As humans, we are each unique. In fact, each one is so unique that we possess our own fingerprints. There is no one just like you. As humans, we are also very similar: We all experience the same range of emotions. All around this world of ours, joy, sorrow and even fear are shared experiences. You are not alone when facing insurmountable fear. Read below for a few guidelines of what to do when you are gripped by fear.
Define Your Fear
When fear strikes, we often get the “deer in the headlights” syndrome. Fear has a way of paralyzing us. One cannot think clearly while looking through eyes of fear. Many times we avoid situations due to fear, and yet we haven’t even defined what about the situation is causing us to be alarmed. Rudyard Kipling states it well in this quote: “Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” Next time you are facing a situation and fear moves in, dissect the reason you are afraid. Don’t turn away from what is happening; instead, expose the reason you are afraid.
It may surprise you that you were wrong about the real cause of your fear. For example, you may want to make a big change in your life, such as a career switch or relocation, yet you are held back by fear. Are you afraid of consequences? Are you afraid of others’ reactions to your choices? Are you holding on to fear of the unknown? Once you begin to understand where your emotions are stemming from, you will be able to address them more clearly and move forward.
Look Straight Ahead
When I first began to drive, I was petrified of passing 18-wheeler trucks on the highway. My anxiety would rise when I would come near them. One day while driving with a passenger, he sensed immediately my fear of trucks. A simple sentence he said changed the way I drive, and actually the way I handle fear. He said, “just look ahead, focus on what is in front of you and don’t look at the truck next to you. Simply, look ahead!”
What a difference it has made when I need to pass trucks; now instead of looking to the right, seeing the truck (my fear), and feeling the nervousness, I simply look straight ahead in my lane. The fear has subsided and my driving has even improved. When facing things that cause you to fear, look straight ahead. Don’t look around at what is causing you to be fearful. Focus ahead, travel on, and conquer your fear.
For you to move beyond your fears, it is vital that you begin to stretch yourself. Once you know what is causing you to be afraid, you can begin to implement ways to dispel your anxiety. For example, if you are afraid to speak in front of a large group and yet your new position requires this, begin by taking small steps. Join a local organization that trains people to give speeches. Gather a few of your friends and family around and give a speech. Find ways to move out of your comfort zone and move fearlessly toward freedom. Jack Canfield said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” This is so true. Who would you be if you let go of your fear?
Don’t Be Held Back
What fears are holding you back? It is important to understand that whatever you are afraid of holds you captive. You could be experiencing so much more joy, peace and freedom if you tear away from the chains that bind you. You can learn to master the fear that is currently mastering you.
Don’t allow yourself to wallow in anxiety. Rise up and become your own hero and take hold of the reins of your life. This is a simple, yet complex thing to do. We are creatures of habit, and it seems so much easier to remain in the condition that we are in than to conquer the things in our lives that keep us down. I promise you though, your life will take on more meaning and possibility than you have ever experienced. It is so worth it!
Replace Your Fear
Anytime you are trying to improve an area of your life, remember: One can not just remove a negative factor without replacing it with a positive one. Those haunting, scary voices that create fear inside your mind need to be replaced with words that chase the fear away. Our self-talk mandates so much of our day-to-day dealings with the world. In order to move beyond your fears and limitations, you need to talk to yourself with words of comfort and hope.
After analyzing the reality of your fear, you will be able to speak to those fears and replace them with truth. Replace your fear with an exercise related to your fear and break free. Whatever it takes, whether it be baby steps, taking deep breaths, or finding an activity that grows you beyond your fear, do it. You will be so grateful once you do. You will look back at how limited your life once was, and be able to compare it to your newfound abandon.
This is a short list of things to do when facing fear. I encourage you to take action today! Don’t wait any longer. Don’t allow fear to control your life one more moment. Life passes by at a rapid speed; surely there is much more left to experience if you are brave enough to slay the giants in your life.
Featured photo credit: Hartwig HKD via flickr.com