The best way to overcome fears
Most of us are filled with fear of one kind or another: fear of change, fear of success, or fear of failure.
We fear making mistakes, being alone, ending relationships or starting new ones. Many individuals fear aging, rejection, abandonment, and unemployment.
Fear can keep us stuck in our lives! It can keep us from ending unhealthy relationships or from leaving a work situation that is no longer satisfying.
In fact, it can keep us from reaching our goals and realizing our dreams! When we are helped to move beyond our fears, we can lead lives that are both challenging and fulfilling.
It is normal for all of us to feel fear in new situations, especially when we are venturing into unknown territory. Therefore the question is, if we all feel fear when entering into the unknown, why is it that some people are able to move forward in their lives, in spite of their fear, while other individuals become paralyzed? The real issue then, is not the fear itself, but how we hold our fear.
If we hol
d our fear from a place of power or choice, we can take action, in spite of our fear. If we hold our fear from a place of pain or powerlessness, we become stuck or paralyzed.
Susan Jeffers, in her book Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway, divides fears into two categories: 1) Fear of things that can happen to us, and 2) Fear around taking action.
She states that at the bottom of all our fears is the basic fear, “I can’t handle it”. If I lose my job, I wont be able to handle it. If my boyfriend leaves me, I won’t be able to handle it.
If I go back to school, what if I can’t handle it? What if we believed that whatever happened to us, or whatever we did, we would be able to handle it? What would there be left to fear?
Therapy can help individuals to face their fears and come out on the other side of them. It can help empower clients by teaching them to stop playing the “when / then” games. “When I stop being afraid, then I’ll do it.” Or, “When I feel better about myself, then I‘ll do it”.
In fact, it is only in going out and actually doing what we are afraid of, that we overcome our fear, and as a result, feel better about ourselves in the process! Psychotherapy can provide the encouragement and support that individuals need to overcome their fears and to transform their lives.
Courage and Creating
Doing anything creative often brings up fears, anxieties, insecurities. Courage may be defined as going ahead in spite of fear. But many creators not only live with their fears, they welcome them.
Fear is perhaps the most basic emotion we have. As Leonardo da Vinci reportedly said, “Fear arises sooner than anything else.” Writer Julia Cameron has commented that artists are often terrified. Being creative is venturing into the unknown, and it sets off emotional alarms.
Fear can show up, in various forms, at any stage of a creative project, and regardless of our level of talent or experience.
When she was told that Scholastic Press was paying a huge advance to publish her first Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling said, “Most of me was just frozen in terror.”
Actor Nicole Kidman admits she has tried to get out of almost every film she has done “because of sheer terror. I can always come up with a list of actresses who would do better.”
Meryl Streep said she identified with “Adaptation” screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s insecurities. “You realize that everyone is just eaten up by that feeling,” she said.
Many writers and coaches talk about the destructive and limiting effects of fear, and what to do about it.
Dr. Judith Orloff, author of the book Positive Energy, says we are addicted to fear.
and cautions it is “the biggest energy thief there is.” She counsels acknowledging any voice of fear in our head – “Thanks for sharing” – then moving awareness back to our heart.
Sandra Ford Walston, author of the book Courage: The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman, points out the cowardly lion of
“The Wizard of Oz” actually had tremendous courage but was unable to perceive that quality in himself. She notes that people often do not recognize their everyday actions as courageous, especially women.
But is it always in our best interest as creators to “fight” fear?
Director Steven Spielberg has said, “I still have pretty much the same fears I had as a kid. I’m not sure I’d want to give them up; a lot of these insecurities fuel the movies I make.”
Many actors and other artists say they are drawn to projects that make them feel scared. Meryl Streep said of insecurity, “Maybe it’s a good thing. I hope it’s some sort of breaking down of whatever is familiar to you. Whatever is complacent, whatever is easy.”
American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron writes in her book The Places That Scare You: “To the extent that we stop struggling against uncertainty and ambiguity, to that extent we dissolve our fear.”
Psychologist Robert Maurer has worked with many successful writers and other creative people, and thinks fear may be an indispensable part of the creative process.
“Fear is good,” he says. “As children, fear is a natural part of our lives, but as adults we view fear as a disease. It’s not a disease.” He points out that a creative achievement, such as publishing your first novel, does not make fear go away.
He adds, “Your skill at being able to nourish yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn from them is your single greatest attribute as an artist and as a human being.” Philosopher Mary Daly notes we “learn courage by couraging.”
Doing what scares us can enable us to do more and be more.
10 Ways To Say No To Fear This New Year
It’s a New Year and a new set of resolutions. But how many will you actually see through to the end? And how many will fall by the wayside because of one simple four lettered word . . . FEAR.
Fear gets to the best of us, whether it is fear of failure, fear of success or even fear of fear. All of us have experienced fear at some point in our lives and it can be a real stumbling block that holds us back from being truly successful.
But don’t panic, there is a way to conquer these fears, and what better time to start than this New Year.
Here are my top 10 fast acting tips for you to conquer your fear this year:
1. SEPARATE REALITY FROM PERCEPTION
See the reality of the situation for what it is. Be rational and get clear on the facts. Soul search and explore your perception of the situation at hand.
2. IDENTIFY THE TRIGGER
Isolate the specific aspects of the situation that trigger your fearful thoughts. What’s the worst that could happen? Change the way you look at these triggers and you will immediately change the way you react.
3. KNOW WHERE FEAR LIVES IN YOUR BODY
Be in tune with where your fear lives in your body. Use it as an indicator to tell you when something needs to be addressed. What you are aware of you can act on.
4. BECOME AN OBSERVER
When you observe something, you do it from a detached place. So if you become an observer of your fear, then you’re not in it and reacting instinctively.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR INNER TALK
Monitor your inner conversations. When you hear negative self-talk, stop and change the script to positive talk. Keep repeating it.
6. CREATE A NEW ASSOCIATION
When you feel fear, conjure up a picture of something or someone you love. Keep repeating this and soon your brain will associate your fear trigger with something much more pleasurable.
7. CONSIDER THE WORST
Imagine the worst that can happen and come up with strategies that avoid or lessen the likelihood of it happening. What can you put in place to ensure that the worst-case scenario never happens?
8. LOOK AT THE GLASS HALF FULL
Perception is a very powerful thing. And how you feel about your situation dictates how you respond. So think positively and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of success.
9. LEARN HOW TO CREATE SPACE
Because fear happens in the emotional part of the brain, it’s natural to act instinctively. So when fear rises, break the fear cycle by stopping, creating space and breathing. This will give you time to calm down and allow your rational brain time to catch up.
10: MAKE IT SAFE
When you feel safe, there is no need for fear. One of the best ways to overcome fear is to create the safest environment possible. And that’s why it’s important to practice, practice and practice again.
Finally don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals and highest potential this year. If you’d like some extra support and inspiration to stay motivated and on track, why not sign up for my free downloadable
One Big Gulp! Kit, which you will find at www.onebiggulp.com. Remember, it’s your life, your choice, so live your greatest life!
Fears can be real or they can be something you have imagined and then let take on a life of their own. In many instances fear may be nothing more than a learn behavior and a set response you have to the situation.
Sometimes it isn’t the object itself that causes the fear but the situation surrounding it. You may have forgotten all about the situation but not what you are afraid of.
For example you may be afraid of clowns but not know why. Likely you had a bad experience with one long ago though.
It isn’t uncommon for a person to block out a traumatic experience. Yet this can lead to them having significant fears about it.
Some types of fears such as the dark can be the result of a trauma that happened in the dark. It isn’t just children that suffer from this type of fear either. With children though the fear of the dark is more about imagined images. With adults it is the result of some events that have taken place in the dark.
Since fear is often a learned behavior though, you can overcome it by changing the way you react to it. Try to dig and find out why you are really afraid of it. Psychologists are very good at helping patients to uncover the truth through therapy and exercises.
Sometimes it is exposing the person to that fear. For example if you are afraid of snakes you may need to hold one in a controlled environment. Learning all about them may help you to be less fearful as well.
If your fear is unfounded though you can also talk yourself through it. For example you may want to remind yourself that it can’t harm you and instead of reacting as you normally do focus on your breathing.
Keeping it regulated as well as your heartbeat can help to offset the effects of fear. If you don’t let these symptoms occur they won’t trigger the same level of fear as before.
Since fear is different for each of us, there is no set formula that is going to work well everyone. You may have to try out several approaches before you come up with what works well for you.
If you aren’t able to offset the fears on your own incorporate the help of a professional. This way you won’t need to continue spending your time fighting these feelings.
Which Type of Fear Might Be Holding You Back from Success in Business?
Good ideas are literally “a dime a dozen”. Individuals conceptualize revolutionary new products and new services with each passing minute of each day.
Although there is such a steady stream of ideas that can be marketed successfully and developed into a lucrative business, there are actually few new businesses that make it past the “initial stages” into actual existence.
Why is this, and what factors contribute to the abandonment of great ideas that could’ve possibly netted the creators a small fortune?
There seem to be two major psychological forces at work when a great idea is abandoned before completion or a business fails for no apparent reason. These two psychological syndromes are:
Fear of Success
Fear of Failure
It is a very frightening prospect to start and maintain a home-based business. There’s no doubt about that. And every business owner feels the “fear” of being responsible for their own destinies, and for their own futures.
It’s quite common, to be somewhat nervous and stressed about our businesses, especially in the beginning.
Conquering this fear is a necessity, however, as no one can be effective in a business if they allow the fear to overwhelm them.
Fear can be “healthy” in a way, as it can keep an individual alert and aware of any failures of the business, which thwarts problems before they start. Fear can also be “unhealthy” when an individual experiences such fear that it leads to inaction and the business never really gets off the ground as a result.
The two fears above seem to be the most prominent among new business owners. In the first, Fear of Success, a new business owner may have a great idea, and may develop every facet of the business thoroughly, yet they never seem to “open” the doors of the business. They may find excuse after excuse, why they can’t really put the business into play, although all facets of the business are established.
They may find that they run into repeated crises in their lives, sickness of themselves or a loved one, disasters that are not “really” disasters crop up repeatedly. This is simple Fear of Success, and part of a psychological pattern.
Although crises do occur to us all, we go on with life despite these, and no one has crises that are continuous. A business owner with this syndrome is merely afraid that success will “change” their lives and they are afraid they won’t be able to cope with the changes.
Of course, success will change someone’s life. However, the Fear of Success can be so overwhelming, that some new business owners simply let the business fall by the wayside, thereby ensuring its failure. After all, if the business fails to get started or to succeed, they never have to face the reality of their “Fear of Success”.
The second fear is just as detrimental as the Fear of Success. This fear is the Fear of Failure. This fear seems slightly more common and is characterized by the inability
of future business owners to even get “started” with any plans or any concrete method of establishing a business. They constantly procrastinate in even the most simple of business chores.
They fail to ever establish the business in any way, and for the most part are always promising to “start tomorrow”, only tomorrow may never come. They also may jump from “idea to idea” always hatching a new plan for the next great business.
Unfortunately, the plans are the only thing that is ever hatched, as nothing concrete ever materializes. They can be seen by their family and friends as mere “schemers”/ “daydreamers”.
Occasionally, business owners can “waver” between the two fears, actually experiencing both Fear of Failure and Fear of Success simultaneously, becoming almost paralyzed with the emotions of all this, and unable to attend to the business with any degree of rationality.
They can start businesses over and over, or make plans for businesses over and over, and yet never see any real degree of success.
These fears, like all other fears, can be overcome. There are many methods to use to overcome them:
A business owner needs to stop “projecting the worst case scenarios” onto the business.
This is by far the most effective method. Business owners that worry too much about the worst happening, eventually make this projection a reality.
Business owners need to be realistic about the timeframe involved in success. A good business may take months or even years to stabilize.
Business owners need to be aware of their own feelings and motives. When “stalled” within a business, they have to question their own inner emotions and ask themselves if perhaps their emotions are overruling their own common sense.
A business owner will need to have as much personal and business support as possible behind them. This includes family, friends, and of course, other business people. Knowing we are not “alone” can easily alleviate misgivings and misconceptions.
A business owner should take time to relax and de-stress whenever needed. Fears become more palpable and real during times of extended stress.
Business owners should always have well thought out plans of action. Good plans reduce stress and the symptoms of stress, which exacerbate our fears overall.
It is best if any potential business owner addresses their fears and their approach to life as well as their motives before starting a new business.
It is better to address any underlying issues prior to beginning a business, as addressing them while “within” the throes of a hectic business start up is difficult, if not impossible.
Remember all fears can be conquered, and it is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all!
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