Do they hold you back, or spur you on?
For me I suppose it depends on the fear. I’m totally and completely afraid of rodents. Seriously, anything other than Mickey and Minnie and I’m on top of the table screaming my head off… at least that’s what my fear wants me to do. In reality, I usually suppress the scream and force myself to deal with it head on. I know this fear is irrational. Deep down I know that the little tiny mouse I am seeing is of no harm to me. Ick, seriously it makes me shiver just thinking about one though. That’s the irrational part of my brain. That part is very loud and convincing!
That’s my easy fear. It’s tangible. So people think I’m crazy because I knock on the garage door to scare away any visitors before going in… I can deal with that. I have a plan. It is manageable.
My other fears are much more complicated. There is no neat box to put them into and to organize them. These are the fears that I struggle with most often. They tend to hold me back more than spur me on. You know the fears I am talking about, right? The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of screwing something up…
They are abstract, and yet no less real than my mouse-phobia. Of course usually when in the grips of one of these “other” fears, I’d prefer crawling into bed to hide than screaming on the table. The action, no matter which I choose, has the same results – the fear wins. It has succeeded in making me inactive. Rather than pushing on and creating a change in my life, I sit stuck in my fears. Which is not the greatest place to sit!
When stuck, I have found the following tips to be helpful:
- Clearly Identify and Understand your Fear. Unleash your inner three year old and keep asking yourself why, why, why? It is not enough to simple say “I am afraid”. If you want to get past the fear you must first be able to name it as well as understand where this fear is truly coming from.
- Ask for help. Talk about your fear and what is holding you back. If not with a friend, then perhaps a pastor or counselor. You never know what kinds of insight and help others will have for you.
- Make a conscious decision to fight your fear. Set a goal, write it down, and then work towards your goal. Even if the first goal is only one tiny step to conquering your fear, it is still a step forward.
- Give yourself room (and permission) to have a bad day or to even fail… just do not give yourself permission to quit completely. Your new mantra is “I may not succeed today, but I’ll be sure to keep trying as many times as it takes”.
- Finally don’t forget to reward yourself as each little goal is achieved. Effecting change in yourself or your life is hard work. Don’t skimp on the little joys along the way.
I hope these will help you the next time you feel your fear winning out. Now it’s your turn… what types of fears do you have, and what tricks have you found that help you conquer them?
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