It’s late. It’s dark. You’re alone as you walk through the alley back to your car. You hear footsteps. They’re getting faster. They’re getting closer…At that moment, you feel similar to the way a zebra feels when a lion leaps out from behind the brush. You feel fear. Fear is a natural reaction to a life-threatening situation. But when you realize that those footsteps are just your best friend trying to catch up with you, the fear turns into relief. It certainly felt like a life-threatening situation…but it wasn’t after all.
I have a feeling that there are countless other examples of situations where excessive (or unnecessary) fear may be holding you back from living your best life. If you agree…keep reading.
“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.”
— Rudyard Kipling
It seems that getting too comfortable with life and not ever doing anything that may scare you is not such a good thing. Fear is an inevitable part of life, and how we respond to it is important. Fear is an evolutionary response to physical or emotional danger that helps us to survive and protect ourselves from all of the threats that exist in the world. Fear helps to protect us, but it can also restrain us. Sometimes we fear things that are not actually a threat. There are some very good reasons why you should face and push through these fears in your life.
How we respond to fear
Fear evokes three primary responses, including flight, fight, or freeze. In times of immediate danger, each of these responses serves a useful purpose. However, when it is not a life or death emergency, fear can keep us paralyzed for no good reason.
Fear is sometimes behavior we adopt from observation. For instance, if someone in your family is fearful of driving, you may develop that fear as well. Sometimes, we develop fear after experiencing something difficult. However, in order to live life to the fullest we must not let fear hold us back or reign over us.
Fear can freeze us in such a way that it doesn’t help us move forward and get things done. We can also run from fear, but even though we are in movement, we are not productive when we flee in fear. We may try to fight against our fear, but we too often end up fighting the very thing we are afraid of.
Here are some very good reasons to embrace your fear and go for it! Remember the words of Mark Twain, “Courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it.”
Remember, your mind can play tricks on you
The things that frighten us the most are rarely as bad as we make them out to be in our minds. Many times, the worst that we can believe will most likely never come to fruition. We often let our mind wander to the worst possible scenario. This is referred to as “catastrophizing.”
You will always wonder “what if”?
Not doing certain things because of fear can leave you wondering, what if? Being held back by fear and letting it control you could end in regret. You might have the time, the resources, the energy, and everything that you need to accomplish something, but fear gets in the way of you getting it done.
Success comes on the heels of failure
Is the fear of failure itself paralyzing you? If so, it is important to understand that the average success rate is 1 out of every 5. If we try and fail, we need to know that avoiding what might seem hard should never stop us from continuing to try. The most successful people in the world failed not once, not twice, but many times before they became who they are. Failure is inevitable and nothing to fear.
Pushing through fear builds confidence
Living with the weight of fear puts a damper on self-confidence, which can keep you from rising to your best potential and beyond. Once fear gets a grip, it pushes down confidence and builds up self-doubt. This self-doubt then becomes the driving force in your life, and over time, you become passive and positioned in a place where fear rules. When you face it and move through the fear, you will come out the other side a stronger and more confident individual.
Facing fear will help you overcome fear
You need to show fear who’s the boss. Take a firm stand against it and come to rule it in your life. If you have several things that you know you should not fear and have no real rational reason to fear, tackle them one at a time. Facing your fear is like a vaccination for that fear. Once you face it, beat it down and overcome it – you will no longer be ruled by it. As you face each fear and talk it down, replace your words with words of encouragement that will fuel your success. Yes, it might be uncomfortable, but if you can endure a short moment of uncomfortableness, you will be rewarded with much freedom once the chains of fear are broken.
Remember, it takes courage and encouragement to work through fears. Surround yourself with people who love you and support you as you identify and face the things in life that are holding you back.
-The UpWellness Team