Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye
to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Whenever people ask about what keeps them from doing something, or holds them back from pursuing the next proverbial “level,” you can almost always make a safe bet by answering “fear.” But some people don’t really know what it is they fear. They just know that it is something “out there,” and that they just cannot seem to step past it.
Overcoming the fear of the unknown will always a challenging endeavor, but it is possible. If you suffer from fear of uncertainty, understanding what fear is, and how it affects your life, can start you down the path to managing it better. Fear has been defined in a number of ways, but the most basic definition of fear is that it is an emotional response based on the fact that we are faced with something unfamiliar or with impending danger.
When we experience fear, several psychological and physiological responses take place simultaneously. Psychological events include feeling emotionally overwhelmed, developing high levels of anxiety, and even feeling terrified. Physiological responses include a faster heart rate, shallower breathing, and similar effects.
Experiencing fear can have a great impact how you view your life, your confidence levels, and even fulfilling your potential as an individual.
Let’s walk through a common scenario and see how fear can lead to failure.
David was very successful in his career and personal life. It seemed that people were instantly drawn to him and his ideas, but on the inside, he was a mess. Every time he worked on a project, he would throw herself into it. In the end, he would ultimately succeed, but still deep down on the inside, he was always terrified that he would fail or that his completed project would never be quite good enough.
For the most part, he recognized the fact that his fear was irrational. However, David grew up in an abusive home. He was physically beaten and consistently ridiculed by his father. Regardless of what he did, it was never enough to meet his expectations.
The result was that he grew up to become a workaholic, often struggling to finish several things at once, and leaving very little time for himself.
The root of his fear of failure was grounded in his childhood. His father harbored unrealistically high expectations and would be mentally and physically abusive toward him when his expectations were not met. Once he realized this about his past, David was able to ease his personal expectations and overcome his fear.
A few strategies you can use:
1. Call it what it is. Recognize your fears. By realizing that you are fearful, you are much more likely to get to the bottom of what the fear is.
- You may also have a fear of facing your fears. The best way to work through this fear is to accept the truth behind whatever is causing you to experience limited happiness in life.
- You may come to understand that you are truly afraid of failing or taking chances.
- You may even be fearful because you simply do not have confidence in yourself.
No matter the issue at hand, it is important that you recognize your fear and attempt to define as accurately as possible what it is that makes you feel so terrified. The key, of course, is not to dwell on your fear, but rather to understand precisely what it is you are so worried about.
2. Search for the root cause. Determine the underlying root of your fears. How do you identify the cause of your fears? An insightful look at your life will probably reveal some answers. By recognizing what causes your fears, you stand a much better chance of finding ways to deal with them.
3. Face your fears. Once you have accepted your fear and identified the root cause, you are now ready to deal with it! The best method to do this is most often to face it head on. Make a decision to purposely tackle your fears by indulging yourself in activities that push you outside of your usual comfort zone.
Make no mistake, this is not simple. Overcoming your fear of the unknown is a difficult undertaking. But, if you set aside some time to engage in these three steps, you will soon discover a renewed peace and happiness within your heart!
As you work to unlock the chains that bind you and your mind to your fears, you will begin to enjoy a new sense of freedom and fulfillment.