We have all heard it...fear is not real. It is in your head. Well, it sure feels real. When I am looking up at a massive roller coaster that my kids want me to go on, the fear that is surging through me...feels pretty damn real. So let’s clarify. Being scared and fear are two different things. I am scared of roller coasters, I don’t have a fear of them. Scared is a feeling, fear is in your head. Fear comes around when it comes to things that are unknown. I pulled a piece written by Martha Beck regarding facing our fears. Let’s break it down...
First things first, write down something you want to do, and the fear that is keeping you from doing it.
I want ___________________________, but I am afraid______________________.
Here are a couple of rules:
RULE ONE: Do not play with poison.
Let’s say you woke up in the morning with the inability to feel fear. The first thing you do is go to the pet store and go and play with the snakes, which just the day before you could not even look at a picture of a snake, let alone pick one up. Make sure the snakes you play with are not poisonous. Fear and fascination are intermingled, many people who follow their thrill-seeking instincts end up unconsciously flirting with disaster. Now, look back at what your wrote down and ask yourself: Is it destructive? Will it ruin life, health, relationships? If so, scribble it out. After reading rule two, come up with something else.
RULE TWO: Be useful.
A good way to find a fear that is both fulfilling and nontoxic is to choose something that will make a positive impact in your world. Constructive and creative activities. So, would your fear have any positive effect? Would it enlighten you, or improve your life? Now would be the time to change your fear, if you would like to.
When people frame a fear this way, their motivation usually increases and their fear feels comparatively smaller. Increase the positive effect of your fear. Of course there will still be hesitation to take action, but you know at least that it is not toxic.
STEERING THROUGH THE FEAR
Maybe your fear is something you have to do or want to do. Fear often stops us from acting even though it is something we really want or need to do. So, here are the steps...
CURL UP. You may not actually need this step, but after you write down your fear, let it resonate. Keep it in your mind. Sit with it, find a comfortable safe place in your mind for it to go.
PLAN YOUR PROGRESS. Once you feel like step one has taken hold, you are feeling safe and secure with your fear, take a deep breath and begin outlining a step-by-step plan to achieve your objective. Your fear will want to drag you into obsessing about possible problems in the future. But be in the here and now: Your job at the moment is not facing what you fear, but planning to face it. While you are planning, do not execute or fret. Just plan.
TAKE ONE STEP TOWARD YOUR GOAL. A good planner breaks down every challenge into manageable chunks. Once you have done that, forget about the long term and take the step that is directly in front of you. Do not think about the next steps, what is it come...just be in your moment and your current step.
KEEP TAKING ONE MORE STEP. After you have accomplished your first step, give yourself a pat on the back and sit with your accomplishment. This is just as important as taking the step itself. When and only when you feel ready...move to the next step. There is no rush. There are a lot of obstacles. Slow and steady wins the race.
These four steps cover it. It sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, reading and doing are two very different things. Remember to be kind to yourself, be your own cheerleader.