Fear – My Clingy Friend
Paralyzed. Immobilized. Debilitated.
Have you ever felt completely unable to move forward, even just a baby step, because you fear the outcome? It’s incredible the absolute power Fear can hold over an individual who allows It to take hold of the reins.
Interestingly, Fear poses as one who helps you avoid potential pain. One who warns you of dangerous circumstances or messing something up. As a result, you may choose to hide behind Fear, the seeming”Bodyguard.” I know I’ve certainly done it on more than one occasion. Several, actually.
Can you relate?
In fact, truth be told, I have pretty much adopted Fear to be my constant companion. We go everywhere together. We socialize together. We work together. We parent together. And honestly, Fear is kinda the pits as far as friends are concerned. Definitely not the coolest kid on the block.
Turns out, Fear is quite the limiting friend to have around. Fear doesn’t allow me to fully express my personality around others, as Fear reminds me I might make a fool of myself.
Fear chooses to remind me that, when it comes to my work, there is possibility of failure, and we certainly can’t have that!
And Fear likes to whisper in my ear all too frequently that the way I’m parenting is wrong for a myriad of reasons.
Yes, Fear is that friend who just Won’t. Go. Away.
Fear – My Faux Security Blanket
Even though Fear makes me uncomfortable, and often times, downright sad, I tend to keep It around. Hmmmm…yeah, doesn’t make much sense. So why do many of us do it?
For some reason, Fear can carry with it a sense of security. It makes us falsely believe that we are somehow more aware of the problems that can occur, and as a result, we are somehow more prepared for when the shoe drops. When the, uh, “s!*t hits the fan,” we’ll be ready.
But is that really the case? In many instances in my own life, I’ve found that, really, I end up experiencing the worst case scenario in my head in full force by letting my imagination run wild – therefore experiencing the same pain, but in the end, the worst case very rarely happens.
I once came across a quote by Corrie Ten Boom, Holocaust survivor and author of The Hiding Place, that absolutely resonated with me when it comes to fear and worry.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
How true is that?! When we focus so much of our time and energy on the “what ifs” of the future, we often rob today of its joy and our ability to handle the present day.
My husband has often reminded me that there is no point in worrying about something that has not even happened yet. He’s the perfect example of choosing to live in the present, hope for the best, and handle the future, come what may, when the time comes.
That faux security blanket is doing me zero favors. Time to trash it.
Perfectionism – Fear’s Great Ally
So I am fearful of a lot of things, but perhaps, I fear failure most of all.
Do you fear failure in your own life?
In a world that has become increasingly competitive, and where we often see so many successes around the world through social media and the news, it can be hard to feel that we could ever succeed as others have done.
In the past, I’d say that I was a successful person. I was very involved in extracurriculars in high school. I got straight A’s. I went to college and got my Bachelor’s degree.
I was thrilled with my accomplishments. But underneath it all, I absolutely feared failing. I felt that it would somehow measure who I was as a person. My worth. My value. It was not a great place to be in.
This very fear of failure stopped me in my tracks once I became a mom.
I wanted to start an online business where I could succeed online while also being there for my children, but my fear of striking out simply would not allow it. I wanted a guarantee. I wanted to make sure that, before I started anything, there was a 100% chance everything would end up in a beautifully-wrapped package, tied with a shiny gold bow. But that’s just not how life works, is it?
Babe Ruth once said:
“Never keep the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”
I had stopped playing in the game of my own life. I’d become a spectator.
Do you ever feel like Fear has stopped you from being the major player in your own life?
I decided to make a change. I decided to face Fear and go for my dreams. In my case, that meant starting an online business that I could grow and love, all while still being at home with my beautiful little children.
True failure would only come if I never even attempted to go for my goals.
I’m still definitely working on it, but the progression and fulfillment I’m experiencing is well worth the discomfort of potentially not getting it right the first time, or having to overcome obstacles along the way.
Here are some tips that have definitely helped me in my path to taking deliberate action to overcome Fear and keep it from controlling my life.
- Identify Points of Fear – First, I need to know what exactly it is that is making me anxious or worried in my life.
Can you pinpoint exactly what it is that is holding you back from living more fully and achieving in your own life?
Pay attention to the times throughout the day that you feel fear and work to identify what has caused those emotions.
- Write Them Down – One of the most powerful ways I’ve found to release tension caused by my foe, Fear, is to write them down in a journal or even just a paper I can see easily on the fridge.
Recording these limiting fears and beliefs helps organize thoughts and make sense of them. It’s no longer just automatic thoughts with no words or names to back it up.
Write them down. Get them out.
- Make Deliberate Plans to Overcome Particular Fears You’re Experiencing – It’s likely that the fear you face will not just go away on its own. I know in my own experience, I have created absolute diehard habits in terms of the way I think about things.It comes very naturally now to see things in a less-than-optimistic light.
Because of this, I find it particularly helpful to make intentional plans of action to overcome particular fears I’m facing.I often focus on defeating one limiting fear at a time. (Baby steps, right? All about the baby steps.)
- Meditation and Positive Affirmations – I believe strongly that through simple meditation and repeating positive affirmations to yourself, you can break through the cycle of negative thought patterns.
You become more aware and mindful of the way your mind is automatically working. You are taking control of the reins and deliberately choosing positive thoughts over the all-too-easy fearful ones.
Are you ready to face Fear and go for a life you’ll truly love, whatever that means for you?
How will you start to overcome Fear today in your life?