10 Ways to Overcome Fear
I was shackled by fear until I learned these 10 concepts, if it worked for me, it can work for anyone.
1.You Are Not the Only One: Everyone on this earth experiences fear. It’s not a matter of whether or not you struggle with fear; it’s whether or not you let fear prevent you from living the life you were made to live. When it feels like you are the only one who struggles, it can be embarrassing. Consequently, you may have the tendency to hide to protect yourself from being exposed. In isolation, fear tends to multiply. Resist the temptation to isolate yourself.
2.Say It and Write It Down: When you internalize your fear, it tends to become even more powerful and consuming. Say it out loud. Go ahead, say it. “I am afraid of …” Fears will shrink in size when you pull them out of your head and put them on paper. What feels real in your mind often looks ridiculous and irrational on paper.
3. Stop Running: Running from fear is like trying to outrun your shadow; it will follow you no matter how far or fast you go. Facing it is the only way to win. If anything, avoiding fear gives it more power. You need to move toward fear. If you are afraid of public speaking, take every opportunity to speak. If you are afraid you won’t be good enough, you need to go ahead and give it your best shot. Be willing to get back up when you fail. If you are afraid of the dark, you should sit alone in the dark. 9 times out of 10, you will realize that what you feared was an unlikely scenario formed in your mind.
4. Give Up the Fight: Winning with fear is not about gritting your teeth and putting forth all your might until it submits to you. It’s about letting go. Tell fear to have its way with you. Tell it that you will no longer resist. “Go ahead, over take me.” You will realize that nothing happens. Fear can’t beat you if you won’t fight it. You will start to see it for what it really is… a feeling. Understand that it’s ok to feel afraid. Don’t try to immediately react when you’re afraid, be willing to sit in the feeling. It will pass and more importantly, you will gain confidence and courage. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela
5. Thoroughly Prepare: Much of fear comes from a lack of preparation which leads to a feeling of helplessness. When we skillfully prepare we are able to take control and prevent ourselves from being blindsided by something we can’t handle. Imagine the potential scenarios that could take place and prepare accordingly. The better prepared we are, the more confident we feel and the less there is to be afraid of.
6. Fear is a Beacon: Pay attention to what you are afraid of. Often, your fears lead you to your purpose in life. Have you ever experienced failure in a certain area and vowed never to try it again? You may be protecting yourself from the devastation you felt when you failed. There is a reason that particular failure was so devastating. It was something you really wanted to succeed at. It very well may be your passion in life. If you don’t care about failing at something, it’s probably because you aren’t passionate about it. Let fear lead you back to your passion. Failing is ok, not getting back up and trying again is not.
7. Use Fear as Fuel: The human body heightens its senses and adrenaline levels when it senses fear. This allows the body to react quickly to defend itself or run. Use this extra burst of energy to your advantage. For example, if you are giving a speech, channel your body’s extra energy into passion. Let your heightened state of fear turn into enthusiasm. Instead of trying to mask your nervous energy, let it come out in the form of vocal variety and demonstrative body movement. Bring a point home with great intensity. Grab the attention of your audience by infecting them with your energy.
8. Love and Know You Are Loved: Sometimes fear comes from the expectation of disappointing someone or being disappointed by someone. If we love people for who they are and who they could be rather than what they do, there is no fear that they will disappoint us. Conversely, if we know we are loved regardless of what we do, there is no fear associated with failing at what we do. You must love freely and receive love freely.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” 1 John 4:18 (NIV)
9. Don’t Do It Alone: Share your fear with someone who loves you and ask for their support. You will often find that many others have shared the same fears. If you believe in a higher power, draw strength from God. Knowing someone is with you and supporting you can make a huge difference. When you ask for help, don’t ask God to take your fear away, ask for the strength to face it. Simply removing the fear won’t accomplish anything. How will you face it next time?
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” -Deuteronomy 31:6
10. Consider the Consequences of Not Doing What You’re Afraid of: Why do I have to face my fear? What’s the harm in just avoiding it? The cost is significant. Facing fears brings clarity. It’s through putting yourself out there that you learn who you are and where you want to go. The more you avoid what you are afraid of, the more stagnant your life becomes. Instead of taking on new experiences and growing through them, you cling to safety and comfort. Consistent avoidance of fear and risk will eventually lead to a life of regret.
“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.”