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Why Should You Fear? How to Overcome Fear Once and For All

Updated on January 18, 2012
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Unlearning Fear

Karl Menninger, American psychiatrist once said,

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”

If you think about it, most of the fears that we hold in our life right now are due to conditioning from past experiences and the people around us. When we were born, we were blank slates with no fear, no limiting beliefs. If you’ve been fortunate enough to observe a baby in its daily activities, I’m sure you’ve noticed how absolutely fear-free they are. When a toddler gets up to start walking, he doesn’t think, “Oh my God, will I make it?” or “Oh man, I’m not gonna do this because I’m scared,” or “Gosh, what if I fail?” Babies don’t even take a second to think about baseless limiting thoughts such as these. They just leap for what they want without fear. We used to be like this when we were babies! As we grew up, we allowed things our people around us said to develop unfounded fears within us. These fears were educated into us, and therefore, if you decide, you can as well reverse them out. Getting rid of fear is simpler than you think. Whenever you are confronted by fear, just calmly and rationally reflect over the following, which will help you overcome fear;

Consider the worst-case scenario. Overcome fear by considering the worst-case scenrio. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Say your fear is public speaking. You have a speech scheduled in 3 days. Although you have all the skills and capabilities to give a good speech, you are extremely nervous and anxious, and most of all scared. At this point, ask yourself, why should you be scared anyway? It’s not a life-threatening situation, is it? What’s the worst that could happen? Are you going to spontaneously combust on stage? Of course not! Most of our fears are based on wild assumptions of things that might happen. A deranged terrorist getting up and shooting you down with a rifle?

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Stop thinking about what ‘other people’ think. Once you stop caring about what other people think, you overcome fear almost instantaneously. Ever heard of the saying,

“Nobody who cares minds; nobody who minds cares.”

Think about that statement for a minute. There’s a lot of truth in it, isn’t there? Let’s go back to the public speaking scenario. Let’s say as you’re walking up the stage, you trip on the microphone wire. The crowd starts laughing. But seated in that crowd is your Dad, who cares about you – he’s not going to mind that you tripped because such things don’t matter to him. Then let’s say there’s this strange teenage-kid with zits on his face still bawling over laughing at how you tripped over the wire. Does he care about you? No! So why should you mind what he thinks? You need to stop worrying over what others think of you. People have their own problems and lives to worry about. Trust me, they won’t spare more than 30 seconds thinking about you. This is very true! I mean, really, how many times did you think about someone who embarrassed himself in public the other day? None at all, right? You have your own issues to worry about. Well, the same applies vice versa. Trust me, no one sits around all day thinking about what a fool you made of yourself last month. They’ve moved on…and so should you! Internalizing this concept will help you overcome fear.

Do you really want it? Fine, if your fear is really great, then give yourself a break and don’t do the thing that you’re afraid of. You want to start your own business but you’re afraid of failure? Fine, don’t start your own business. Keep trudging at your job, that you loathe every day. Continue being miserable and unsatisfied. Wait, what’s that you’re saying? You don’t want to die miserably at your job and you absolutely want to kick-start your own business and be your own boss? It sounds to me that you really want this thing and yet you have a great fear of it. I have seen countless people in this same situation. Bill Cosby is quoted as saying,

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."

Sure, you really want it – but you’re afraid of it at the same time. At this point, I want you to decide once and for all that your desire to achieve something is greater than your fear for it. This will enable you to put behind your fear and work towards taking positive action to achieve your goals. This is also a great step to overcome fear.

Just do it! So you’ve decided you really want to lose some of that excess weight you’ve been carrying around for years. But every time you get on the treadmill, you hear the cheesecake in the refrigerator calling your name. Instead of you getting down and running for the cheesecake, tell yourself that you’re just going to burn 30 minutes on the treadmill. Summon up your will power and sheer determination and…just do it! Afraid of walking into a room with a live and loud party crowd? Don’t even think about it any further! Just walk into the room. Just do it! Want to overcome fear once and for all? Don't even think twice about how afraid you are - just do it!

Don’t be afraid to fail. You’d be amazed at how many people are afraid of failure. Fear of failure is what is keeping so many brilliant ideas from coming into fruition. It’s what is stopping so many people from reaching their true potential. I have actually failed a couple of times in my life, and to my surprise, the sky didn’t come crashing down, and I was still alive, breathing. Failing is not the end of the world. In fact failing will help you learn valuable lessons in Life. You'd also be amazed at how many times successful people have failed. I’m sure you’ve heard the story of Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, he’s famous for his quote:

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

That’s right. Never let fear of failure stop you from pursuing your dreams. If you fail, it’s not going to affect anyone. Go forth with strength and determination. This is how you will overcome fear. Let your passion and intuition drive you. Trudge forward without a glimmer of fear and you’ll surprise yourself.

Who are you NOT to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Lastly I’d like to leave with a famous quote from “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles" by Marianne Williamson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

Thank you for successfully reaching the end of this article! Following the tips listed out in this article could help you overcome fear. Do you have any tips to overcome fear? Feel free to share in the comments section below! If you found this article helpful (hopefully you did!), please feel free to vote up and useful.

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great hub on not letting fear interfere with your dreams. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Farra 5 years ago

      Hey, these tips are awesome, thanks a lot! Being afraid to fail is truly one of the great hindrances for a person to reach his fullest potential. Deal your fear issues by listening to life coaching expert Marie Forleo by checking out his video http://marieforleo.com/2011/08/fear-intuition-diff...

    • Rehana Stormme profile image
      Author

      Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

      @ Somethgblue - Great to know that you got a full time job doing what you love! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the compliments!

      @ Andre - Thank you for reading and leaving a comment! I'm so glad that you shared your story and it is a very heartening and inspiring one! Facing your fears head on without fretting and worrying about what may go wrong is a very important part of overcoming fear. Thanks once again for reading this article!

    • profile image

      Andre 5 years ago

      Whatever the fear, face it HEAD ON! Trust me, I know. I was diagnosed with emphysema 25 years ago and refused to accept it- disappeared, Kidney stones-gone, Blind in both eyes-full vision in both eyes now. Diabetes 2 and lower leg amputation- off medication. You have one life appreciate it and prolong it as far as possible. No one was ever promised a pain free life as far as I know.

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 5 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Your getting good, right on it is so cool to watch people grow and overcome fears even if it is just the fear of letting go and being your true self.

      Everyone has doubts and fears but all you can do is the best you can. No matter how far you run from yourself there you are.

      They hired me full time at my graphic job, here I was fearing unemployment and I just did the best I could do and they ended up hiring me full time.

      God helps those that help themselves!

      Great Hub!

    • Rehana Stormme profile image
      Author

      Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

      @ Jeff - Thank you for taking the time to read the article above! A growing number of people are suffering from severe anxiety disorder and I have read that this is closely linked to foods. As you may know food is being increasingly 'contaminated' by chemical additives such as aspartame and fluoride (in bottled water). Knowing which foods are likely to trigger anxiety may help you keep your anxiety under control.

      Of course, a large part of overcoming anxiety lies within your mind as well, and I am glad that this article was of help to you. Thank you once again for your comment! I hope to be hearing from you again.

    • Jeff Hileman profile image

      Jeff Hileman 5 years ago

      I suffer from sever Anxiety. So much so that it reaches the point of near Agoraphobia. Which rare for a man. If you have ever watched the movie "Copy Cat" When Sigourney Weaver tries to leave her house. They show her perspective And its very realistic. So thank you for your work. Every little bit helps.

    • Rehana Stormme profile image
      Author

      Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

      @ jeanster - Thank you for commenting. Hope this article was of help!

    • profile image

      jeanster 5 years ago

      welldone on a good hub, I think a majority of us all have a fear of fear.

    • Rehana Stormme profile image
      Author

      Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

      @ Debby Bruck - Thanks for your input!

    • Rehana Stormme profile image
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      Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

      @ Zzron - Thanks for leaving a comment! We need to constantly remind ourselves that we have great potential because it's easy to forget in a world full of negativity. :)

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 5 years ago

      Dear Rehana ~ Very well said and very encouraging to many. I just want to add one little bit - "Nature" - each of us have some in-born hereditary tendencies, which we can overcome to a great extent. But, we have certain weaknesses that will crop up over time due to particular stresses. Blessings, Debby

    • zzron profile image

      zzron 5 years ago from Houston, TX.

      This was a really awesome message of encouragement and motivation. We all need to believe in ourselves and practice living up to our full potential. Great advice.

    • Rehana Stormme profile image
      Author

      Rehana Stormme 5 years ago

      @ brakel2 - Thanks for reading and commenting. You're right, we must not allow external factors around us that we can't control such as economic conditions, to affect our love and confidence in ourselves. Thanks for stopping by.

    • brakel2 profile image

      Audrey Selig 5 years ago from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

      This hub is WOW. Such powerful words to lead people out of fear. Our country and its people are so afraid, but we must step forward and stop shaking in out boots.

      The state of the economy or the debt or a thousand other things must not take away our love and peace and confidence in ourselves. Your article is well organized and leads up to a climax. Your words of wisdom are appreciated. Thanks for sharing.