Facing fears can be bring mixed emotions for some people. While one person can handle fear and what it brings (adrenaline can be a rush for some people) others have a hard time handling fear and processing ways to live their life on a daily basis can be difficult. As a victim of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, each victim is going to react to fear differently based on their situation. There is no right or wrong way of handling fear, being able to live your life knowing how to handle it is the most important thing.
What Traps Us in Fear And How to Overcome It
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield
The one thing that holds humans back the most in life. And it doesn’t even truly exist.
Let that sink in for a moment. How many times have you opted out of new experiences because fear came knocking at your door once again? Fear seems very tangible sometimes, but our powerful minds often create elaborate stories that don’t ever play out in real life.
If you never push past that fear, you will live out your days painfully wondering what you could have discovered by simply taking a chance. Most people have regrets at the end of their lives, so if you want to live fully while you have the chance, use these tips to discover your courage and put fear to rest once and for all.
HERE ARE 6 THINGS THAT TRAP US IN FEAR (AND HOW TO GET UN-STUCK)
- YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TRULY AFRAID OF.
You need to figure out what you fear, acknowledge those feelings, and then let them move on, flowing freely as new energy in a different form.
Everything is energy, and if you let go of things weighing you down, you set that energy free to manifest as a (hopefully) more positive outcome somewhere else. It often helps to write down your fears and determine if these scenarios could really happen or not. By writing them down, you can see on paper whether it makes sense to worry about these issues. Oftentimes, you will see that your worries only use up valuable energy; you can then release your fears once you’ve seen what they look like and how harmless they really are.
- YOU KEEP THE FEAR BOTTLED UP INSIDE YOU.
If something puts us in a state of unease, we often hide it from others in fear of being ridiculed or misunderstood. People tend to tuck any negative emotions under the rug to deal with later, but this can be extremely detrimental. The burden will only grow heavier as time wears on, so make sure to deal with any anxiety you feel now before it becomes unbearable. Talk to someone you love and trust if you feel overwhelmed or don’t know how to handle the fear yourself – don’t feel ashamed in voicing your struggles; people who really care about you will feel more than happy to help you.
- YOU FOCUS TOO MUCH ON THE PROBLEMS, AND NOT ENOUGH ON THE SOLUTIONS.
When you give all your attention to what you feel afraid of, you will only manifest more negative events in your life. Remember, energy flows where attention goes, so keep this in mind as you work through any blockages you might have. By putting all your energy into what will happen by overcoming the fear rather than how badly you the fear makes you feel, you can shift your perspective and see opportunities where you once saw obstacles.
Just think of what kind of person you can become when you turn fear into fortitude, and use that as your incentive to keep going.
- YOU LET YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES DICTATE YOUR PRESENT AND FUTURE.
How many times do you have recollections of the past and believe that these events determine your life today? By living in the past, you WILL actually recreate those events because all of your energy is focused on those negative occurrences. Remember that your past will only repeat itself if you dwell on the negatives experiences rather than using those as learning tools to better your current reality.
Nothing is permanent unless you allow it to be, so commit to creating a new future by coming to terms with your past and learning from those experiences, rather than allowing them to control you today.
- YOU DON’T ACKNOWLEDGE THE FEAR.
Ironically, if you pretend the fear doesn’t exist, it will only become stronger. Denial is dangerous, because people try to distract themselves from their feelings or numb them somehow (often with drugs or alcohol) until they forget about them altogether. However, until you have addressed your feelings, they will only keep returning and become more difficult to manage each time.
Accept that you feel afraid, but don’t identify with that feeling. Instead, shift into a state of awareness where you just observe your body and mind without judgment. This makes the feeling less palpable, and the fear will slowly diminish once you have detached yourself from your mind and moved into your heart.
- YOU FALL VICTIM TO ANALYSIS PARALYSIS.
This popular phrase simply means to become so baffled by what path to take that you don’t take any at all, feeling paralyzed with inaction. In order to overcome your fear, you need to break it down into smaller steps so it doesn’t seem like an enormous, impossible task. Write down on paper exactly how you can conquer your fears, and number each step so you have a clear outline of what to do. You can even set dates for each one to hold you accountable for your actions.
Whatever you do, just make sure to start in some direction rather than becoming wracked with fear. By building momentum, you will restore your confidence and defeat the big, ugly monster of fear one step at a time.
3 Steps to Overcoming the Fear that Keeps us Trapped in Unhealthy Behaviors & Bad Relationships.
- Diagnose the fear.
When we are afraid of something, but refuse to examine it, our apprehension becomes exponentially worse. We become afraid of the fear. When we dare to name the thing that looms in our consciousness, we automatically drain it of some of its power.
Write down what you are afraid of:
I am afraid I won’t be loved.
I am afraid of being broke.
I am afraid of looking foolish.
Once named, the fear doesn’t disappear, but it stops floating around and infecting everything. Okay, I think to myself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I’ll fail (but there is no failure, there is only our response to perceived failure), I won’t be loved (but I am loved—at the very least, I can love myself), I’ll be broke (maybe, but as long as I have a packet of Ramen and a roof—no matter how rickety—I’ll probably be okay) and I’ll look foolish (yeah, but no one ever died of looking silly).
Now that I have my fear down to a reasonable size and shape, I’m ready for phase two.
- Put one foot in front of the other.
The only way to get to the top of a mountain is to climb one measly, insignificant seeming step at a time. Unless you have a helicopter. But then you’ll miss all the neat stuff along the way.
When fear does get the upper hand (and it will), and suddenly we’ve gone a week without writing anything and our shirts are covered in potato chip crumbs, it’s time to go back to step one.
This brings me to an important point. Overcoming fear is never a linear process, but one in which we repeatedly trip, fall, dust ourselves off and get back to the program. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, but we mustn’t languish and lose all our forward momentum.
- Detach from the outcome.
Easier said than done—especially when the outcome is, say, a book, and detaching from it seems to make a scary thing even scarier.
How can I write one page of a book if I don’t think about the whole book? How can I eat healthfully if I don’t think about every single calorie and meal I plan to eat? How can I climb a mountain if I don’t obsess about getting to the top?
Once we envision a general goal, whatever it may be, we need to set it and forget it. Though we can revisit our goal from time to time, the majority of our efforts should be focused on taking the tiny incremental steps to get there.
If we spend every moment climbing our mountain gazing upwards into the clouds, we won’t experience the beauty of the dry earth beneath our feet, the lizard that just skittered by, the strange purple flower peeking out from a dark fissure in the stone or the way the air smells of iron and the color blue.
Even if we don’t reach our goal—the top—our journey will have been rich and rewarding in ways we can’t know until we take it.
We all feel fear and have, at one point or another, been paralyzed by it. But remaining stuck there is a choice.