Do you ever feel like fear is holding you back? That it’s preventing you from achieving your goals, being successful, and living a life that feels authentic to you? If so, you’re not alone.
Fear is one of the most common and powerful emotions we experience. It can keep us stuck in our comfort zone, playing small, and feeling nearly invisible in our work and the life we lead. But fear doesn’t have to control us. In this article, we’ll explore what fear is, how it holds us back, and some steps we can take to overcome it.
What are the stories you have about fear? That it’s bad? That you shouldn’t feel it? These stories prevent us from acknowledging and moving through fear and can actually make the fear worse.
It can be one of our most vital resources when fear is warranted. It helps us stay safe in dangerous situations and accomplish what is necessary for survival. However, it can become a problem when fear is unwarranted or out of proportion to the situation.
Negative emotions like fear can hijack our brains and cause us to make poor decisions or take actions that we wouldn’t otherwise take. Fear can prevent us from taking risks or speaking up for ourselves. It can cause us to doubt ourselves and our abilities. And unfortunately, fear is often a common experience and can keep many women from reaching leadership positions where they can have an impact.
Let’s get a better understanding of what fear actually is.
First, it’s important to understand that fear is normal, and everyone experiences it. This awareness of your fears is needed so that you can identify the situations or triggers that cause your fear response. Only then can you begin to take steps to address them.
For instance, think about a time when you were afraid but still took action anyway. What happened? How did you feel afterward? When we remember our past successes, it can help us see our current situation in a more positive light and give us the courage to take action. We get to choose how we want to respond to our fear. We can either let it control us or face it head-on.
Here’s why it’s important to face it instead of pretending your fear doesn’t exist. What we focus on is what we attract more of, and when we are focused on our fear, we unknowingly create situations that allow us to continue to be afraid. Ignoring our fear keeps the fear running in the background, focused on the past, and reinforces the patterns of fear until it becomes an unconscious belief. At this point, our fear is predicting our future. What we repeatedly do, we become.
It’s also important to recognize that the mind also doesn’t know the difference between real, physical fear and the mental perceptions we have. It reacts the same way and creates the same psychological and physical stress. So whether we are afraid of walking home in the dark or scared of walking into an important meeting, the fear creates the same reaction in our bodies. A heightened awareness and response that elevates our heart rate, breathing, and muscle reactions – a form of stress, but one that isn’t meant to run long-term.
So what can you do about fear?
Here are some steps to process your fear.
The first step is acknowledging that your fear is real to you, even if it’s not based in reality. Fear doesn’t exist outside of us; it’s something that we create, and just because we feel fear doesn’t mean that there’s actually anything to be afraid of. When we can separate our feelings from reality, we can start to see fear for what it really is: just a feeling. It’s a sign from our unconscious that something needs to change.
The second step is to identify your fear. What are you afraid of? Is it something specific or general? Is it something factual or perceived? How do you know it to be true? If you need some help here, perhaps you verbalize what you feel to someone you trust. Sometimes just speaking it to another person helps to put things in perspective.
The last step is to take action despite our fear. This doesn’t mean that we should do dangerous things. I challenge you, however, to move into the discomfort of what you know you want to do but are afraid to do. What would you do if fear wasn’t an obstacle?
Here are a few ways to help take action on your fear:
– Find a role model who has faced similar fears and overcome them. This can help you see that it’s possible to move past your fear and be successful.
– Break down your fear into smaller pieces and focus on taking one small step at a time.
– Talk to someone who will understand and support you as you work through your fear. This could be a therapist, coach, or trusted friend or family member.
– Write out your fears. List everything you can think of on a list. No judgment about what comes up; just write it out. Then go through the list and read it aloud to yourself or someone you trust. This has a way of snapping things into perspective so that we can take appropriate action.
Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself. When we’re feeling fear, our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode, which can be physically and emotionally draining. So be sure to take time for yourself to relax and recharge.
Fear is a normal emotion, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. By understanding your fear response and taking steps to address it, you can begin to live a more fearless and fulfilled life.
If you’re looking for a strategy for dealing with fear, check out my guided meditation playlist to release negative emotions HERE.
Until the next time, here’s wishing you the Clarity you deserve!