Everyone experiences fear, gets scared, is afraid. Still, we would probably be surprised if we stopped to think just how much of our daily behavior is motivated by a need to lessen our fears.
But since fear is often seen as a weakness, it’s not acceptable to talk about it. Not only do we not discuss our fears, we usually don’t even admit that we have them. We repress them so we become unaware that they exist. We get so used to living with our fears that sometimes we aren’t conscious of them anymore. As a result, many people don’t face their fears and instead allow them to control their lives.
You may be thinking, “But isn’t fear a good thing?” It signals to us that something is threatening us or someone we love. For instance, say your child runs into the street in front of a car or you hear a burglar in your home or you get severe chest pains or you feel an earthquake.
In cases like these, fear is valuable because it motivates you to act—to rescue or get medical help or run or defend yourself in some way.
We want to listen to and respond to these fears. They can keep us alive and safe.
But there is another kind of fear which can limit and restrict our lives and prevent us from doing the things we need and want to do.
These are the fears that get in the way of our living our lives—fears that block us that stand in the way of our meeting our important needs. They prevent us from fully functioning whether we’re at work or at home or elsewhere. They can disrupt our lives. They are at the root of many of our problems.
It’s helpful to make a list of your fears—things that you’re afraid to do or say. Think about fears that disrupt your life; things that keep you from fully functioning. These fears might include such things as:
• Making a presentation to a prospective new client.
• Going someplace you’ve never been before on your own.
• Initiating conversations with new people in business or social situations.
• Having a talk with someone with whom you’re having a conflict or problem.
• Looking for a new job when you’re burnt out on the one you have.
• Learning to do something you’ve always wanted to do, i.e. ski, sing, fly a plane, write, ride a horse.
To be continued…