I’m afraid of failing. There, I said it. My fear has now been exposed and been brought to the light. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of failing at fatherhood. I’m afraid of failing to be a good husband. I’m afraid of failing to live out my dreams. I’m afraid of failing to provide for my loved ones. I’m afraid of failing you. I’m afraid of failing my future self. I’m afraid of failing at a lot of shit.
Perhaps I should back it up a bit. Fear is tricky. I believe there is good fear. Like the fear that can save our lives. For instance, If I’m hiking in the Whiskeytown National Recreation area, and I have this gut feeling that I am being stalked by a mountain lion, I’m going to listen to that gut feeling and get to a safe area immediately. That is good fear. Whether there is a mountain lion or not, I know that I’d rather live to enjoy lunch then to be lunch for another animal.
What about the fear of the unknown? What about the fear we experience when we move toward our dreams? You know, the fear that makes us limit our own lives. Yes, the kind that can take the life out of life. This is the kind of fear I will be addressing in this article.
This kind of fear sucks because it hinders us. I read somewhere that fear is natural, but letting it stop us in our tracks is a tragedy. I couldn’t agree more.
People respond to fear in all sorts of ways. There really isn’t a one size fits all formula that helps people deal with fear. There are, however, some tips I can share that may help many of us look at fear differently, so we are no longer imprisoned by the perceptions we have spray painted on the thought trains of our minds.
1. Fear Can be A Friend
When we first feel a sense of fear, it is a good idea to figure out what type of fear it is. Is it the instinctual fear I explained earlier, or is it the one we feel in response to some sort of unknown? Remember that one can save lives and the other can take the life out of life. Only we as individuals can answer that question.
Sometimes fear can be a friend. It can be a friend in the sense it can be an indicator, letting us know we are about to embark on something great like moving toward our dreams. Now of course it can be scary to move toward our dreams because there are so many unknowns. But to live life on our own terms would be great. I frequently mumble to myself that if it doesn’t scare me a little then it probably it isn’t worth it. Fear can be our companion if we take the time to understand it.
2. Write Down Your Fears
I don’t know about you, but for me it seems like if I let the negative and fearful thoughts fester in the dark and shadowy corners of my mind, it grows. When it grows, it has power over me. If I write them down, however, I have exposed them to the light. I have brought them out of the darkness to be contemplated upon. They no longer have power over me once they have been brought to the light of the rational part of the mind. This is what I did in the beginning of the article. When we do this, we are no longer denying what can or cannot be true. We are facing it head on. This will take some serious vulnerability on our part, but if we can summon up the strength to do this then we have the strength to move past our fears.
3. Flip The Question
Are you one of those “What if” kind of people? You know, the kind that asks questions like, “What if I fail?, What if she says no?, What if I don’t get the job?, What if the school denies my acceptance?” Well, that’s ok because fear is natural, right? But it is also a tragedy if we constantly entertain these questions to the point we never try.
So what do we do to get past these negatives that keep us on the fence and limit our lives? Well, what if we flipped the questions? What if we asked questions like, “What if I get the girl, or get into the school of my choosing, or get my dream job?” Here’s one: “What if I succeed?” BREATHE.
These types of POSITIVE questions motivate us to press on and move past our fears. Try it! What if it works?
4. Eliminate The Fear Pushers
There are many things that trigger our fear response. If I hear the sound of a rattle snake close by as I’m hiking, make no mistake, that will definitely trigger a fear response. That fear response could save me a whole lot of trouble if not, my life. I’m good with these sort of triggers. I bet you would be too. Remember this kind of fear is good. But what about the other kind of fear I’ve been talking about?
In order for fear to grow it has to be fed. When we exaggerate potential threats, we are feeding the fears of the the things that may or may not happen. There are triggers that evoke this kind of life limiting fear. They are almost everywhere. What kind of people are we hanging out with? Are they naysayers? Do they constantly bring up fear evoking content when we talk with them? What about social media? I make it a big deal to eliminate the fear pushers on my feeds. It’s not a personal thing, it’s just me realizing that I don’t like to roll like that. Consider it self-care in this modern day and time.
Start hanging around encouraging people. Hang around the ones who lift you up and push positivity. Follow the folks on social media that put a smile on your face. Period. Engage with the ones who are problem solvers rather than complainers. Engage with the ones who expand your vision rather than narrow your vision.
5. Reflect On The Fears You’ve Overcome
What are some things you’ve done that maybe you didn’t think you could’ve at one point, but you did it anyway? Are you better for overcoming that fear? Has your life expanded because of it? I know I could think of a slew of things I was scared of facing, but ended up doing it anyway. And I can honestly say I’m better for doing so.
I’m not one for dwelling on the past, but I do believe that if we are going to look back then why not do it to see how far we’ve come? This will remind us that we are powerful beings and have what it takes to move past our fears.
I suppose there are people out there who are fearless, though I think it’s more of a superhero thing. Truth is, I don’t want to be fearless. I’m cool with having a relationship with fear. Fear has become a friend. I’m actually sorry I misunderstood it all these years. I truly hope these tips help you to move past your fears, whether they are real or not.
Hello fear, I see you, but I’m doing it anyway.