It is important to recognize that fear is one of many emotions we experience. The type of fear that keeps us imprisoned is based on what might happen at some future time. “I might fail. I might look stupid. I might be rejected.” When something we fear is avoided it will increase the amount of control this emotion has over our actions and our lives. The longer we avoid doing something, the more fear we have of doing it. This avoidance has a negative effect on self esteem and can also affect other parts of our lives. Avoiding the things we fear can be based on a belief of not being good enough…this is simply not true. There can be a snowball effect further inhibiting our ability to have a full and rewarding life. Therefore, the first step in overcoming a fear is to recognize that it is just a feeling and based on some imagined threat.
The second step is to challenge the validity of the fear and what real harm if any would result in facing what we fear. We tend to think of the worst possible outcome. That is highly unlikely to happen. Focusing on how facing the things you fear might improve your life or enable you to reach your goals is extremely helpful. For example: If you have social anxiety, introducing yourself to someone you are attracted to would give you the opportunity to know that person. Allowing your fears to control your behavior will be another missed opportunity to have what you want in your life.
Finally, avoid as much of the anticipator fear as possible. When you are facing the thing you fear, acknowledge and even embrace your fear. It is normal to experience some anxiety when doing something for the first time or something we believe to have risks. Trying to repress or ignore an emotion can increase its intensity. Be in the moment and do not judge your feelings. The more often you engage in an activity you fear, the less anxiety provoking it will become.
We are all capable of accomplishing so much more than we can imagine. Overcoming a fear enables us to have the confidence to tackle other challenges. It improves feelings of self worth and self esteem. It gives us the opportunity to have more of things we want in our lives and to improve the quality of our lives.