Updated: Aug 21, 2020
What are your fears, that prevent you taking action?
Do you want to overcome these fears?
Imagine a life without your fear - What would that mean to you?
What is a fear?
A fear is a feeling. You may have many fears or one main fear.
These fears prevent us behaving or doing something we would like to do.
Here we will look at what a fear really is, what's behind it and how, therefore, you can get past this fear so that it isn't a problem any more.
Why is fear a problem?
It stops us doing something we want to do. So most often it stops us getting what we want. Think of something you want and then think about why you haven't got it or done it. Is there a fear? Does fear actually need to stop us though. Usually it does stop us, the fear is a big hurdle for us. However do note that we can use a fear as a launching platform. When the fear of not doing it becomes greater than the fear of doing it we are propelled into action.
How did the fear originate?
A fear is purely a feeling. We weren't born with most of these fears. Feelings come originally from thoughts. What that means is that you have a thought, a thought about what it would mean to do that thing and it is that thought that is causing you the problem. From that thought comes a meaning (we may have experienced a negative reaction) and then we continually look to validate it. We decide what it means to us.
We even create biases - we can totally ignore information that does not fit with our thought or preconceived idea about what it means.
Please be aware that its not your fault, so we must not blame ourselves, or others. This is not helpful.
We must put the ball in our court so we have control and therefore we can find a way out of it.
What keeps a fear going?
Our brain is like the most powerful computer and is set up to protect us. So it is continually assessing information for our safety. It is also to avoid pain - emotional or physical, or even perceived pain.
We tend to do most of this automatically in order to save us time and energy. So we forget to consciously assess this. Or we don't even realise we need to. We do need to though - we need to check it for validity. It is basing its 'decisions' and 'meaning' on past events.
How often do we stop and re-calibrate and see if its really valid for the current event? We don't usually, we just go with what is programmed - conditioned - into us. As mentioned though, this is from past events - that's how we learn. However, like any computer, we need to do updates.
The three stages to overcoming the 'fear'
The first step is to become aware of your fears. You may know some major ones. Start to be aware of the fears and then have a look at it, and find out whats behind it. Usually most of our fears are about what will happen - and consequently what will people think, or what will I think, if it goes wrong.
As mentioned earlier they are set up to protect us and avoid pain. They are based on past experiences and the meaning we created in the past. We now need to reassess and update these. What's more, we need to do this consciously so that it is done without biases and in view of the current day. So as mentioned earlier, fears are most likely concerned with what will happen and our safety and protection. So look at your fear and look at what is behind it and what it is trying to prevent you from.
2. Remove old pattern
This is about changing the meaning. By changing the meaning we change the feeling.
Once we have created awareness about the fear and we have looked at the meaning and thoughts behind it we are in a position to move forward.
What if you do this thing - what will happen if it goes wrong? Will we feel that people will judge us or we will judge ourselves? What will that judgement be? Normally we will turn that judgement into a blame and feel bad about ourselves. We don't want to feel bad about ourselves so, to prevent this, we don't do it in the beginning. We don't want the risk. This is disempowering.
So we are torn - we want to do it for the outcome, but it may not get us the outcome. And to do it leads us to feel negatively towards ourselves, equally to not do it can lead to us not feeling good about ourselves for avoiding it. We have conflicting expectations.
How about you approach it differently to make it empowering. When we create the new pattern we want it to be positive and empowering.
3. Reframe for a new pattern
The previous step was to prepare to break this pattern. So we have created awareness of the fear and looked the pattern behind it. We don't want to suppress the behaviour any more. We want to express it. We must look at the thoughts that we have been using. The thoughts we have been attaching to it and telling ourselves repeatedly. We have investigated the old pattern. Next we decide what we'd like the new pattern to be. Then we create a new pattern and we must continually look for confirmation of this.
During this time it can be helpful to speak to others who will help you to look at it from your new perspective. However, as many people are negative, these people will wobble your resolve to reinforce the new pattern. So be careful who you talk to.
The new pattern then needs to be practiced - again and again. A new pattern can take a while to set up. Remember it took you many years to set up and reinforce the old one. So keep going, don't give up. Doing this in full awareness of what you are doing is helpful as you can remind your self consciously of what you are doing, why you are doing it and what you want to achieve.
This will feel uncomfortable at first. Try this: cross your arms. Now cross them the opposite way to usual . It will feel uncomfortable. How long will you have to do it this way until it starts to feel comfortable. Probably several weeks. I've tried it with my legs during yoga, and now after several weeks they both feel comfortable and I no longer know which is the uncomfortable one!
You might have been saying something like: if I do this then if I fail I will feel bad about myself and I don't want to feel bad about myself.
Now imagine you say something like - I am trying this out and will see how it goes. It will not be perfect but the way to get perfect is to practice and this is my first practice. I will promise myself to do my best but I will not berate myself for lack of perfection. I will learn from this experience. I will be encouraging to myself and if others offer their opinion then I will explain to them that I wanted to do it and see how it went so that I can look at how I can do it better next time.
Use positive language - talk about what you do want. Create your own phrases that will work for you. Another way is to ask yourself - what would it look like if someone else did this and it didn't go perfectly - would I judge them as harshly as I judge myself. This also primes your brain to look for the positive in what you do (it sets up the positive in your subconscious and then your subconscious will look to validate this).
A fear is a belief you have created around something. It has been set up from your thoughts in the past. Therefore its validity needs to be set in question. Create awareness of what is around this fear, then explore it so you can look at it differently. Next decide the new pattern you want to put in place. Finally practice practice practice until it become a subconscious new pattern.