deep feeling of gratitude, reinforcing that these fears are really just illusionary.
I have heard of some people who managed to combat their fears through keeping a journal. What about experimenting with having a “My fear” journal or something similar.
Change takes time
Whichever method you decide to use, TAKE TIME! Change rarely happens overnight. You will gain nothing by beating yourself up for not having dealt with your fear quickly enough. Your progress is yours alone, there is no need to compare to how someone else is getting on.
Be kind and gentle with yourself when working on effecting ANY change in your life. I would even go a step further and say congratulate yourself for any initiated change which is taking you forward.
And remember when you next feel fearful, what is the worst thing that could happen?
There are of course many other ways of dealing with fear. Which method has worked for you?Which is or was your biggest fear and what did you do to manage it?
Thanks for stopping by