Fear exists in all of us. It lurks underneath, reminding us constantly about the scary world we live in. It reminds us of all that could possibly go wrong. It whispers, telling us that no one will like us or that we are a misfit, somehow not like others. Fear is your biggest enemy because it stops you living your best life. It steals your future happiness by frightening you into staying in a bad unfulfilling relationship or by telling you not to apply for that job because you aren’t good enough.
Yes, fear gets in the way all the time. Fear can only get in the way if you let it. Once you realise that fear is an emotion based on thinking, you can re-evaluate.
Of course, fear is useful in situations where our lives are threatened, for instance being faced with a lion out in the bush. However, in modern day life fear is out of proportion. The old brain (aka “lizard brain”) made up of the hypothalamus and amygdala registers fear whether it is stress or a lion in front of us. It can’t tell the difference. When we understand that the fear we feel won’t kill us, it makes us stronger.
The only way to diminish fear is to face it. Avoidance is the worst thing you can do. Your scary thoughts are just that – thoughts.
Make a list of your fears
When you write down what you are scared of it helps to prioritise what you need to tackle first. Place your fears in order of the amount of fear they create, rating it out of 10. 0=no fear, 10=maximum fear
Initiating conversation with a stranger 2/10
Going to a new place alone 4/10
Attending a seminar alone 6/10
Speaking to a crowd of 50 people 10/10
Start using approach behaviour and begin with the least feared situation on your list.
Ask yourself: What do I predict will happen?
Then go and do what you fear and see what happens.
What you will find is that your fears, more often than not, don’t come true. In some cases. Something bad might happen but you still learn that you can cope with adversity. Approaching your fears gives you more confidence in life.
Get out there, see life as an experiment. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? Even if the worst did happen, ask yourself what you could do to cope if that happened…
Don’t allow fear to hold you back from living your best life. Misplaced fear comes from the way that we overestimate the threat and we underestimate our ability to cope.
Fear is an emotion, it isn’t a true indicator of threat or danger. Acknowledge the fear but then move forward and live your life. Overcoming fear is the best way to self-actualise and find your true purpose and happiness.