How to overcome fear

by rodney on July 7, 2014

clownFear is a primal emotion that all creatures have.  This emotion is essential to survival (the most basic of instincts) and therefore a very important and useful emotion to have.

However, even though fear can keep us safe and alive, fear can also be dangerous. It can hold us back, prevent us from taking action and keep us from going for our dreams and goals which can lead us to a life of boredom, unhappiness and unfulfilment.

Not only do we fear events that can harm us, we also fear events that won’t harm us but will have a negative impact on us. When our fears are irrational (things that will have neither a dangerous or even negative effect on us) we call these phobias.  Fear is an example of emotional baggage.

Because of our fear of these negative impacts, we are often fearful of taking action that could also have a positive impact on us, for example, I used to be afraid of talking to women because of a fear of rejection however this also left me alone.

When appropriate, we need to overcome our fears so that way we can grow.  Here are some steps we need to take in order to overcome our fears.

Accept and understand

Acceptance is the first step to overcoming every issue. If you don’t acknowledge that you have an issue, you can’t resolve the issue. You also need to understand where the fear comes from. This way we can solve the problem at its source. In my example above, my fear of rejection came from the belief systems I had about not being accepted.  Because I didn’t feel accepted, I had a need to everybody to like me thus I feared being rejected.

Disprove

Now that we have found the source of our fear, we need to disprove the thoughts and beliefs that are causing our fear response.  To do this we need to look for times in the past that either disproves your beliefs or proves the opposite. For example, I looked for times when I spoke to women and was rejected in a humiliating fashion. I discovered that this hadn’t happened, in fact the times when I did talk to women and it didn’t work out, I discovered that I survived. Then I looked at examples of times when I was accepted by people such as past relationships, friends, colleagues and family.

Plan

Now that you’ve disproved the beliefs causing your fear, you’re ready to face your fear. The first step you need to take is to make a plan. You want to slowly and gradually face your fear. Plan to take the first step. Then what’s the next step after that? Put that on your plan and keep going until you’ve fully faced your fear.  I made a plan to attend singles events, the idea of going somewhere where there were others with the same objective as me would lower the chances of rejection, and I planned to at first talk to 1 person. Then 2 on the next, then 5 and so on. With each person I spoke to, I gradually became more comfortable and more confident.

Take action

Finally is the time to act on your plan. At first it will be hard and uncomfortable but you need to push through that in order to grow and overcome your fear. To help you push through that, you can surround yourself with supportive people who will encourage you. Also breathing exercises will help you to ease any feelings of nervousness and anxiety.

While fear is a normal part of the human experience, so too is personal growth.  Often to achieve the personal growth, we need to overcome our fears. These four steps will help you to unpack the baggage causing your fear and to check it in.

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