If you can accept fear as an inevitable, natural response to change, you can more easily embrace new life experiences and challenges
Whether we like it or not, fear is a big part of our lives.
Historically, fear was a necessary part of human evolution — it’s utility in helping us survive was paramount. But in our current reality, there are very few things that we genuinely need to be afraid of in the true sense of being in danger.
Fear of being embarrassed, fear of making a mistake, or being vulnerable are not things we need to keep us alive.
That type of fear is not serving us. In fact, it hurts us by dissuading us from taking action.
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Once we understand that fear is caused by a belief, we can gain some sense of control or leverage into it by examining the cause.
The human brain will always try to protect us and keep us safe. It will signal you to not write that book, put yourself out there, start that business, ask that girl out, and so on. But in those cases, there is no real potential danger, just the possibility of not meeting your expectations, thereby setting you up to experience a negative emotion.
Don’t get me wrong: fear is still useful in certain situations where actual danger is present. It’s healthy to be afraid of stepping into moving traffic or walking in a dark alley. However, most of the time that we feel afraid, we aren’t in any type of danger. What we are afraid of is the discomfort of a negative emotion. But almost everything worth doing or having will require facing unpleasant emotions.
Courage doesn’t exist without fear; if you want to develop courage, you have to expose yourself to things that feel scary.
If you aren’t experiencing fear and are mostly comfortable, chances are you’re not asking enough of yourself. You’re coasting. The future will always be scary because the next stage for anything in your life will always be unknown.
That’s why I encourage you to do it scared! I encourage you to expect the discomfort, expect the pain, and most importantly, have compassion. When you are afraid of being rejected or when you are afraid of failing, acknowledge that what you are feeling is normal and understand that your brain is doing what it was designed to do.
When you go to the gym for the first time — or start learning a new language or trying any new skill for the first time — assume that it is going to be uncomfortable. On your path to success, whether your goal is big or small, when you feel fear and discomfort creeping in, rather than retreating from it, move towards it. Push past the fear and do it scared!
I will leave you with this anonymous quote:
Fear is never visible to the eye but sharply felt in the heart. Fear is the father of despair, brother of procrastination, the enemy of progress. Born of ignorance and nursed on misguided thought, fear darkens more hopes, stifles more ambitions, shatters more dreams than anything else in history. The only way to overcome it is to understand it. Fear has no power but what the human mind gives it. If you have the courage to acknowledge your fears, you will be taking the first steps toward controlling them instead of them controlling you. And if you take the next step toward understanding your fears, you will be able to move past them altogether.
You may also enjoy reading Overcoming Overthinking | 6 Tips For Calming Your Monkey Mind by Chloe Brotheridge