What Are You So Afraid Of?

I have always admired those fearless and courageous people who put it all on the line and unwittingly take life by the horns. I unfortunately am not always so naturally inclined to embrace and challenge my fear. It’s easy to have moments where fearful delusions creep into my mind, but despite this I have gotten more likely to try new things, step out of my comfort zone, and take risks.

It can be difficult to overcome fear. We live in a world of fear mongering, and get bombarded with negative messages full of corruption, cynicism, and pain. It’s no wonder we learn to believe in our fears and develop a deep rooted foundation based on jealousy, anxiety, and selfishness. Consider how much of your thinking is built on your fears about what could go wrong and what could be lost. If we’re not careful these messages will begin to grow our delusion of fear and mistrust to a point that will immobilize us from experiencing many good moments that are right outside our door. You can begin to overcome and let go of your fears by first uncovering what fears are holding you back.

What do you fear?

Fear of rejection

Are you scared to connect, network, and relate with others based on a fear of being rejected? When we reach out to others to grow professionally and personally there is always a chance of rejection. If this happens to be a significant fear for you, consider this, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Many people don’t get what they want because they’re afraid to ask. They’re afraid to hear the word “NO”. If you don’t ask for something you can be certain you won’t get it.

Fear of not being good enough

Do you have a sense that no matter what you do or accomplish you’re not good enough? A fear of not being good enough can hold you back and prevent you from even trying. We may want to please others so badly in prevents us from taking action. When we lack the confidence necessary to take on something new, we get stuck in a cycle of inadequacy. When opportunities arise do you feel confident that you are capable of handling them?

Fear of abandonment or being alone

Do you cling to relationships and believe that your happiness and success relies on the company of others? We are certainly social beings and need relationships for our well-being and growth, though when this drives us to fear abandonment and being alone it can be very debilitating. This fear leads us to believe that without this other person we can’t go on. It leaves us always seeking a sense of security that we may never find, and it can prevent us from living out our purpose if it jeopardizes our relationships.

Fear of not having enough money

When we’re living above our means and not financially comfortable, it is easy to feel concerned and burdened by money. Always worrying about not having enough money will keep our focus on lack and we won’t be able to envision a life of abundance. Sometimes we have to be resourceful and seek out new ways to make money. Though even when looking for new avenues know you will always have enough and realize money is not static. We can always obtain more.

Fear of not living up to your potential

Even when we are full of confidence and have always performed at our peak we can still be fearful of not living up to our potential. We can set unrealistically high standards and when we don’t reach these, become full of guilt and shame. Guilt is unproductive and only leads us to become self-critical and insecure. Be careful that your lofty personal expectations don’t sabotage your success.

Fear of insignificance

What leads you to feel proud of yourself and know you are making a difference? Sometimes what we believe to be most important in our life ends up leaving us feeling empty. We may have all the accomplishments we desire and be filthy rich, but feel completely insignificant and empty of purpose. We can spend our entire life searching for a purpose if we’re not careful.

How to be fearless

Most peoples’ fears involve at least one of the above areas. These are what drive our behavior and often inhibit us from using our full potential. Instead of reacting and living life according to fear, we can learn to cultivate faith in life and respond accordingly. Here’s how you can build faith in what life has to offer.

Mindfulness of thinking

Our self-talk is a powerful way to prepare for and deal with fear. Healthy self-talk helps to cultivate a positive self-image and gain a sense of security despite life’s uncertainty. Are you aware of your thinking, or are your thoughts in the driver’s seat? Working to be more aware of our thinking and overcome worry thoughts is part of living by faith. When we’re not always worrying about what could happen and brooding on past regrets we have a chance to experience true security and confidence. The two things we can’t do anything about are the past and future. The present is all there is, and in the present there is nothing to fear. Work to become mindful and experience the present moment.

Develop an optimistic interpretation

One way that negativity creeps into our life is based on how we interpret what happens. Often when something bad happens we ask ourselves why? There are two main ways to interpret events – pessimistically and optimistically. Pessimist thinking leads people to blame themselves for the problem. They also assume that the occurrence will impact many areas of their life and have long lasting effects. Consider how debilitating this type of thinking is? Pessimistic thinking leads to feeling out of control and full of fear. When we expect bad things to happen it’s unlikely we will ever take any risks or make changes to our life.

Taking action

Have you ever been scared to death about something you had to do, but once you went through with it realize there was nothing to fear? We are capable at any moment of doing something we never thought we would do in our entire life. These are moments when we realize how irrational our fear can be. Fear tells us that as long as we don’t try something new or take a risk we will be safe. Unfortunately there is no sure thing in life, and when we let fear immobilize us from moving forward we only reinforce these delusions. Success breeds success and we must give ourselves an opportunity to be success. When we begin to take action our fear will dissipate.

Spending time with risk-takers

Having someone in our life that forces us to take risk and pushes us beyond our personal comfort zone can help us embrace fear. When fear emerges it’s much too easy to stay in the same place and not take on something more grand than we’re used to if we don’t have someone encourages us along. If you want to start a business but are fearful, spend time with entrepreneurs. If you want to write a book, spend time with authors. If you want to travel the world, connect with someone who has done it. Spending time with someone who tends to try new things and appreciates change can help make the process easier and more comforting. When we live by fear the opposite of what we desire typically happens because we are focusing on what we don’t want. Learn to appreciate your fear and use it as source of inspiration and motivation. Consider what am I afraid of right now? What am I supposed to learn from this? The ultimate source for self-growth and confidence is embracing your fears. What fears do you struggle with? How have you been able to overcome them? Photo credit: Meredith_Farmer