By Cindy Clemens,
Fears are the negative and scary emotional responses we feel in our hearts and in our guts. Some of the most common things that people are afraid of are: failure, rejection, disapproval, poverty, intimacy and, of course, death. Specific activities can also be the source of fears such as public speaking, flying or talking to new people. Fears may be passed down from our parents, the result of childhood trauma, or the result of negative life experiences. In the extreme, they manifest as crippling phobias that require treatment from trained professionals.
Below are my strategies for conquering fears:
- Get to Know Your Fears: The most important step in dealing with your fears is to get to know them. You will be able to take away a large amount of their hold over you when you recognize them and choose not to embrace the lies they whisper into your heart. This process of recognizing your fears involves knowing the following information about each one of your fears:
- When does it come to you?
- What does it say?
- What other voices does it use?
- What memories does it drag up?
- What is the core fear - the fear that is behind most of the other fears?
- Starve Your Fears & Feed Your Dreams: Notice how much time you are allowing yourself to dwell in the place of fear and worry. It is amazing how much time during the day can be spent in the fear zone. Try limiting yourself to twenty minutes a day. Set a timer and let yourself do all the fretting and worrying you want to. Really give it a go — come up with your juiciest fears and wallow in them for a full twenty minutes. Then, for the rest of the day, when you are tempted to go back into the fear zone, stop yourself and remember that you can revisit that concern tomorrow during your twenty-minute worry segment.
Spend at least equal time feeding your dreams. The key is to spend at least as much time immersed in your exciting dreams, passions and pursuits as you do with the negative and destructive fears. Since you are now paying attention to how much time you are spending with your fears, you will know how much time you need to spend feeding your dreams.
- Play the "What-If" Game: A final tool you may want to use in managing your fears is to play the "what-if" game. Keep asking yourself what would happen if your fear really came about. I have found that so often our fears seem so much worse to us than they are in reality. The worst case scenario would not be anywhere close to the way you had imagined it.