We are all afraid of something. Actually, I think we’re all afraid of a bunch of things.
Some people are afraid of bugs, water, driving, or open spaces. Some are afraid of loud noises. Some people are afraid of doing tasks wrong. Some are afraid of disapproval. And others are afraid of being alone.
I’m afraid of other people judging me. I’m afraid of being hurt, and of hurting others. I’m afraid of missing out. I’m afraid of failure and I’m afraid of trying, because it may lead to failure.
We all have fears.
We’ve all heard it before, but I’ll say it again. It is important to face those fears.
But what does it even mean to face fear, to overcome it? What does that even look like?
First, it is important to understand that fear is malignant. It spreads. It affects other areas of your life. If you’re afraid of one thing, you’ll be afraid of other things. For example, if you’re afraid of driving in the city, then you’ll also be afraid of talking to new people. If you’re afraid of water, you’ll also be afraid of intimacy. And so on. In this way, fear can take a person over, completely consuming them.
Fear is fear. If you have fear of one thing, and fear of another thing, it’s the same emotion of fear.
It is not a different fear, it is fear of a different thing.
This is so important because the solution to fear has the same tendency.
Courage is the solution to fear. It is not the opposite of fear.
Courage is being afraid, and doing it anyway.
So, the secret to facing fears is this: stop trying to face the fear. Stop trying to decrease the fear. Stop wrestling with fear, swallowing it, pushing it down.
If all you do is focus on the fear, looking at it, scheming, planning, and plotting, then all you’ll see is the fear. And it’ll get bigger, not smaller.
Instead, focus on courage. Courage says, “Ok, how interesting, I’ve got some fear going on here, but that’s not going to stop me.” And then you do it. You’re still afraid, sure. But join the club! Everyone is afraid. Courage wouldn’t even exist without fear. But courage just means that your fear doesn’t control you.
As a bonus, courage works the same way as fear in how it spreads. When you are courageous in one area of your life, there is carry-over to other areas of your life. Courage is courage. So when you courageously drive in the city, despite the fear, it’ll be easier to talk to new people. Or if you courageously enter the water despite the fear, you’ll find intimacy easier.
Courage will take over your life, so that fear isn’t holding you back anymore, but instead providing the foundation for great courage.
So stop trying to decrease your fear. Instead, increase your courage.
Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts
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Practical Strategies to Deal with Daily Stressors
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