Fear exists in everybody’s life.
There’s a myriad of places it surfaces—commitment, rejection and failure are but a few possibilities. It often disguises itself as a form of protection. If you don’t love deeply, maybe you can avoid being hurt. If you save as much money as possible, you’ll be safe. If you don’t try anything new, you won’t fail.
However, if you avoid challenges and novel experiences, you run the risk of sinking into stagnation. A life ruled by fear often means never reaching your full potential or fulfilling your deepest dreams.
Here are a few ways fear may be showing up in your world.
• Negative self-talk.
This is a form of self-sabotage and is a common way for your mind to stop you from trying new things. It plants seeds of doubt. It tells you; you aren’t smart/creative/coordinated/thin enough to do whatever you’re contemplating.
• Blaming others.
Fear encourages you to blame outside influences rather than taking responsibility for your life.
• Telling yourself stories that support limiting beliefs.
Like blame, excuses can be comforting when fear is ruling your life. The human brain doesn’t like to have inconsistencies between beliefs and actions, so it makes up stories to explain why you don’t push yourself into the unknown.
• Believing “good enough” is good enough.
Are you afraid to reach for the stars in case you fail? Of course, there are occasions when it isn’t worth your time and energy to perfect something or do it to the best possible standard. But if this becomes your typical pattern, it’s time to delve a little deeper to see if fear is holding you back.
Do you live in fear of robbing a bank? Do you lose sleep over the thought of getting caught or shot in the process? Probably not. Why aren’t you afraid? Because it’s unlikely you have any yearning to rob a bank.
Fear is the flip-side of desire. Desire is part of every human’s experience. It lives deep within everyone and can sometimes feel irrational and scary. When wanting something makes you feel uncomfortable, your brain may try to convince yourself to stop wanting it.
As with all personal growth, awareness is your first step to transformation. In order to move forward you need to bring your fears out into the open and own them. Recognize that humans fear losing the things they desire most.
A fear of public speaking may stem from a desire to be heard. A fear of commitment may be rooted in a desire for connection. Wanting to be safe may cause you to hang onto money and possessions rather than enjoying your resources.
How can you lessen your fears and achieve your desires?
• Learn to enjoy the process rather than being attached to the outcome.
Don’t stop trying new things or meeting challenges because you’re afraid they won’t work out. Step into them, do your best, and then observe what happens without being emotionally attached to the outcome. Curiosity is your best friend.
• Believe that life happens for you, not to you.
This attitude encourages empowerment rather than victim energy. The minute you think other people or situations are responsible for what’s going on in your life, you’re giving away your personal power.
• Stop making excuses and blaming external factors.
The more you practice being accountable for your life, the better you’ll become at overcoming your fears. Start telling yourself different stories around your worries.
Start listening for the word ‘should’ in your conversations. If you should be getting more exercise, why aren’t you?
• Banish negative self-talk.
Words are powerful, especially the ones you say or don’t say to yourself. Replace self-sabotaging talk with self-affirmations.
• Adopt a growth mindset.
Rather than seeing setbacks as failures, view them as learning opportunities. Finding ways that don’t work can help you discover the one that does. Understanding the link between fear and desire can help you uncover what you want most. Once you’ve established that, you can set powerful intentions before courageously moving forward into the life of your dreams.
It isn’t always easy, but it’s so very satisfying.
In the words of George Addair, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is sitting on the other side of fear.”
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.