You probably already know that fear is an instinctive response to threats – real or perceived – that help us prepare for either fight or flight. In this way, fear can be seen as a positive force in our lives; it keeps us alive on a very primal level.
While this is vital to our survival, fear can also inhibit us by preventing us from taking chances or trying new things. For this reason, it is helpful to know how to use fear as fuelto help navigate this wondrous experience of life.
Experts posit that there are really only five main fears shared by human beings:
Every other fear can be a subcategory of one or more of these basic fears and although we certainly want to avoid extinction and mutilation on a survival level, the perceived risks associated with the other three basic fears are ones we can use to grow, learn, and ground ourselves in the moment.
“Without fear, there cannot be courage.” ― Christopher Paolini
It can sometimes seem easier to give in to the negative self-talk we often hear. Our inner critic will do everything it can to prevent us from stepping outside of our comfort zone to explore new challenges and opportunities. However, being self-aware means you can take those moments of fear and anxiety and turn them into steps towards becoming your ideal self.
Before delving into the fear, take a moment to quiet your mind with deep breathing. This will help you center yourself so you can focus on what the real issue may be.
Is this fear realistic? What are the worst possible outcomes and what is the likelihood of this happening? What if the worst case scenario happened? What would you need to do?
Your fears teach you things. My fears have taught me self-love, mindfulness, and how to overcome obstacles that I never knew I could. What can your fears teach you about who you truly are?
Dr. Brene’ Brown – in her powerful TED Talk, “Listening to Shame” – says “Life is about daring greatly, about being in the arena.” Waiting for the “right time” to enter the arena of life as a result of fear, can lead to isolation and stunted personal growth. Instead, think about your game plan. Consider your courses of action and realize that even if you fail, you’ve exhibited great courage and strength and have learned something of value.
Beyond courage, conquering our fears also show us more of our strengths that we never knew we had before. It takes a lot to face our fears but once we do, we see things within ourselves we never knew existed. From there, we can use those same exact things to face additional fears and challenges.
While we don’t like to feel fear, when we embrace the things that make us distinctly human and listen to the lessons they teach us, we are better able to gauge who we are and what we can accomplish. I invite you to contact me if you want to discover ways you can use your own fears as a means to restore faith in yourself, your journey, and balance to your life.