“Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.” – Dorothy Thompson, American journalist and radio broadcaster (1893-1961)
Banishing fear may seem like a daunting proposition, especially if this extraordinarily self-destructive emotion has been plaguing you for some time. Yet it is only when we’re able to overcome fear by acknowledging its presence and refusing to let it control our lives that we are truly able to start living – in the sense that we enthusiastically embrace new challenges and opportunities to grow, hope again for our future productiveness, happiness and overall stability and well-being.
While we may wish to stop fear in its tracks, it’s not always that easy to do. First, we have to be willing to be a little (or a lot) uncomfortable. That means we have to be willing to face the fact that we have a certain fear. Then, what’s necessary is to attempt to determine what it is, exactly, that we are fearful of. Is it that we may fail? Is it, perhaps, that we may succeed? Are we uncertain what we’ll do if we are successful at a particular endeavor or activity? Are we worried that we won’t be able to live up to expectations – our own or others?
If we continue to be petrified by fear, we’ll shortcut our chances of ever fully realizing our life’s true potential. How can we be fully satisfied with our efforts if we always stop just short of completion for fear of what may or may not happen?
Granted, getting on-board with the concept of overcoming fear is a little intimidating at first. We’re not sure where or how to begin. Do we just plunge ahead and hope for the best? As with most undertakings, taking this approach is more than a little shortsighted. Sure, it’s bold, but is it wise? It may be better to weigh and balance our past efforts in this area, any experience we’ve had in overcoming similar fears, and calculating the risks vs. rewards of any potential solutions – before we jump in.
At some point, however, we have to take action. That’s the only way to leave fear in the dust and embark on new paths of discovery. And it is by fully embracing the uncertainties that lie ahead that we’ll recharge our motivation, add to our sense of purpose, and truly begin to live the life we want for ourselves.
Still a little bit uncertain? Try these tips for overcoming fear:
- Write it down. There’s nothing like seeing something in black and white to help clarify our feelings about something. If we can name our fear, it’s the first step toward overcoming it.
- Decide what we want to do about it. Doing nothing is not an action. It’s inaction. So, the next step is to make a decision about what we are willing to do about this fear that’s holding us back.
- Chart possible courses of action. There will always be more than a single approach that we can take in trying to overcome fear. List these, along with any potential benefits or drawbacks for each.
- Weigh and balance one potential solution or approach against the others.
- Choose the approach that appears to hold the most promise, is the most reasoned potential course of action and one that we can get started on now.
- By taking action, we’re depriving fear of its fuel. We are doing something constructive to take our life back. This will help facilitate our joy of living and unlock many possibilities ahead.