Identify and Understand your Fears: In Order to Rise Above Them
Before you can begin to overcome your fears, it is important to learn how to identify and understand your fears. When you have learnt how to identify and understand your fears, this is the key to unlocking your ability to “Take Action”.
1. Identify your Fears
Learning how to overcome fear is much like solving any problem and then finding a solution. This can be a challenge but is far better than not facing the problem, where it can NEVER be solved. The first step must be to identify the challenge in order to overcome it. To Identify what it is that you are Feeling Fearful about. To do this exercise it is important that you sit quietly, with no distractions, taking deep breaths, enabling you to observe your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.
For example: Thoughts of “I can’t do this” overwhelm, Feelings of despair and anxiety, Physical sensations of racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, profuse sweating and confusion. Write down the each area, with what you are observing and be as specific as you can. A great support that will help with greater clarity in identifying your fears and achieving clarity, to understanding what is your driving force, is to embrace daily, 30 minutes of what is known as mindfulness meditation. Simply put mindfulness meditation is bringing your subconscious thoughts, to your conscious thoughts in order to release them, and replace any unwanted ones with the positive, empowering thoughts. The benefit of identifying your fears, you will feel empowered to confront your fears.
Download this Worksheet to Help Identify your Worst Fear
2: Understand your Fears
Once you have identified your fears the next step is to understand them and where they are coming from. Questions to ask yourself –
- Is it an Irrational Belief – Fear can be a set of irrational beliefs you have about certain areas of your life, events or actions. Understanding that it is your beliefs, that control what you focus on and pay attention to. These beliefs also control your decisions and actions. As a result, your life is controlled by your beliefs that often do not have any basis in reality. They are irrational, or in other words, they are beliefs you have made, that you use as a safety mechanism to protect you from potential pain. The moment you let go of these beliefs that are either sabotaging or blocking your success, replacing the disempowering beliefs, with a set of empowering beliefs, based on your core desires, dreams and goals, the sooner you will rise above your fears.
- Are they Coming from a place of Uncertainty: Fear can also be a sense of uncertainty. Where you can have doubts about future outcomes or circumstances. You do not know what will happen next, and as a result, you fear whatever could be hiding around the corner. In order to rise above these feelings of uncertainty, you need to gain relevant knowledge, information, and support that will help you to gain more certainty. Uncertainty is nothing more than a lack of information or narrow perspective that you can have about something. This is where action is needed to research, question finding the correct information that will dissolve your feelings of uncertainty.
- Disproportioned Expectations: Fear can be a set of disproportioned expectations you have about your future consequences or outcomes. For example: If you become successful you may lose all of your friends. If you lose weight, people may not like the new you. Instead of allowing these negative and disproportioned consequences, outcomes to come into play. Use your imagination to create positive outcomes about small, appropriated gains that will come as a result of your actions. When I was making a decision many years ago, to quit smoking my disproportioned expectation was that how would I cope without smoking. I visualized myself coping very well without smoking and the positives were that I was going to save money, definitely smell better and that would gain enormous benefits to my health. A secret to rising above your fears is to “Quit” telling yourself the negative scenarios, disproportioned expectations. Then to fine tune, implementing the positive ones that are going to work in your favour supporting the consequences and outcomes that will benefit you.
- Exaggerated or Distorted Memories: Fear can be a set of exaggerated or distorted memories you have of past experiences. Essentially locked away in your subconscious mind. It is a memory of past experiences, some of these may have been traumatic, but a like wine or beer will brew into something exaggerated and quite often distorted from the real experiences. This is where cognitive counselling or talking to a trusted friend is useful, it gets these memories out into your conscious thinking where you are able to rationalize them, as to how it really was, bearing in mind even if these memories are really bad, it is important that they come out into the open, where you can discard them, not allowing them to take control or discourage you from moving forward.