Fear can be a catalyst for change. Not being the easiest of emotions to deal with, though when embraced it can change your life.
What do I mean by embraced? Fear is unconsciously felt as an unpleasant and negative emotion, albeit being vital to our survival. Fear protects us from being harmed when a threat is perceived – physical or emotional – leading us to the well-known “fight-or-flight” response. In other words, we face fear or avoid it. Whether being innate or not, I believe we can agree that fear cannot be just simply eradicated. This leaves us with two options: 1) Ignore the fear avoiding it at all costs and eventually succumbing to its power; or 2) Embrace fear by learning how to deal with it to our advantage.
Do not rush and decide on one option already. Keep reading until the end, give it a thought, sit with the idea for a couple of hours or days and then decide what you want to do with your fear.
We have established thus far that it is natural to fear. What may differ among us is what do we fear and how do we deal with it. Go ahead, grab a piece of paper and list all your fears. Do not hold back! There are no right or wrong answers. It does not matter if it feels small or big, it matters that it is significant to you. You can also write next to each fear what was the most predominant feeling. Similar feelings can be associated with different fears.
Now that you have written it down, take a few minutes and pick one of those fears from the list. Just one. Think about the last time you found yourself in a situation where that particular fear kicked in. Where were you? What were you doing? How were you feeling? What were your thoughts? Were you alone or was there someone next to you? How have you reacted? It can be helpful to write down the answers as by writing them you are releasing the tension – or whatever feeling you might be experiencing – allowing you to shift perspectives.
When you have finished writing it down, take a few minutes if you need. It might be that reliving the situation brought up past or new feelings and sensations. Sit with those feelings for a minute and then let go of them.
Back to your notebook or piece of paper, I want you to think about the same situation and visualize yourself facing that fear, embracing the fear. I’m not saying it is easy, I have done this exercise myself. Just bear with me a bit longer, it is worth it. Close your eyes if you feel it helps you visualizing it. In case you are more of a words person, you can write it down as you have been doing so far. What have you done differently? What were you thinking? How have you felt? What changed? What feelings are you experiencing right now?
When you embrace fear change happens. It can be that the future situation is completely different from the one you chose for this exercise. But what really matters is that YOU changed. You shifted your perspective, you allowed yourself to feel the fear – not eliminate or avoid it – and go through it.
Next time you start feeling controlled by your fears (whatever they are), take a moment to step back and try this approach. Play a successful outcome in your head, write it down, draw it – whatever works best for you – and embrace the fear. Knowing that you will come out stronger, more powerful and more confident to handle anything that comes you way. Fear is not a reason to feel defeated, rather an opportunity to learn and grow.