Are you worrying about a bunch of different fears right now?
Are you always figuring out which worry to manage next?
Do you tend to start your questions with the two words “What if…?”
If this sounds like you, stick around for a bit because I have some encouraging words for you.
I know how many people are consumed and overwhelmed by the number and weight of the fears in their minds. Not too long ago, I was one of those people myself.
I used to:
- not know that I was anxious at all because I was always anxious
- go to bed every night stressing out
- wake every morning stressing out
- fear other people’s disapproval
- fear causing others trouble
- fear not performing adequately
- not make decisions by myself for fear of picking the wrong option
- not socialize a lot because I was too swamped with work and exhausted from worry
Being shrouded in fear had some good aspects, including…
Nope. I change my mind.
Being shrouded in fear really was not good for me at all.
Starting as a patient in psychotherapy at the start of my graduate school training was the turning point in my relationship with my fears. With the support of my therapist, I:
- learned how to identify individual feelings (instead of experiencing them as one globby mess or denying them entirely)
- learned how to speak about my ideas and needs directly
- became more confident academically and socially
- developed stronger and healthier relationships
- became comfortable living in the present moment
- became comfortable with myself
When I accepted who I was, I became less inclined to gravitate towards my anxiety and fear for comfort. I began to tackle my procrastination full on and to engage more fully in the matters of my own life.
That’s most of my story. Let’s see what you can do to change your own relationship to fear.
6 Reasons Why Fear Should Not Be the Dominant Force in Your Life
- If you let yourself be guided by your fears, you will always be headed towards your least-preferred outcome. You think you are prepping yourself to avoid being disappointed, but in the meantime, you are actively excluding the possibility you might be overjoyed by success.
- We miss out on the benefits of our relationships. When we predict that people in our current lives are going to hurt us like we were hurt in the past by other people, we end up interacting with those new people only part way. New people in your life want to interact with the fully present you, not the former version of you. Open yourself up to create new, mutually beneficial relationships. Try trust instead of fear.
- When we lead with our fears, we forget we are capable of handling whatever happens. All the progress we’ve made in learning how to cope, using our resources and intuition, and relying on our support network goes out the window when we lead with our fears.
- We miss out on the richness of new experiences. New interactions are dulled or not even seen when we are busy focusing on our anxieties. The next time you have a new experience, make sure you engage with a clear mind and heart, so you can get the most out of the experience, without the distortion fear brings.
- We don’t want to become accustomed to living in fear. Fear always wants to take more of your well-being if you let it. Most of us will always have a little bit of fear, but we can make sure we live in conjunction with our fears instead of behind or under them. Use your power to direct your actions, to follow through, to communicate clearly, and to get things done.
- We cause trouble for ourselves. Fear is confusing to us. We distort situations, project our fears onto other people, and end up in conflicts that would be unnecessary if there were clear communication and a trusting atmosphere. Let’s avoid relying on our fears for guidance, and trust ourselves and those around us instead.
How to Lead with Hope Instead of Fear
Life is a constant interplay of up and down. We try to prevent ourselves from being hurt by the down moments by anticipating them. We end up hurting ourselves by putting our fears front and center all of the time. Fear ends up blocking our clear view.
[Tweet “We sacrifice so much when we assume our fears are well-founded.”]
In order to change this fear-based approach, we need to rely on a little faith and hope we will be able to handle whatever comes our way. Let experience guide you rather than the constant stream of fears that runs through your mind.
If that sounds scary to you, realize you will be more prepared to face the future when you have all of your faculties in place, in the present moment, unencumbered by fear and distraction. Showing up, without fear, will enable you to reap the benefits of your own natural resilience. You can do this. You can do this without getting exhausted, stressed, or disconnected from yourself.
Avoid living with the feeling of being in fear and enable yourself to be the unique, creative, grounded, and attractive person you are. Fully yourself and open to the fullness of life.