Fear is something that I am incredibly familiar with as I grew up with a lot of it. Not necessarily the fear of harm or anything like that, but the fear of being judged and the fear of never being good enough.
I was never really an overachiever growing up. I didn’t have much hope for the road ahead or that I would ever achieve anything substantial. As a way to prevent myself from experiencing fear, I would spend a lot of time by myself locked in my room either playing video games or on the computer where I would be safe.
It’s not that I didn’t have goals. I wanted what everyone else my age wanted. I wanted to have a girlfriend, to excel in sports, and to be one of the “cool kids,” but my fears would always hold me back.
To some extent, my fears still do hold me back. Just like everybody else, there are still some things I struggle with more than others. I still have fears when it comes to dating and relationships. I still have fears that I may get into work one day and get told that I am getting let go. I still have fears that my life could start reverting back to how it used to be and I could become depressed and an emotional wreck again.
All of these things still pass through my mind every so often.
But with that being said, I will also say that I have definitely improved when it comes to being able to overcome my fears. Day by day, I am slowly, but surely improving. Am I perfect when it comes to being able to overcome and manage my fear and anxiety? Far from it. But I also don’t allow my fears to limit me as much as I used to.
That’s why today, I want to talk about what is fear, why we experience fear, and how to overcome fear and anxiety within our lives.
What is Fear?
Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger that has been pivotal throughout the evolution of time. Think back all the way to our ancestors. If they didn’t feel fear and have fear on their side, they wouldn’t have been able to protect themselves from legitimate threats—some of which had life-or-death consequences.
Even in life today we need to feel fear. Fear can help us decide what is right and what is wrong. It can tell us how close we are to the limits of our comfort zone. It can also help to give us some guidance and direction.
Where we often go wrong with our fears, is that we allow our fears to act as our limits and boundaries. Once we start to feel this sense of fear, instead of trying to push past our boundaries and break through our comfort zone, we begin to pull back and revert back to what’s comfortable and our old habits.
Sometimes this can be beneficial. In the case of our ancestors, it could have been lifesaving. But in the modern day, allowing our fears to act as our limits generally only stops us from growing into wiser and stronger individuals. Without ever being able to break out of our comfort zone and trying new things, we are simply never going to grow into the individuals we aspire to become.
How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety
First, when it comes to fear and anxiety, it’s important to know that they are nothing but emotions. They are emotions just like anger, frustration, depression, happiness, confidence, excitement, resentment, etc.
A common misconception when it comes to emotions is that they are often experienced as the result of the outside world. What I mean by that is when we feel any of these emotions, we tend to think that the outside world is the cause or is being impacted by these emotions.
That simply just isn’t the case.
All of these emotions live within the walls of our minds. While outside events can trigger anxiety and fear, they are not responsible for you experiencing them. Anytime you put something outside of your control and let the outside world control your emotions, you are giving up all power and ability to change them.
With that being said, I want to share with you 3 things that help me to overcome my fear and anxiety.
1. Take Responsibility
I think the first step to overcome your fear and anxiety is to take responsibility for your life and where you are in life. This isn’t to say that everything that has happened to you in life is your fault or that you could have prevented it, but it’s about accepting what has happened and how you let something impact you.
Without taking responsibility for your part in something or your perception at a bare minimum, you are never going to be able to fully move on.
Start accepting everything that has happened for what it is. Instead of saying “but it’s not my fault” start saying “it may not be my fault, but I am accepting my role and how I choose to perceive it so that I can move on.”
Yeah, it’s not always easy, especially when you feel like life constantly stacks up against you. But if you really want to move forward and overcome your fear and anxiety, you need to be willing to accept responsibility for everything so that you can truly let go.
2. Ask Yourself Why
Ask yourself why. Find the true root of your fear and anxiety so that you can overcome them.
One of the reasons why I allow my fears to stop me is because I don’t want to fail. From there, I’ll just keep asking myself why.
Why don’t I want to fail? Because I don’t want to be seen as a failure.
Why don’t I want to be seen as a failure? Because I don’t want others to look at me differently.
Why do I care how others look at me? Because I remember what it was like to be the outcast.
Why do I care about being an outcast? Because I want to “fit in.”
From there, you can really begin to dissect your emotions. Once you get to the root of your emotions, then you can begin to ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is it worth it to stop yourself from succeeding just so you can be accepted by others? Is never failing really more important to you than finding what it takes to succeed?
Everybody is going to respond differently to these questions, but if you want to overcome your fear and anxiety, ask yourself why and begin to challenge you why.
3. Focus On Your Goals
Goal setting is an important step to finding success in life.
There are going to be days where you are feeling motivated and ready to go, and then there are going to be days where all of your fears show up and it feels as though you’re climbing a mountain.
You’re not always going to be motivated, but that’s where having your goals laid out in front of you is going to be beneficial.
When we allow our fears to take over, we seemingly forget what our goals are. But when you have them laid out in front of you, you’re going to be constantly reminded of what’s important to you.
Is it more important to allow your fears to stop you from living the life you desire of having, or is it more important to you to work towards your goals so that you can live the best life possible?
When you have your goals laid out in front of you, you are going to have an easier time keeping sight of what’s actually important to you instead of allowing your fears to stop you.
Before You Go
Overcoming fear takes practice and patience. Practice every day, and continue to practice until you start seeing positive results.
When you learn how to overcome anxiety and fear, you not only change your thoughts and emotions, but you will also find that other areas of your life begin to transform as well. The roadblocks you faced before will slowly but surely begin to disappear and your life will begin to improve significantly.