Fear: How to Harness it and Use it to Your AdvantageJun 19, 2022
How do you overcome your fear?
Well, fear is consistent emotion throughout the human experience. I haven’t come across one person in my 42 years, that hasn’t felt it at one time or another. It begins in infancy and continues throughout your lifetime. Kids are afraid of the dark, afraid of monsters, things that may seem irrational to parents. But those fears are very real to kids. And frankly it’s the same for adults, we all have rational and irrational fears.
Being a human means that we will experience fear, both irrational and rational. Now, as a bit of a disclaimer, rational fear, fear of certain things in life, can be healthy. Like being afraid of falling off a cliff. That fear then directs us to act cautiously on the cliff. We live to see another day. Good for us! But that’s not the type of fear I want to address. Irrational fear. That is the fear we need to be conscious of and learn to manage. Irrational fear is the type of fear that holds us back. It holds us back from doing what we really want to do. Being who we want to be. Being authentic to ourselves.
Let’s take this blog for example. It’s something I always wanted to do. I thought it would be fun! I thought it would be healing for me. But God did it scare me. My head filled with questions like – “What if people don’t like it? What if I bore people? What if no one reads it?” My intention on this blog – is to get pretty personal at times, so what if people just don’t like the real “me”? Oh, so many doubts. So many reasons not to do it right? These are irrational fears. Why are they irrational? Because I’m making things up in my head that haven’t happened. And logically, won’t happen (at least in the masses) and not in a way that I couldn’t handle. These types of fears are just lies we tell ourselves. We let these lies build and build, until there is a wall, a road block. And we just stop and don’t do it. Because what if…. Ugh the horror.
Let’s say you decide not to do something because of your “fears”. You don’t do the blog. You don’t take that new job, let yourself fall in love, move to a new city, take that trip, take up a new hobby, speak up for yourself, leave that toxic relationship. You just don’t do it. You are too afraid of what could happen. The fear floods in and the what if’s start. What if I’m not good enough? What if he hurts me? What if I don’t make new friends? What if people judge me?
Guess what, all of these things could happen. He may hurt you. You may have a hard time making new friends in a new city. You may struggle a bit in a new job. Leaving a comfortable yet toxic relationship is HARD! But OMG – turn that fear around on its ass. When faced with something in my life that I’m fearful of, that I know is irrational, I have to shift my thinking.
I ask myself “What happens if I DON’T DO IT?!!? “ You know what the answer is. Nothing. Nothing happens. And that is NOT okay with me. I want a life full with meaningful experiences.
What are some examples of things I’ve done that have literally scared the shit out me when I started them? Here ya go:
· Got thrown into to being a top 40 radio DJ when the overnight guy didn’t show up for his shift. I was shaking when I had to go on the air. It turned into a 4 year job and a time in my life I’m so thankful for.
· Moved to Wisconsin. I left everything I ever knew in Michigan and moved all alone to a new state for work. It was hard. I was so terrified. But I learned SO much and met some of my best friends during my time in Milwaukee.
· Living alone. Would I be able to do it? What if I forgot to pay bills or a million other things? Turns out I can do it all. And now I know that without a doubt. That’s empowerment.
· Flying. Yep, I’m a nervous flier. It gets worse as I get older. It’s completely irrational. I know that. So, I rationally walk myself through it every single time. I board the plane. I land safely, and I have a great vacation or a productive work trip. Boom.
· Divorce. This was very scary. And understandably, it’s a big life change. So maybe it’s not irrational, but my fears were something I had to overcome in order to do it. I’m going to hurt him; how can I handle that? Will he be okay? What about my kids? Can I afford it? What if no one ever falls in love with me again? What will everyone think? Do people see me as a failure? How do I take care of the house alone? So many individual fears to overcome here. But I did it. And today we are all living much happier, healthier lives. Much more on this later.
How did I do it?
I had to have faith in myself, trust my instincts and my ability to manage these situations. I had to know my worth, believe in what I wanted for myself. Repeating these things in my head constantly. Pumping myself up. Reassuring myself. It comes from within you. No outside validation needed. And then… I took it one step at a time. Was I still afraid? Absolutely. But I also thought of all of the things I would be missing out on if I didn’t at least try. Total FOMO. And you know what, failure is nothing to be afraid of. If you fail, at least you tried! That’s 1,000x better than not trying.
Seriously, what is the worst thing that could happen? The answer is – nothing that you CAN’T HANDLE. You are strong. You are capable. More than capable. Learning to manage your fear, doesn’t mean it’s going to go away and you’ll be feeling 100% ready to take the plunge into whatever it is. Managing your fear means that you know you can handle whatever the Universe throws at you. All the blessings and all the road bumps (notice I didn’t say BLOCKS). Take a deep breath, and take that first step. That is how you harness your fear and turn it into an emotion that works for you, instead of against you.
Become the most authentic you!
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