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Find the Fear, Then You Can Move Forward

Updated on February 4, 2020
denise.w.anderson profile image

Denise has struggled with mental illness most of her life. She also has family members with mental illness. She speaks from experience.

Fear leaves us feeling cold, empty, and alone.
Fear leaves us feeling cold, empty, and alone.

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Fear is real. It spreads its icy fingers around our hearts, freezing our hopes, immobilizing our dreams, and leaving our minds void of the ability to make conscious decisions about our own or our loved one's future.

Like winter at its peak, fear fills our souls with darkness and dread. We find ourselves bumped and bruised by the stalactites of insecurity, instability, and inadequacy. We dare not move, for if we slip and fall, we will take all we have worked for with us, swallowed up in an abyss of misery and despair!

Whether facing a Goliath that is trying to maim us or a monumental task that threatens to engulf our time and resources for the next decade, we have to find a way to move forward.

The steps to follow give us the momentum needed:

  1. Identify the fear
  2. Trace it to its roots
  3. Resolve it
  4. Move on

The paragraphs below discuss these steps and how to make them a reality.

Identify the fear

To identify our fear, we ask ourselves some questions.

What is happening?

Writing down what is happening in our lives at this very moment helps us see the situation from a different perspective. Oftentimes with fear, we have many layers of things going on without really realizing it.

We have to peel off the layers, just like an onion, and determine what is really at the core of the problem. Right now, we are immobilized. Why? What are the circumstances? Be specific by listing all significant aspects - date, time, place, people involved, and triggering events.

What am I thinking?

Once we write down what is happening, we can take a look at the thought patterns that are present. These thought patterns give us clues as to what the actual fears are. The table below lists some common fears that lead to us to feel that we cannot move forward. The thought patterns are shown in the column to the right of the fear.

Fear of inadequacy
I'm not good enough
Fear of failure
I'll never get it right
Fear of rejection
Nobody likes me
Fear of the unknown
I don't know what will happen
Fear of poverty
There will never be enough
Fear of illness
There is something wrong with me
Fear of death
What if something bad happens?

Have I experienced this in the past?

Once we understand the thought patterns that we are having, we can see why our actions are what they are. Fear tends to make us want to run away, hide, or cower rather than standing up and facing forward. Unfortunately, this type of action does not bring positive results.

When we look back at what we have experienced in our lives, we find instances where we faced similar difficulties, and the resulting consequences were less than pleasant. In order to move forward, we may have to get rid of some of the emotional baggage associated with these memories.

Our thoughts and feelings are integrally connected.
Our thoughts and feelings are integrally connected.

Trace the fear to its roots

Everything we experience is processed through our past before we react. This analysis happens in our subconscious mind, without any effort on our part. While it is happening, thoughts are being generated based on the results of the analysis.The following questions are being processed at lightening speed:

  • Has this happened to me before?
  • Was it a pleasant experience?
  • How did it get resolved?
  • What did I want to remember for the future?

Once our brain knows that we have experienced something similar in the past, it looks for the files from that incident and goes on to the next question.

If the experience was pleasant, then we feel comfortable moving forward with a positive response. If the incident was unpleasant, and we have memories that we would rather not repeat, we balk at the experience and try to avoid it, if at all possible.

The way the previous experience was resolved gives us information that will determine what we do in the present moment. If we were able to learn from the experience, we will know what not to do. If we didn't we will feel a sense of panic, and fear fills us, blocking our learning ability and immobilizing our logical reasoning. Before we know it, the dreaded experience has repeated itself, and we are left the victim of self-fulfilling prophecy.

Identifying the fear enables us to replace it with faith.
Identifying the fear enables us to replace it with faith.

Resolve the fear

In order to resolve the fear, we must identify the assumptions made as a result of our past experience. These assumptions are the seeds of the thoughts that are currently feeding our fears. In the table below, we see the list of assumptions in the left column.

The right column contains true statements we can use to refute the assumptions. These statements are known as "affirmations." The more we fill our minds with these simple truths, the more we are able to recognize and refute the assumptions that keep us from moving forward.

I'm not good enough
I am valued
I'll never get it right
I am able
Nobody likes me
I am loved
I don't know what will happen
I am strong
There will never be enough
I build
There is something wrong with me
I feel
What if something bad happens?
I am needed

Faith is required for the resolution of fear. Having faith in ourselves, believing that we are worthwhile people, that we have a higher purpose than what is readily evident by our earthly lives, and that there is a God in heaven who is our Father, who cares for us deeply, gives us the courage to move forward.

Fear is the motivation to call upon him, even in our darkest hour. Doing so exercises our faith in something beyond ourselves. We give ourselves a reason to believe, and the ability to move in a positive direction.

Move On

Moving on requires that we face our fear head on and step out into the darkness, trusting that, with God, things will work out for the best. We find that we have more faith, courage, and stamina than we originally thought, and God does his part to light our way.

Although our mind may be filled with the thoughts that feed our fear, as we refute them with the affirmations of faith, we receive confidence and strength. We find that there are others who, like us, fear the future. When they see us moving forward, they follow our example. They shed their doubts, worries, and fears, and find a sense of purpose because they have seen us do the same.

Our lives are so much more than what we experience in the immediate moment. There is an eternity of knowledge behind us, and the possibilities for our future go on forever. Realizing this, we can connect to the infinite power that is available to us and overcome the minuscule thoughts that threaten our security and stability.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Denise W Anderson


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