Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fears we have

What are you afraid of? When you were a child, maybe it was the "monster" in the closet or under the bed, or the first day of school. As we grow up, we often acquire a whole new list of fears. Some of the more common types are fear of failure, fear of success even, fear of the unknown and fear of rejection or disapproval. These are pretty basic for all of us, to some degree or another but if you find that fear gets to the point where it keeps you from achieving your goals or limits your life, then it's a good idea to learn how to overcome your fear and turn it into action.

Actually, fear itself is a survival mechanism. It's a physical response to danger, whether real or imagined. Being alert to the possible danger around them allowed our primitive ancestors to defend or save themselves. You and I have that same survival instinct, but with the difference that it's usually not physical danger that threatens us, but the "danger" of change or uncertainty.

I've found that a key to handling fear is imagination. After all, it's usually those negative scenarios that we imagine that build our fear in the first place. So here's a way to break out of that cycle. First of all, sit down and write out exactly what it is you are afraid of happening. Often, coming face to face with the fear you have helps you distance yourself from it and react less emotionally. You can then be more objective in judging whether your fear has any basis at all.

Now, use that imagination of yours to think of the worst that could happen. Write it all down, how you would feel. Then, think of all the things you could do in this worst case scenario. What actions could you take to deal with it? Write it all down. When you have plans on how to handle a situation if it arises, then this reduces your fear of the unknown. You become more confident of your ability to handle things. You may also just notice that your fear has disappeared.

Bar advice. We all got "monsters" and "demons' that we don't want to face but you can't live life with fear as the winner.

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