It’s been said that courage is not lack of fear, but rather the ability to move forward despite it. The bottom line is that fear is part of being human. The question is: do we let it paralyse us or do we find a way to overcome it?
Fear does in fact have a purpose – it’s there to stop us from doing things that endanger us. This doesn’t mean we should never take risks, but rather that we need to put in place systems that help us to continue to move forward when we’re feeling afraid. Essentially, conquering fear is all about creating a feeling of safety for ourselves.
So how can do that?
Fear has far more power over us when we deny or suppress it. So as a first step, acknowledge to yourself that you’re feeling fearful. Then take a few deep breaths to calm yourself as far as possible.
Try to figure out exactly what you’re fearful of and why. Are you afraid you’ll flunk exams and disappoint your family? Do you worry you’ll run out of money before the end of the month and not be able to pay your bills? Are you secretly convinced you’re not gorgeous/clever/rich enough and your lover will leave you? Sometimes when you analyse it, you’ll begin to realise there’s nothing to be afraid of after all.
Action cures fear
Having a plan of action drastically reduces the chances of the worst happening and also relieves that awful feeling of dread. Using the examples above again, what can you do about it? Could you get some extra tutoring or a study buddy to help you pass your exams? If you drew up a budget and/or got a part-time job, would that ease the stress at month end?
And since people leave relationships for many different reasons, often nothing to do with the other person, how could you ensure that even if your lover did leave, your life would still be full and interesting? This not only gives you something else to fall back on, but also makes you more attractive to potential new partners.
So the plan of action is acknowledge your fear, figure out what’s going on, then do what you can to deal with it. Simply following those steps can be life-changing and free you up to truly thrive.