Fear is a killer of hopes, dreams, souls, and lives wanting to be lived.
Once upon a time I was a very fearful person. I was afraid of my own shadow and if anyone said anything to me I would cower off into a corner, paralyzed. I was afraid to even acknowledge I existed for fear of ridicule or criticism.
I attribute my being a fearful person to my childhood, where I grew up in a house with a father who was a violent alcoholic, and a mother who was emotionally unavailable. We were made fun of, criticized, told to shut up and made to feel stupid almost every day of our lives.
I carried the impact of my childhood into my adult life. My childhood fears became the adult fear of not showing my true self for fear of being unloved because of who I really was.
It wasn’t until I turned 50 that I met my fears head on. I had done a few fearless things before that, but they were usually what others wanted me to do. The real movement with facing my fears was when my fear of forever being lost overcame my fear of moving forward.
What is the impact of fear on your life? Fear keeps you from living your life. Period. New experiences, new adventures, new people are all aspects of life that keep us moving forward and creating a life we love.
What are you afraid of? There are many reasons you may be afraid to pursue something. Fear of rejection, ridicule, criticism, failure, and even success. Getting the root of this issue will help you develop techniques to work through these fears.
Figuring out what is at the root of your fear may take some time. Look back to your past to see what incidents might have caused this fear. Were you shamed or rejected as a child or adolescent? Have you failed at something once before and just can’t face failing again?
Visualize the absolute worst that can happen. My absolute worst is always ending up as a homeless bag lady. However, that has never happened.
Also, what is the absolute best that can happen? This is a way to reframe the conversation and be positive. I always look at the positive outcomes of a new experience now, before considering the negative. (If I do at all.)
Start small. When you succeed at one thing, you can confidence and are more likely to move forward.
See “failure” as the path to success. When you take a look at the reasons for failure you can make better decisions on moving forward. Also, it keeps you from tossing all plans out the window because you failed once.
However, the only way to really conquer the fear is to face it. Get off the couch and do that thing you are afraid of. I have found when I do face the fear, it’s not as scary on the other side. You can plan, surmise what may or may not happen, and write a book on why you are fearful, but none of it is worth anything, until you actually face that fear.
Shelly is a personal development strategist and founder of The Rescue Yourself Project helping women over 40 step into their unique selves so they can create a life they love! A few years ago, she found herself living a life that wasn’t of her making. Deciding that wasn’t what she wanted she ran away from home and spent eight months “re-branding” herself. Today Shelly helps women find their unique selves by becoming experts about their values, strengths, passions, goals and purpose so they can design a life they love.