Fears know how to keep you still, doesn’t it? It sits in the driver’s seat, driving you through the same neighborhoods, never steering you too far away from the unknown.
And sometimes it almost feels like a relief to allow fear to passively decide while you sit in a reclined position of safety and comfort.
Furthermore, it’s a familiar feeling in which you’ve come to rely on. It screams in your ear when danger is up ahead, it taps you on the shoulder when it’s time to retreat, but what fear doesn’t do, is encourage you to charge forward.
Fear is a necessary biological response for real and perceived danger, but now it’s become an essential response to almost all things.
Because you’re living in fear and you’re living through your fears, your decisions come from a place of fear. You’re unsure how to remove yourself from the fear loop.
The truth is fear won’t ever go away. The question is how do you live with fear in your life and still live the life of your dreams.
Fear is a universal emotion. Whether you’re Bill Gates or your neighbor next door––everyone feels fear.
But first, it’s important to enter below the surface to understand your fears.
How to Tear Fear Apart Like a Boss
You’ve been wedged into your fears for so long, that your dreams are benched on the sidelines watching.
Because fear won’t let you be great. It won’t surrender its post because you’ve given it ample fuel and now it has a colossal hold on your life.
So fear has a way of convincing you it’s merely a surface level issue. But it’s not. If you follow the tracks of your fears, you would find it soliciting tips and tricks from the old fears you’ve had long ago. Exchanging information.
Fear wants to remain relevant.
There’s a series of exercises and questions that are helpful when exploring fear. Look at the column below. Write down your fear and how long you’ve had the fear. If you have multiple fears do this for each one.
Next, write what’s within your control then what’s not within your control. You’ll then want to write all possible worse case scenarios. Lastly, focus on the solutions.
|What’s within |
|What’s not within|
|Worse case |
Moreover, this exercise allows you to externalize your fear. Many people live inside of their heads 24/7. The longer your fear lives inside of you, the harder it’s going to take to extract it.
Practice asking yourself the following questions:
- When did I first have this fear? (Get as specific as possible, age, place, etc.)
- Where did I first hear this fear and who said it?
- How does this fear make me feel? (Use as many adjectives as possible besides scared).
- If the fear came from you then ask yourself, why do you think this fear exists?
- Who am I with this fear?
- Who am I without this fear?
The point is not only to externalize the fear but to dig as deep as possible to uncover the truths behind it. Our fears come from somewhere, either from our caretakers or a significant event in our lives.
As a child, I was extremely quiet. Then as an adult being an introvert resonated with me. I quickly learned I feared intimacy with platonic and romantic relationships but at first I didn’t know the reason.
Through journaling, I realized my caretakers created a scary environment. They led me to mistrust the world I lived in. I wasn’t allowed to have sleepovers or visit other people’s homes.
But they were immigrants who always feared anyone outside of the Haitian culture. I wouldn’t have been able to make this connection without going below the surface to dismantle my fears.
You’re doing yourself a disservice by having a fear and merely accepting it as your reality.
Furthermore, you can only move forward by holding hands with fear then create a plan of action to push through it.
“Fear is excitement with the brakes on. It’s just energy. Fear can be instructive and directive. It’s a guide that’ll show you exactly where you have to go.” — Marie Forleo
When Fear Meets Your Dreams at a Crossroad Action is the Only Antidote
It’s either your fears or your dreams.
Choose one; you can’t focus on both.
As children, our parents would encourage us to approach the things that scared us the most. Do you recall being afraid of a dog, a cat, other people and other children? Our parents would gently steer us towards what we perceived as scary. As a parent, I did the same when my son was younger.
Would you be willing to gently steer yourself towards what scares you the most?
What information do you first need to get started? What small steps can you begin to take towards your fear? What’s your deadline? A deadline sends a signal to fear to acknowledge it’s a temporary existence.
But the beautiful thing about taking action is the more you take action in spite of fear the more confidence you develop.
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Eleanore Roosevelt
In other words, it’s training yourself day in and day out. Becoming comfortable with the feelings that fear drums up, which ultimately makes fear shrink in size.
Instead of holding hands with fear, it’s now a parrot riding along on your shoulder. And when your fear attempts to raise its voice you can politely say, “I hear you and appreciate you, but I don’t need your protection right now.”
Fear Becomes a Quick Afterthought For as Long as You Choose
The longer you wait, the longer fear occupies space in your life.
It’s up to you to decide how long fear will be a dominant factor. It’s necessary to dig deeper than you’ve ever dug before to understand the cause of your fear.
Making these necessary connections will provide you with the insight you’ll need to move forward.
The more you develop the habit of facing your fears and making decisions regardless of the depth of the fears, the more you’ll begin to trust yourself.
And this is when fear becomes an afterthought. You’ll quickly look behind you but you won’t be long-term companions.
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