Understanding Fear: Strategies to Overcome Your Fear and Live in Peace

Understanding fear is the first step to living a life of courage

Understanding fear is the first step to living a life of courage.

Fear is one of four primary emotions that are common throughout all our lives, along with love, anger, happiness and sadness. But fear in all its forms, left unchecked, has the power to take over and dictate the actions of our lives.  

Over time, fear keeps us on the edge, and starts holding us back from living a full and meaningful life. As a result, we feel stuck, procrastinating, aborting ourselves constantly, putting a pause in our dreams. 

For instance, because of a fear of flying, we might miss great experiences, stopping ourselves from having experiences that will contribute to shaping our personalities and lifestyles. 

In the same way, when we are unaware of a fear of intimacy, we prevent ourselves from having loving and caring friends, and intimate relationships, because we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable. 

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When fear takes over life, happiness is difficult.

When we live constantly in fear, anxious and worried about the future, unable to take risks or make decisions without feeling overwhelmed, happiness becomes difficult. 

Keep reading to learn more about your fear and tools to work with. 

Red flags you are living in fear 

People can experience fear in different forms. And fear can also be positive. For example, if you sense danger, instinctively fear helps recognize what you can do to be safe. 

However, when we experience chronic fear, we could experience:

  • Paralysis is an indicator that we have been experiencing chronic anxiety and fear for an extended period of time. This may happen when you feel lost or stuck with a choice or situation. 
  • Perfectionism is nothing but a protection we learn growing up. As children, we learn this tactic to avoid rejection. But as adults, perfectionism will prevent us from being vulnerable and creating deep connections.  
  • In addition, perfectionists are often procrastinators, overly self-critical and can feel like they never measure up to their own standards, leading to feelings of failure, depression, and low self-esteem.  

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins says perfectionism is a lower standard because it can never be archived.

  • Procrastination is a big red flag and a classic sign that we are living in fear. It is not even about procrastination. It is about the denying of self. As a result, we keep postponing our goals for “ when we have more time” or tomorrow, or whatever excuse we find. 
  • Accepting less than we deserve is another sign you are living in fear, and also that you do not trust in what you can offer. Therefore we end up being unmotivated, living a life that lacks enthusiasm and excitement.
  • Numbing or dissociation is a way we deflect having to face stressful situations and difficult truths. We dissociate to cope with fear, anxiety, and sadness. 

How to start living without fear now.

If we have been experiencing anxiety for an extended period of time, to a point that it is taking over our lives, influencing everything that we feel, think and do. You are trapped in a vicious circle of frustration. Take a deep breath and don’t let it take over.

Understanding our fear can help us to better manage them and make informed decisions about how to respond to them.

  1. Getting to know the fear 

Fear has been with us for a long time, for the most part, probably we tried to avoid or deflect the fear, but instead, get to know it even better and pay close attention to its qualities. Start experiencing it from a place of curiosity and compassion. 

  1. Notice when the anxiety appears

Take a piece of paper and write the situations and people that trigger the anxiety.

For instance: we can start asking these questions: Am I afraid of disappointing others? Am I afraid of intimacy? Am I afraid of embarrassing myself? Am I afraid of public speaking? Do I fear being disliked?

When we notice what resonates with us and start writing them down, it gives us a sense of control. Then list a couple of things you can do next time you find yourself in the same situation. 

Also, spend some time reflecting on the roots of fear. It is very possible it goes all the way back to your earlier experiences and have been with you since then. 

This helps us start creating an emotional tool repertoire.

 As we start understanding our fear, the less chances it will control us.

3.  Getting out of our comfort zone. 

While avoiding difficult situations may seem like a good idea, and certainly work in the short term, avoiding them will definitely prolong inevitable pain. Ultimately, we are teaching the brain and body that we can’t deal with fear. 

That is to say, we will experience fear even when we are relaxed on the beach because the body does not know how to differentiate if there is real danger or not. If it feels danger, it will act to defend.  

Similarly,  the body won’t relax because it does not know it can. Because we have been teaching it to protect.

Therefore avoidance of discomfort and danger ultimately creates more discomfort and more danger

To overcome this, we can start creating situations in which we can gradually experience our fear and anxiety.

This will elevate our relationship with fear and anxiety, strengthening emotional muscles, in addition, it will give a little direction and teach us that yes we can. 

One of my teachers says that personal power is feeling fear, but not giving up to fear. 

So go ahead, and say hi to that someone you have been waiting to ask on a date. Don’t like your coworkers?  Ask how they are. Don’t like asking for help? Go ahead and ask anyway. Have you been putting off the gym? Go to the gym for 20 min.

If it feels strange and straight up awkward, good job! It is working. Reflect on what you have found by journaling or meditating.

To sum up, fear is there to teach us something, and the more you sit with it, it will start showing us opportunities instead of obstacles.

A question to ponder:

What  I understand about my fear is…?


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