Dealing with Fear
Fear is the Enemy
Face Your Fears!
Fear is a negative force inside us which keeps us trapped within ourselves. It creates boundaries and limitations in our lives and prevents us from performing at our peak potential. It causes us to live within self imposed shackles from which we are reluctant to, or seemingly incapable of freeing ourselves.
Fear has its origin in varied sources and can be triggered by any number of circumstances, but chiefly, the more common fears that plague our daily lives are :
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of failure
- Fear of the past and fear of the future
- Fear of the unknown - Sometimes people are severely hampered from progressing because they fear to venture into the unknown. They are reluctant to come out of their comfort zone because out there looks dangerous, challenging, insecure.Many people lack the confidence required to step forth into territory which is considered to be dangerous particularly if they perceive themselves as being ill equipped to deal with the threat or danger which is said or perceived to exist there. They also lack the ability to distinguish between fear which is justified and therefore real, as opposed to fear which exists only in their perception. Their instinctive reaction, therefore, is to shy away from perceived danger/ discomfort or to slink back into the security of their comfort zone. Also, people sometimes lack the boldness and self confidence which are required to confront challenges head on. While they may recognize that there is a lot more that they can do by way of finding personal satisfaction and fulfillment, the fear of moving into unfamiliar terrain makes many people settle for less than they can be .
Indeed, fear causes people to miss God-sent opportunities; to ignore the fact that when the good Lord calls us to perform a task, he equips us with the means to succeed. Fear is not good when it keeps us from doing the things we ought to do and when it separates us from God who has promised to uphold us.
- Fear of failure - This is another reason for self imposed shackles. People are sometimes so afraid of failing that they refrain from even trying. Such people are generally lacking in self confidence and self esteem. They always feel that they are not intelligent enough, not strong enough, not skilled enough, not competent enough... They view everyone else as being more capable than themselves.The thought of failure should not cause fear. On the contrary, it should inspire one to work harder or to explore alternatives. When one experiences failure by using a particular route, method, formula or approach, one knows for sure that this should not be used again if success is to be achieved. Failure is therefore the end of one road and the signal to change direction and use a different route. People who are plagued with fear of failing usually prefer to work in the background even if it means carrying out the more onerous duties. They cringe at the prospect of being placed center- stage where attention would be directed towards them. They operate within a stranglehold of what-ifs. What if I disappoint my friends? What if I disgrace my family? What if people laugh at me? What if people discover that I am a fool ... and the list goes. They live in fear of being unable to live up to expectations, of losing their public image, of losing their reputation, of losing friends. The result is that they do all the hard work and others receive the glory and reward!
The obvious result of a life plagued with apprehension and anxiety is ill health. This means that often, people bring ill health upon themselves and the only cure is a mental makeover.
- Fear of the past and fear of the future - Here are some real fears which keep people prisoners for most of their lifetime. These two are usually interlinked particularly for those who allow their past to dominate their present and dictate their future. Unless people can learn to let the past be history, it is easy to allow themselves to become imprisoned by the mistakes of the past. When this happens they live in constant fear of discovery and exposure and are thus, unable to move on or grow. They keep looking backwards like fugitives on the run. The future is therefore, severely set back when people live in fear of having their mistakes come back to haunt them.
When you discover what your fears are run towards them one by one !
Handle Your Fear
- One approach to handle fear would be first to determine whether the fear comes from a threat which is real. For eg. If crossing the street at the traffic lights is a real threat then it should not be attempted. That out of the way, the next step is to identify or uncover the perceived threat or danger and confront it once and for all. This can certainly be difficult and may call for considerable determination, effort and perseverance, but whoever said that victory comes easily?
- Another approach would be to develop a new mindset towards challenges; to embrace them as opportunities for growth and improvement. This will certainly be daunting initially. However, gradually, with each new challenge, one will experience less trepidation until one grows into this new approach to handling fear.
There are so many fears that suffocate us and prevent us from being what we were truly meant to be .The only way out is to face your fears head on; run towards them rather than away from them and deal with them once and for all. At the end, whether you are successful or not you know where you stand in life and you have won victory over your fears.
When you confront your fears you might discover that they are unfounded after all
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