We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. – Eleanor Roosevelt
Fear is almost always at the root of any obstacle or barrier that we face. It’s the instigator of anxiety and stress. On the surface fear appears to be about the situation we’re in, the decision we have to make, or the person involved, but when we dig deeper and look for what’s underneath, we most often find that fear is lurking there somewhere in the dark.
But, before we can overcome the fear, we have to identify it. We have to name it and acknowledge it. Then we need to take ownership of it. Fear is internal. We create fear with our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes there is a very valid reason to be afraid. When the tiger is chasing us, we should be afraid. We should run and hide and distance ourselves from that which we are afraid of.
But often, the fear is internal. It’s an emotional fear and with this kind of fear we need to stand our ground, we need to bring it out into the open and face it. Much like facing a bully, if we stand against it and question it, it usually backs down. That doesn’t mean it goes away, much like the bully in the schoolyard, it may still be there, but it loses its power over us.
Take a look at the difficulties you face, your stressors, and your anxiety provokers.
What’s underneath? What is it you’re really afraid of?
That you are unworthy of… wealth, happiness, love, success, praise, respect…
Being dependent on others
That you are unlovable
That you don’t have the skill or talent
That you aren’t strong enough
That you aren’t good enough
Being betrayed or let down
Making the wrong decision
Saying the wrong thing
Making a mistake
Wasting your time
Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Not having enough…whatever that means to you
Sadly, the list of fears is endless, but regardless of what the fear is, you can bet your thinking is behind it, feeding it, fanning the flames. It’s not your fault, no finger pointing, or recrimination necessary. Fear is learned, it’s absorbed from the world around us.
Take heart. If we are perpetuating our own fears…then we also have the power to extinguish them.
Envision your very own personal fire extinguisher…one of those big red powerful ones. When you find your fear, feel its presence, keeping you paralyzed in indecision, inaction, or unhappiness, take out your handy dandy big red, and snuff it out.
Fear is real, but you have the power.
How have you faced your fears? Care to share your methods?