Fear is a powerful and effective emotion that can motivate you to take action or disable you from living your dream. The purpose of fear is to keep you alive and safe, not to prevent you from living a life full of happiness and purpose. Fear creates discomfort in life areas therefore, when you begin to notice these feelings you have a choice to gain awareness of the fear in order to move beyond it or to surrender to it and allow it to overpower your ability to engage in living a purposeful life.
Living in Fear
Fear is a vital emotional response to physical and emotional danger that can be used to protect ourselves from legitimate threats. However, we often fear situations, people, and things that are not life threatening. Fear can turn into a personal perspective you have learned through life experiences and people you have surrounded yourself with. Living in fear gives you permission to withdraw from life and to avoid any kind of action or effort that will move you towards your dreams. The power of your fear is nothing more than the power you have given it.
It is a natural state to want to avoid the object of your fears, as fear has a powerful effect over your mind, body and spirit. Fear is essential to life and survival, as it can affect your entire being at a deep and profound level. Confidence, ability, strength and success are not built by seeking refuge in what is already comfortable and familiar. They are built by venturing out into unknown territory, prepared for the challenges and determined to do whatever it takes. First let the fear heighten your awareness, and then let it inspire you to act. On the other side of fear is the achievement you seek.
Exercise – Moving Beyond Fear
Do you feel fear? Examine that fear. Look for the message it is intended to convey. Fear can make you more aware. It can give you increased energy. It can prepare you to overcome difficult challenges. Identify these challenges and your resources available to you and write them down. Fear is there to help you move effectively forward, not to hold you back, therefore let it teach and prepare you, not stop you. When fear is holding you back, look closely at that fear and you’ll find a way to move forward. If you continue to feel stuck you may wish to discuss these fears with a life coach or counsellor. The only lasting failure is the failure to act and change destructive behaviour. When you gain the courage to try and you do not get the desired result, it is in this moment that you take time to learn from it so you can readjust your approach and try again. It is important to remember that you cannot fail when you continue to take action.
Questions to ask yourself:
What do you fear?
Do you fear embarrassment?
Do you fear failure?
Do you fear loneliness?
Do you fear responsibility?
Do you fear success?
Do you fear talking to other people?
Do you fear commitment?
Do you fear receiving love and respect?
Take a moment to learn the F-E-A-R system as it is an effective acronym to remember when trying to overcome fear.
F = Focus instead of freaking out (By re-directing our focus one can reduce fear and anxiety)
E = Expose instead of escape (exposure hierarchies provide an opportunity to break down a feared task into smaller, more achievable steps)
A = Approach instead of avoid (start by mentally imagining taking the steps to complete your goal)
R = Rehearse the desired behavior/thoughts/emotions (practicing the behavior repeatedly until completing it without fear)
It is important to explore and understand your fears and with increased awareness you can learn to move beyond them.
Heather Kempton, MA, RCC, Life Coach
Optimal Life Therapy