Fear is the greatest debilitating factor in our lives. It prevents us from fully exploring our potential, venturing into unfamiliar areas, meeting new people, standing up for our values; in short, living a full life. Many people consider they have a single fear that causes most of their worries, but, in fact, it could be a combination of different fears. Let’s look at a few fears that have had the greatest impact on people, and ways to overcome them.
Fear of failure
Often stemming, like other fears, from childhood trauma, a fear of failure strikes during the last stage of a challenge be it in sports, work, or family. The last hurdle just proves unbearable. The pressure is too much for the candidate to tolerate, and he or she buckles and falls down. The interesting thing about fear is that most of what we fear is made up inside our minds. The emotion is not omnipotent and something external. No, fear is within. And so we have a choice of not creating it.
Defining our fears makes them easier to control. In a Ted Talk, Tim Ferriss, the bestselling author, teaches us to write a fear checklist. Doing this helps define our fears to help us manage them more effectively. Make this an exercise. Take a piece of paper and divide it into 3 columns: your fears, what happens in the worst-case scenario, and what can be done about it. This list will show you what you are afraid of in reality, and what you miss out should you cave in to the fear.
Fear of the unknown
Many people fear the dark. They do not know what lurks in the shadows. They prefer not to think about it. They don’t know what they’ll do if their worst fears come to life. Would they be paralyzed or would they have the strength to confront it? This comes from our days of hunting, as the unknown wild was not safe to wander off into, and the close proximity of the known tribe ensured health and life.
Many people tend to live with multiple notions of how everything is supposed to be. The home, family, work — they have a built-in idea of how everything should work. They couldn’t stand it if it were otherwise. A change in the normal routine sends them into a frenzy. The excitement and a sense of adventure are what you need to cultivate during these times. Life is unpredictable. No matter how much we plan, it doesn’t need to work out that way. No matter how much we believe or visualize, some things never come to pass. That’s just the harsh reality of life.
Change your perspective. Let go. You should stop clutching onto familiarities with a death grip. To get rid of the fear of the unknown, step into the darkness and face your fear. Do something you have always feared to do. And you will soon realize that it was all just a facade.
Fear of time
Life is flowing by too fast nowadays. Everyone’s felt it, but how can that be true? Time is as it always has been, right? Maybe. Well, whatever the case, you can’t change that. Learn to accept things you cannot change. Chronophobia is the fear of the “passing of time.”
It is associated with the fear of whether you can achieve your goals and whether you are living the life you’ve always wanted, and if there is still time to make a change. An associated fear is the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
The symptoms of chronophobia include an increased heartbeat, shortness of breath, anxiety, vomiting, feeling faint, panic attacks in extreme cases, and difficulty in remembering things related to time. To overcome this fear, you must first focus on what you can control. Start a meditation practice. This will help calm your nerves and uplift your spirits. When you start getting grounded in reality, you should consider challenging yourself and increasing your tolerance limits. Slowly but surely, you will achieve calmness and serenity, and be capable of handling everyday situations with ease.
Identifying the root cause of your fears is the first step toward overcoming them. Face your fears, work on your strengths, increase your strengths, and don’t be shy to seek professional help.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt.