It’s unlikely you have any issues in your life that weren’t created by fear. You might not think that your financial or relationship challenges are rooted in fear. However, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll probably realize that many of your obstacles are caused by your fears and your inability to deal with them in an appropriate way.
Consider these examples:
- Relationship issues. Fear of abandonment is a common fear. It’s also common to fear the loss of autonomy or freedom. Trust issues can also be fear-based. You might be afraid that you won’t be accepted fully.
- Money issues. Many people deal with fear and anxiety by shopping, which can create debt. Some simply fear discomfort and are unable to let go of that expensive car or morning coffee.
- Procrastination. Procrastination can be caused by fear of failure or the perceived discomfort of performing an unpleasant task. For example, you might fear you’re missing out on something exciting and check your email instead of working.
- Stuck in a job you dislike. You might be afraid that no other decent jobs exist for you. You might be fearful of giving up your benefits or getting a new job that pays less. You might be afraid of going through the application process and competing for a better job.
These are just a few examples. Consider the other parts of your life that are challenging. Can you see how fear is having a negative impact?
How to handle your fears that are holding you back:
- Realize that fear is uncomfortable, but it isn’t a good reason to avoid doing something. Fear is helpful if you’re considering doing something physically dangerous. But at the end of the day, fear is simply a feeling. There’s no reason to let fear guide every decision you make.
- Think about the fearful activity and simply breathe. Your body is unable to maintain a fear reaction in the long term. There’s a psychological technique called “flooding.” In flooding, a person is exposed to their fear without being allowed any reprieve. Think about the activity that makes you uncomfortable and focus on taking long, deep breaths. Notice how you start to feel better.
- Make a list of the ways that fear is holding you back. If some part of your life is in complete turmoil, it’s likely that you made poor decisions in the past. How did fear affect your decision-making abilities at that time?
- Remember the times you were fearful and still made a good choice. You’ve likely had times where you felt fear but managed to take the appropriate course of action anyway. Remind yourself of those times and remember how strong you can be.
- Practice dealing with discomfort. Take a situation that you find mildly uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s eating peas or talking to an attractive member of the opposite sex. Force yourself to deal with small doses of the discomfort, and increase the level of exposure over time. Although it’s challenging to give up the habit of avoidance, you’ll be surprised at how much you can tolerate.
- Realize that discomfort and fear are frequently good things. If you’re not doing anything that makes you uncomfortable, your life is likely to stay the same. It’s only when you push your comfort level that new things can begin to happen.
Fear is the most common cause of challenges in life. Learn to work through fear and gain the ability to make positive choices. You’ll boost your self-esteem and enjoy a happier life. Learn to embrace discomfort as a positive sign that your life is about to change for the better. Get started