Overcoming your Fears
What’s your biggest fear? Is it a fear of failure or a fear of the future? Is it a fear of commitment, intimacy or rejection? Is it a fear of death? Is it a fear of public speaking, heights, flying, or spiders? These are some of the most common fears among us all and no matter what your fear is, you have the capability of overcoming it. With Halloween just around the corner, what better time than to make October’s goal one that can help you grow stronger and scare your own fears away from ever ruling your life again.
One of my biggest fears for the longest time was the future. The unknown is scary because we have absolutely no control over what happens in our future or what our future holds. Am I going to be successful, am I going to find love, am I going to be happy? These are all things I used to worry about but it never benefitted me in any way and just left me a fear-ridden mess. However, in overcoming this fear, I reminded myself day in and day out that even though I have no control over what happens to me in the future, I DO have control over my perspective and the actions I take today that help me reach my goals for the future. Fear is rooted in control and when we feel a loss of control that’s when we let fear take over as it serves as a form of protection. Therefore, in order to take our life back and not let fear determine our course of action and how we live our lives, we have to realize that in moments when we feel a loss of control, we actually have the most important control of all…our actions.
Some fears we have often sabotage any hope we have for success because ultimately, our biggest barriers are the walls we build ourselves. We miss out on opportunities and don’t take any risks or chances because the fear of losing is far more powerful than the potential of winning. There are also plenty of fears that interfere with our happiness such as fear of embarrassment, losing loved ones, losing jobs, criticism, etc. It’s time to reflect and ask yourself, what fears are you letting hold you back in life? In order to overcome our fears there are some key concepts to consider:
AWARENESS. I say this about a hundred times a day but you can’t change something you aren’t aware of. Awareness is the key toward change and the absolute first step toward overcoming your fears. It’s much easier to fall into the trap of avoidance when it comes to our fears, or any difficult emotion as a matter of fact, BUT avoidance only perpetuates the cycle. It’s like adding gas to the fire. We need to recognize and have self-awareness when it comes to our fears in order to extinguish the fire.
IDENTIFY YOUR FEARS. With awareness comes identification and coming to terms with your fears. Getting specific about what exactly you are scared of can help you normalize and understand it more. Pay attention to what you experience inside and out when thinking about your fears and become an observer of your inner space. Gather the details and what exactly scares you about certain situations. If you fear commitment, what about making a commitment scares you the most? If you fear public speaking, what do you fear would happen if you get on a stage?
THE HEAR AND NOW. This is such a valuable concept to embrace on a daily basis as it is the core aspect of mindfulness. When you bring yourself to the present moment, you come to realize that everything is how it is. It gives you the ability to accept what is, as it is. Grounding yourself using breathing techniques or your five senses can give you reassurance, comfort, and sensory relief from the sensory overload you may experience when in a state of fear.
PERSPECTIVE. Perspective is everything. It’s the one thing that we have control over which is what determines the actions we take in the end. Learning to cope with your fears is all about putting your negative or irrational thoughts into perspective. We tend to hyper-focus on the negative and all the what-if worst case scenarios that could happen. Instead, we need to be opening our eyes to a wider range of options and possibilities and by doing so, you may realize exactly how irrational your fears may be. As yourself, what really is the worst that could happen if I get rejected?
VISUALIZATION. Visualize yourself as not being scared in a given situation and this visual image will eventually be accepted by your subconscious mind as the path to take when that situation presents itself in reality. Sensitive desensitization takes time and is a technique best done with a mental health professional. However, by visualizing your fears and imagining yourself overcoming them can help you believe more in your capability to do it in reality.
TAKE ACTION. This means it’s time to face those fears. Fear paralyzes action because we give in to the attitude of “I can’t.” Exposure therapy is one of the best forms of therapy when it comes to phobias, however, it is also recommended to do with the assistance of a trained mental health professional. When you take action and face your fears, ultimately, they become weaker. This is because you realize that reality isn’t nearly as bad as your imagination.
LET GO. As long as we are trying to change what is out of our control, we will forever be in war with reality. When you let go of this need to control all aspects of life, you will find peace.
Overall, fears rule our life only if we let them. Take back control. Take back your life. If you are letting fear take over your life and need some assistance in overcoming them, please feel free to contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced mental health counselors.