Have you ever felt absolutely terrified of something? I know I sure have...a number of things, in fact. Fear can feel heavy, restrictive and exhausting. Consider how much energy that goes into avoiding something you're scared of, worrying about that same thing, having nightmares about it, etc. Wouldn't it be lovely to be free of fear's shackles? You certainly can be and I can tell you how!
I need to be clear here: Fear has a place in our world. I see there being 2 levels of fear:
A great example of a severe anxiety that I experienced was my snake phobia (click here to read all about it). First, we don't really even have snakes (aside from garter snakes) in this part of Alberta. Second, I had only had a few interactions with snakes in my life, but one experience had startled me (I nearly walked directly into a snake that was around a person's shoulders) and I avoided snakes from that point forward at all costs. The result of that was that my anxiety grew exponentially from there. If I was reading a magazine and flipped to a page with a picture of a snake, everything within a 3 foot radius of my limbs would end up flying. I think about all of the weeks, days, hours and minutes which were wasted on worrying about snakes, stressing about snakes and avoiding snakes. That is time out of my life that I'll never get back; all that energy wasted with no benefit or value.
Wouldn't that energy be better spent elsewhere in your life? Hell yeah! That wasted energy could be put towards making time for the people, experiences and things that mean most to you rather than wasted on worry.
Why would you want to overcome a fear? Perhaps because that fear is holding you back from doing something that deep down you'd really like to do. Maybe your fear limits you in your life. Perhaps you really want to move forward in an area, but stay where you are out of fear. Maybe you want your fear to have less control over your life.
If you want to overcome a fear in your life, here's what doesn't work:
Here is what does work :
The ONLY way that I've ever moved forward and felt freedom from something I fear is to put my big-girl panties on and face it. Wanna know what happens when you do this? It creates an amazing shift inside of you as that fear is being kicked to the curb. At first, it is scary, maybe even terrifying. Then as you start to realize that it isn't so bad, it feels powerful, freeing and wonderful!
Does this mean that you have to run right up to that thing that you fear without any thought or pre-planning? Well no, I wouldn't suggest that exactly!
I suggest taking baby steps. Allow yourself to experience a taste of it and then step back to allow your mind, body and nerves to process that experience. Then once you've caught your breath, you can step forward to the next experience. This allows you to taste-test, to stumble, to fall, to get up and dust yourself off, to step forward in manageable steps. It's normal to feel anxious and to want to run and hide and it's also normal to start to feel more confidence with each tiny, baby step that you take forward into that fear.
Here's what has worked for me and can do the same for you:
With every fear I've faced head-on, it's power and control over me has been reduced. Additionally, I've gained knowledge, power, pride and freedom. You can have that too!