What is fear and how do we overcome it?

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Any human who ever lived on this planet had fears. Some are small things, some are bigger and of course our particular levels and reactions make a great deal of difference. The important thing though is how or even whether we address what we fear.

I recently lost a friend of more than 25 years. She was 58. She had many fears and as the years progressed they had greater impact on her as well as those closest to her. In the end the fear that might most have directly affected her death was the fear of wearing her c-pap machine at night. A few years back she had a couple small seizures leading to a stroke. At the time the doctors told her if she didn’t wear the machine it would likely happen again and would lead to either significant disability or death.

I tried to talk her through it. She happened to love the beach so I suggested she put it on, close her eyes, breathe deeply and think of the ocean sights, sounds and smells.

She couldn’t get past it though and ultimately it was exactly as predicted by the doctors. She had a series of seizures over several weeks that led to her passing. She left behind many people who love and miss her because of a fear of something that for many is a regular part of life.

F – alse

E – vidence

A – ppearing

R – eal

There are a few things that can help when approaching something that scares you.

  1. The first is consider what will happen if I don’t confront this. In her case it was death. If you are facing a fear at work it might be that you don’t get a raise, don’t get promoted, get fired or maybe just have to live with knowing you are considered unreliable or not a team player. If it is in a relationship it might be a fight or possibly losing that person all together. Or it might mean simply but tragically leading an unfulfilled life.
  2. The next is to consider what is the worst thing that happens if I confront it and fail. Well, it could be that all those other things will still happen, but maybe you get credit for trying and at least the worst outcomes don’t happen or in her case your loved ones aren’t left forever wondering if you had just tried if you would still be around.
  3. Finally, consider what might happen if you tackle it, overcome it and learn a new skill.

I can tell you for sure what happens in the last case. You are proud of yourself. Those who care about and depend on or look up to you are proud. You get an amazing feeling of self reliance and empowerment. And each time you do that the feelings grow ten fold. Eventually you develop the invaluable attitude there is nothing in this world you can’t do.

Certainly we all have physical, mental, age limitations etc. but they are almost never as significant as we make them out to be.

I’m not sure when I first began facing my fears and believing I could have anything I wanted. And believe me there are still times I have doubts. But the best thing in the world for me is for someone to suggest I can’t do it. Because one thing I don’t do is allow anyone else to dictate my life and I love a challenge so if you tell me I can’t, I work that much harder to see that I do.

The thing about our fears is that they are almost never as difficult or frightening in the end as we thought. So many times we tackle something and on the other side say “Wow, that wasn’t as bad as I expected.” Or even better yet “Wow, that was fun. Let’s do it again!”

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “Do one thing every day that scares you”. Imagine even if you did a couple things a week how strong and empowered you would be in no time.

For other quotes and songs to help motivate you and get you through your week Click here.

In the meantime take a look at your life and consider what most you might like to be different and what fear you would have to confront to change it. Then start taking the steps to getting yourself there. Even if it means taking a friend with you or just doing research into the particular experience to make yourself better educated.

 

 

 

 

This video was taken 10/8/15 a week and a half after my 49th birthday. This is my first time ever in a boxing ring as well as the first time ever being punched or punching someone else. I almost chickened out, but I knew I can’t ask others to challenge their boundaries if I don’t challenge my own. It was an incredibly empowering and life affirming experience even if it did point out I have a lot to learn about boxing…

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