Facing Your Fears

Tips on Facing Your Fears

Though it can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant thing to experience, facing your fears can actually set you free from them.  This, along with the fact that you may open your world to new skills and opportunities, should be the motivation to rid yourself of fear.

Humans naturally experience fear as a means to deal with perceived threats.  It can be interpreted as real threats, imagined threats or the worry of threat and are different for everyone.  The sensation of fear can be very beneficial.  For example, fear may prompt a person to run from danger that they are unable to conquer, thereby preserving their survival.   In the case of imagined threats or worry, though, it often serves to hold an individual back from realizing their dreams and desires.

Types of imagined fears

Everyone has some type of imagined fears.  Spiders, flying, darkness, drowning, snakes, storms and more can literally paralyze certain people with fear even when there is no perceptible reason for it.  It could be something as simple as being in front of a group of people, or visiting a foreign area.  Failure in any regard is a common fear of most people, as is rejection.  The fear is based on images and scenarios developed in the mind as to how the situation might play out, called “outcome based”.  In other words, many people think “if I do this, then certainly this will happen”.  This type of thinking can often prevent these individuals from doing something they truly want to do. Meeting your imagined fears head on requires some very simple steps, yet may be the hardest thing a person can do.

Tips on facing your fears

When you are able to pinpoint the actual fear, you can take steps to conquer them.

  1. Determine both the benefits and the drawbacks of overcoming your fear.  For example, if your fear is speaking in front of a group of people, the benefits may be the opportunity to advance in your job or to help other people deal with certain situations.  Drawbacks could be that people in the audience may not pay attention or that you may forget what to say.  Now formulate a plan to counteract the drawbacks.  In this example, using cue cards and practicing will help you feel more confident.  Taking some classes on speech can help you to learn how to communicate with crowds.

  2. Draw from the experience of others.  Some people are afraid at the thought of having children; fearful that they may not make good parents or because they know little about children.  Talking to friends or family members who have children about how they handled those feelings may be reassuring.  Becoming more educated about the subject of your fear is also helpful; knowledge is power, and power overcomes fear.  Those who have a fear of flying can be helped by learning the actual statistics of airplane crashes, and by becoming more familiar with the technology behind airplane construction.

  3. Realize who is in control.  Your fear, whatever it might be, originates in you.  Since your perceptions and thoughts activate the fear, you also have the power to deactivate it.  When the fear of leaving your job for another seizes you, it is only your mind trying to tell you to play it safe.  Focusing on the advantages of the new job, such as better pay, more responsibility or less stress can help to diffuse the fear and transform it into excitement instead.

Certain fears are very real and should not be challenged for our own safety.  Walking alone in a bad neighborhood or participating in an activity for which you are not trained or prepared can only invite a bad outcome.  Unreasonable fears that affect our ability to enjoy life, however, are those which should be met head on and overcome to allow us to embrace new opportunities in life.