Fear is a part of life, and some fear is helpful. You’re afraid to stick your hand into a fire or to jump off a cliff. If you weren’t afraid of anything, you wouldn’t live long. But most fears are crippling and influence your decisions in negative ways.
Imagine you’re walking through the woods and get a thorn in your arm. You would likely remove it and go about your life with little thought of that mild injury. But imagine if you didn’t deal with it.
Eventually, that thorn would affect many of your decisions:
- It would become infected and sore.
- You would be careful not to bump anything.
- You’d avoid most sports.
- You would protect yourself anytime someone walked to close.
- Eventually, you might even develop a special cover to tape over it.
- Then you must worry about finding clothes that fit over it.
- You couldn’t swim because the tape might come off.
- It would affect your sleeping position, and so on.
Fears are the same way. A fear of talking to strangers affects the decisions you make in your social life and career. We avoid all types of things to ensure we don’t stir up the negative emotions caused by our fears.
The more fears you have, the less freedom you enjoy.
Try these techniques to transcend your fears and claim the level of freedom you deserve:
1. Become more aware. There’s a big world out there with a variety of perspectives. Yours might not be the best perspective. You might believe that a fear of public speaking is totally normal and justified. But is it? What is the worst that could happen if you make a mistake? No one is going to stone you.
- Look at all your fears and make a list of them.
- Decide which are causing your life the most grief. Which fears do you spend the most time working around? Which are the most limiting?
2. Determine why you’re afraid. What are the possible consequences that cause you to be afraid?
3. Deal with your fears a little at a time. For example, if you’re afraid of public speaking, try giving a speech to your child, nephew, or niece. Then trying giving it to three of them. Build up your tolerance until you can speak to thousands.
4. Use techniques to lower your fear. There are many tools for dealing with fear:
- The Emotional Freedom Technique is popular.
- So is Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
- Hypnosis and meditation are also options.
- You can also see a hypnotherapist or use a psychologist if you’re not making a lot of progress on your own.
5. Use a journal. Writing can often be more helpful than thinking. We take the things we write more seriously than our self-talk. You talk to yourself constantly throughout the day. What will one more thought accomplish? Use a journal to record your thoughts, fears, and your progress.
6. Develop a new understanding of failure. Many of the silly fears we have are related to a fear of failure. Ask yourself what can happen if you fail? Failure can be a great thing if you learn from it and apply it to your life.
Imagine a life without any irrational fears. What would you do if you weren’t afraid of failing? You can measure your personal freedom by number of fears you possess. Everyone develops fears as a natural consequence of living. You have a choice. You don’t have to keep your fears. Spend some time each day dealing with your fears and reclaim your life.