If fear wasn’t something that was holding you back, what couldn’t you do? Fear is something that we all struggle with, whether we like to admit it or not. Specifically, when embarking on a new journey or working toward a specific goal, fear can readily derail our progress.
Allowing fear to take the wheel can spiral us into a state of anxiety and self oppression. It quickly becomes a kill joy. Fear challenges us to stay safe, to be satisfied with the status quo instead of rising up and grinding toward a bigger picture, toward a more evolved self.
Recognizing the effect that our fears have on us are the first step to dismantling it. When we allow fear to creep in, we are allowing ourselves to shrink and our ideas and aspirations to get pushed aside. When we allow it, fear steals our progress, keeps us small and takes us out of our power.
So what’s the other option?
Rise above and flip your perspective.
We have the the option of remaining afraid and allowing the emotions and past experiences that fear triggers take over, or to rise above. When we rise above we challenge our status quo and the way we have been conditioned throughout our past to react.
When I am being triggered by fear, I retreat within myself. My wheels start to spin and the playback loop of failures and self doubt are on repeat. Many times I allow myself to remain in this playback loop and it is truly immobilizing. Because of past experiences with social shaming, societal expectations, critics and bullies my initial reaction is that I should be afraid; that if I stray from the norm I will fail and “they” will be right. I have come to recognize that when I spend more time inside than outside of my head about a goal, idea or new opportunity, I am afraid of something. I need to flip the script and get curious about what has been triggered and begin to push back.
The more we challenge fear in our lives the better we will become at recognizing it and overcoming it.
In each moment we have the freedom to choose how we feel about and interact with our goals and dreams. Why not take a new perspective and remain focused on the present? Take time to look at your past and learn from situations that you allowed fear to creep in to keep you from taking a risk, from evolving into something bigger. Bring those times to your mind and consider how you would interact with that fear now? Was it something that you could have leaned into and worked past?
Remember, we can have complete control over allowing our thought patterns to stall our happiness and progress toward bettering ourselves.
When you find yourself being triggered by fear, externalize it. Question it and reverse its effect on you. Fear does not control you, you control you. Instead of focusing on the negatives that could happen, look for the many positive outcomes that are possible. What might you gain from this challenge? How can it make you a better person, move you closer to your goals, improve your relationships? Flipping the way we interpret fear and the many emotions that come with it keep us in our power.
I will ask again, if fear wasn’t something that was holding you back, what couldn’t you do?
Sarah is a therapist and coach in Horsham, PA who works with women struggling with anxiety, self esteem, body image and disordered eating. You can find out more about Sarah and follow her blog at sarahherstichlcsw.com.