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  • Carmen Rose

What are your fears?

You may think you know quite well what your fears are. Perhaps you’re afraid of heights, or crowded places, or spiders. These are indeed fears, or perhaps more accurately, phobias. If they interfere with your life and with your ability to follow your dreams, then they need to be tackled by some form of therapy.

However, more insidious and destructive fears may be the ones that masquerade as sensible. These may include a fear of looking silly, of being wrong, of losing, failing, being denied. Fears such as this are largely based on lack of self-esteem and positive thinking. They are the ones that can have an invisible stranglehold on your life, holding you back from even attempting to reach for your goals.

Be clear with Yourself

Before the day make a list of the things you want most. Include large things like a better job or a fulfilling relationship and small things, like winning a contest or asking a favour of a friend. Then identify exactly what fear stops you from making the attempt. For instance, do you fear the friend will reject you, or that you will look stupid if you lose the contest? Are you afraid that if you go for the job or relationship, failure may crush you, so you’d rather live with empty dreams?

Decide that you will start by confronting your smallest fear. When you have either faced it and been successful or faced it and survived failure without being destroyed by it, tackle the next fear. Success will encourage you, lack of it will strengthen you. See, you’re still alive and well! Onwards and upwards.

What are the Alternatives

When you realise what fear is doing to you, it’s time to look at your choices and different paths in life. You can choose to follow the same old safe groove. But is that making you happy? How are you going to feel in ten, or twenty years from now if you don’t strike out? When you think about it, aren’t frustration and lack of fulfilment more scary than what you’re afraid of? Is the ‘safe’ option really safe? How will you feel if you stay on what appears to be the most secure path and life deals you one of those sideways blows that changes everything? Take the wider perspective, keep it in your sights and let it guide you.

Imagine the worst 

Often fears loom larger than they are. An underlying anxiety about life may cause you to blow individual circumstances out of proportion. Go into your fear, imagine in depth and detail the worst that could happen if it came true. Would you survive? Yes! Would you recover? Yes! See yourself coming out the other side strengthened and empowered.

Just do it!

Often we tell ourselves we have to banish the fear before going forwards. But rational persuasion rarely works for long against the imagination – and negative imagination is the source of much fear. Instead tell yourself that even though you are scared as hell you will still go ahead. Fear won’t kill you and once you get going you will, in all probability, find that fear has been conquered. That is the true meaning of courage.

Reward yourself

If you’re afraid of something and you have to face it in the near future, this can seem like the end of the world. Your fear looms like a massive shadow, obliterating all the good in life. But there is life beyond your fear. To encourage yourself and stretch your consciousness out of that negative place, promise yourself a treat at the other side of the fearful task or situation. As you deal with what’s frightening you, keep reminding yourself of pleasure to come. There is more to life than this fear and soon you will experience it.

How we can help

If you are ruled by fear you can overcome this by clarity, examining choices, confronting the worst, taking action and rewarding yourself. All of these strategies can be an immense help, but fear can make you isolated and alone. If you’re paralysed by fear and unable to cope, we have experts on hand who understand and specialise in helping you deal with such feelings. Call one of our readers today and you will have the strength to face down those fears.