How to Face Your Fears
Fear is something that is learned. As children, we are naturally curious. We are cautious but willing to learn as much as we can about the world around us. We become fearful once we have been hurt, physically, mentally or emotionally.
Often times, fear comes from hearing others recount their experiences. For many people fear becomes their guiding compass, keeping them from experiencing many of the things they feel are too dangerous or frightening to try. When we live in fear, we not only deprive ourselves of unique learning experiences, we also keep a part of ourselves hidden from others. In essence, fear is what we make it. It can also define how we present ourselves to others.
Fear Is Binding
Fear is binding. It limits our experiences and can alter our perception of the world around us. If a person is taught to fear certain things or activities, they usually avoid them. If a person has had a traumatic experience, such as being mugged or attacked, fear can prevent them from revisiting the area of the attack, going outside at night or anytime they feel they are vulnerable. Even though the fear may be restrictive, it does not have to permanently control a person or their actions. In some cases, fear can be paralyzing. The binding nature of this type of fear may require counseling to overcome, but in the end, the person will be able to understand where the fear comes from and what is the best way to face the fear and eventually conquer it.
Fear Controls Our Actions
Fear can also control how a person reacts to certain events. Understanding where the fear comes from can help a person gain control of their responses and learn to face things as they occur. If a person has had bad experiences in the past, such as losing a home to foreclosure, they may not be willing to risk that type of loss again. Their fear of losing another home may be too great and dictate how they respond to the question of either buying a home or renting an apartment. A person can continue to let the fears of the past control how they react to present situations or, they can learn the lessons offered by the past experience and move forward armed with new information that can help them make an informed decision.
Facing Fears Head On
As long as a person allows their fears to control them, they will remain stagnant. Moving forward will be difficult because they will always follow the path that offers the least amount of confrontation. Learning to face fears head on will open up new avenues of growth. It can be difficult to overcome strong fears. Uncovering the cause of the fear and identifying situations in which that type of fear may be present is one way of addressing the cause. If the fear has to do with being overwhelmed or overpowered by someone or something, the key is finding a way to become empowered. This will give the person additional strength that they can draw from as they face their fears head on. It is important to learn as much as possible about what causes a particular fear. Once that has been determined, the person must find ways to overcome each possible cause.
Embracing Fear As a Challenge
One of the ways to face fear is to embrace it as a challenge. Knowing what causes the fear gives the person a chance to learn a valuable lesson, not only about themselves, but the world around them. Fear can be embraced as a powerful learning tool. The fear offers the person a lesson about a weakness they have. How they handle the situation offers them a lesson about their individual strength. Each person must dig deep inside themselves to find what strengths they may possess. For some people, that task is easier than others.
Psychologists are constantly telling people to face their fears, but most don’t tell a person exactly how to accomplish that feat. If a person only faces their fear, they may not fully understand why they were afraid in the first place. Instead of just attacking fear head on, embracing the fear will help them to discover the problem at its source. Learning what caused the fear originally may provide a person with the resources to overcome the fear once and for all.
Letting Go of Restrictions
Fear can restrict the way we think and feel about many different things. Some fear change, while others fear that they will always be the same and never grow. Letting go of self imposed restrictions is the first step in freeing ourselves of fear. While a little fear is healthy, too much fear can cause us to remain in the same place without any degree of growth. If a person frees themselves of the fear and restrictions that keep them stuck in one place, they can learn and grow about anything they choose. Learning to cope with the fear that sometimes accompanies trying new things will help a person move past the obstacles they may face and encourage them to continue moving forward, no matter how scary or frightening a situation may be.
Many people restrict themselves because they have been told by others that they cannot accomplish a certain goal. Instead of trying to achieve the goal, they admit failure before they ever begin because they fear disappointing the other person or proving them right. Fear of failure can be overwhelming and is one of the biggest restrictions we impose on ourselves. One of the most important lessons to be learned about failure, is that the only way to truly fail is to stop trying to succeed. Most inventors, including Thomas Edison, had many failures before they achieved their greatest successes.
Fear is a state of mind. It is a natural response to a harrowing experience. When dealing with fear, the most important thing is putting it into perspective and learning the many lessons it has to offer us. Without fear, we would not know limits. The key is learning to use those limits as guideposts. Although we may fear something, we can overcome the fear and grow into a stronger, more powerful person if we take the lessons that are offered to us and use them as learning experiences that will help us move forward. Every person will handle fear differently. Some will laugh. Others may cry. Understanding our reactions to a fearful experience will give us the tools to overcome it and convert a weakness into a strength.