Are you afraid of the dark or worry that you are not good enough?
Are you scared of being alone or are you afraid of change? Do you fear your boss or are you scared that the one you love will leave you?
Are you scared to follow your dreams or are you afraid that if you follow them, you will fail?
What are your fears? Are you afraid of all or some of them?
You are not alone. We all have fears. Fears are normal. Most of us are led by our fears most of the time. Our fears are embedded in our unconscious awareness and in most cases stop us from doing things we want to do. Yes, our fear is also a primal instinct that protects us from danger, like being eaten by wolves or falling from a high roof. But failing on a project or being alone are not life threatening dangers. These are fears we create within our own minds. The fears we face on a daily basis are the fear of being rejected or the fears of “not being enough and fears of not being good enough. These fears are embedded in our unconscious awareness and core, and usually stop us from doing things we dream about.
Most of us allow our lives to be led by fear in some way shape or form. Although these fears are only being created by our minds, we still find it challenging to distinguish between times when the fear is protecting us and when the fear is blocking us from living life to its fullest.
If you feel that you have parts of your life you would like to make a difference in, but know your fear and insecurities are stopping you, then please keep reading. Below are a few insights that I have found helpful in managing with my inner fears and I hope that by sharing them with you, you will find the inspiration and courage you need and hope that you will use them in your own journey.
My wish for you when conquering your fears, is for you is to identify the things that are stopping you from living your dreams and the ones that are a warning sign for you to use.
Believe in the idea that you CAN and will overcome them.
Step 1. A Secure Environment
The number one element of overcoming your fear is spending time in an environment that makes you feel secure. Many times, we don’t even know what a secure environment is. Sometimes, we think that “security” is our close circle of family and friends. However, many of us don’t feel safe to even say our true feelings about different topics within the presence of this same circle. Many of us don’t even try to breach new topics or ideas with the people who care about us, because we are afraid of what they will say:“How will you make it work?”, “Why are you wasting your time!”, “Can you afford it?”, “Are you sure you want to do it?”, “Why are you even doing that?”, “You can’t do it, because I need to go to work”, “How do you think it will benefit us?”
We hear so many fears around us and many times we do listen to the words of advice and the words of protection from the people who are close to us. Of course,they care about us, want us to be safe and have our best interests in mind. But they are just like us, speaking from their own fears.
In order to confront your fears and try new behaviours, you need an environment that shares the same mindset. An environment that speaks out of pure belief, creativity and support. Look around you. Locate the people and groups who push you and see the positivity in your choices and the road you chose. They are the ones to hold onto. If you can’t find people around you to provide you with the support you need and desire, find the others who would share your mindset or that you aspire to be like. They will be a help and a resource because they know exactly what you are going through and what you are aiming to achieve. But most importantly, find the people or groups with whom you feel secure enough to share outloud your dreams and share your thoughts without the fear of being mocked at, or smiled a sympathy or pity smile. Those are your “people”
Step 2. Actions
Once you recognise that you need to change or do something and you feel fear, First thing to do is to acknowledge the fear. You know that it’s there (inside your mind) and it probably won't go away until you do something about it. Take a deep breath and take action. Even it is the tiniest of steps. Then do something about it. Do it with the knowledge that this move, this action, will take you out of your current situation and into a different place. This action, which is different from what you have imagined doing so far. The reason behind your stillness was that you were uncertain, had self-doubts, feared to lose or fail etc. When you find yourself contemplating uncertainty, self doubt and fear of failure, it means that you should stop these voices and do exactly the opposite action of what they are trying to stop you from doing; meaning, you should do it NOW and without no hesitation. You should take the small step and do something differently!
Sometimes taking this small step won’t get you immediately to the end result, but it’s important to acknowledge that you did it. You have taken action and now, you are one step closer to reaching your goals. (now imagine the rest of the road…wonderful!) . The amazing thing about it, that part of your fear will disappear with this small action. Once you’ve done it, you’d notice that the fear is gone. You were afraid to say ‘yes’ to a new job. You feared saying ‘yes’ to the new diet / lifestyle even though you wanted to lose weight. You feared saying ‘yes’ to start dating again or to opening your own business. But you took that action.
After having said yes to life, how did it make you feel? Can you recognise the emotions? How have you started feeling with that fear? Do you recognise the “butterflies'' in your stomach? Did you start to feel excitement as you have started to imagine what it would be like? Being slimmer, being successful, being independent, being part of… being… who you dream to be. Imagination is great!
My top tips: Make sure that the image you have in your head is the one you want to live by. Make sure that you have actual things (e.g.vision board) and rituals (e.g. set alarms for daily tasks) to remind you of the dream, to remind you why you said yes and why you have overcome your fears.
Make sure you keep taking one action at a time to get closer to your goals and own fulfilment. The key thing to remember when you take action, you have the support of the right people around you; The people who encourage you and believe in you. Your imagination will serve you and bring you one step closer to your end result.The supportive environment will help you get there too -step by step.
Step 3. Knowledge
Most people are afraid of the unknown. Once you know what you want or need to change or you want to achieve something, learn about it. Acquire knowledge.
You want to be an artist? Learn what it means to be one and what are the steps you need in order for you to get there.
You want to have a new relationship but you don’t know where to begin? Read about it, talk to people who have made it and discover their ‘success secrets’.
You want to move to a different country? Read about it, research and if possible, visit the country, read about and talk to people who have traveled there. When you have a clearer picture of various scenarios, you will be able to feel more relaxed about your options and what your end results might be. By having a solid notion and idea where you are heading you will gain more confidence. Confidence which is born out of acquiring knowledge is one tool to overcome fear and it stops it from controlling us.
The more you learn, the more answers you can provide to the little voice inside your head who’s trying to stop you from living the life that you want and that you deserve. Frequently, I hear women starting their conversations with “but I don’t know how to x, y and z!” My suggestion each time is , “Go and learn and read and talk to people about it!”
This suggestion will be often followed by very convincing excuses, which may sound very acceptable and logical, yet, to the ear of someone who is not led by fears, those reasons sound more like protecting the fears rather than overcoming them...
Look around you… wouldn’t it be great to be surrounded with people who believe in themselves, their abilities and know they will find ways of achieving their dreams and goals? Who would you prefer to be surrounded by; people who inspire you to try or with people who would put your dreams and aspirations to freeze (out of fear of course)?
Look around you and find these people who will make sure you find a creative way to overcome your fear and take this step that you are so dreading to make.
Step 4. Self-belief
How many times have you said to yourself, “this time I know I will make it!” and you made it! and then you said to yourself “Well done me! I did it!”
During those moments, you had an inner voice (you know the one), who believed in you. It is this inner voice that pushed you to be positive or to keep going at times when you were at the bottom and feeling your lowest. Unfortunately, this positive voice is not always there to remind us of our strength and value. This voice can sometimes be quieted by darker forces within us called “fear and anxiety” Interestingly,those voices won’t quiet down until one of the two things happens: an inner voice shouts louder: “Don’t be silly! of course you can make it! You did it before and you will do it again!” (or some similar dismissive voice that shuts all doubts) OR an exterior interference from a source that is not our brain, intervenes. For example; we see something on TV/Social Media that speaks to us and gives us hope. It suddenly changes something within us and gives us a different perspective on life! It’s someone we don’t know and it has nothing to do with us, but it inspires us and makes us make the move and find the inner strength to work it out. However, probably the most effective way to regain a positive perspective about ourselves is speaking to someone who we know and trust and with whom we deep down inside of us know and feel would give us their open, honest opinion, say the right words and show us a different perspective on the situation. Maybe they will see things in a simpler way and provide us with another way of looking at things. This person, or people, can guide us out of the despair and fear. Because you see - hope and different perspectives are another tool that guide us to believe fully in ourselves and overcome our fears. And if you don’t have this one person or community around you, make sure you find them.
Step 5. Experience
I’d like to ask you to reflect on your past and think of all the things you have overcome and managed to go through despite your fear. You probably think that you don’t have many, but I invite you to think carefully about the first time you went to school, the first time you gave a presentation in front of your friends or colleagues, the first time you’ve signed a contract or bought a house, the first time you gave birth or had sex. On so many occasions you have faced fear (the fear to fail, the fear that you are not enough, the fear that you will be deserted, the fear that you are not good…) and in so many occasions you have overcome these fears. On all of these occasions, you managed to overcome and do them despite your fear. Something within you did it. Maybe the end result wasn’t perfect, but you did it!!! Bravo!!! And this my friend, this is your experience! This is your strength! This is your power!
You haven’t really thought about it this way, haven’t you? Right? So now that you are aware, you might see your fear a little differently. “But wait!” you may cry. “I haven’t done all the things that you were talking about! I was controlled by my fear and I didn’t do them!” And yes, you are right. Maybe you haven’t done everything that you wish to do and would have only dreamed about doing. In that case, I invite you to look around you and find people who have done what you are terrified of doing. Find these people and talk to them. Ask them questions. I am sure you have enough people you know, and who would be happy to share their wisdom (we all know that wisdom comes with experience) and if you don’t have these wise people around you, look for them, find them and ask them.
People are happy to share their experience and you should be happy to learn. You do not have to make mistakes; you can make your own. But listening to other people’s advice may be the one thing you need to learn to do in order to try something new and overcome your fear. Sometimes, all you need to know is that there are other options out there waiting for you and that if someone else did them, so can you.
Remember, knowledge (even if you hear it from other people) is power and we already know that knowledge is another tool to overcome your fears!
all the elements that will help you to distinguish between the different fears, and ways to overcome them, is to make sure that you are aware of yourself and know that by using simple measures (knowledge, action, self-belief, experience) you can do anything you set your mind to. Many researchers indicate that the top index to measure happiness is relationships. And when someone is happy, they are not scared. When you are happy, you can achieve anything you want. I do hope that you have these relationships and environment that help you confront your fear and reach your happiness. If you don’t; send me a tweet, I will be happy to direct you to some people I know…
“Always remember, you are Stronger than you seem, Braver than you believe and Smarter than you think.” A.A. Milne