Fear is a funny thing. When we’re little, our fears make sense. We fear things in order to keep us safe. We fear strangers, monsters under the bed, or falling off our bikes. Our fears are tangible, justifiable, and very real.
As we get older, though, our fears shift. They morph from healthy fears that protect us to unhealthy fears that limit us, like fear of failure, fear of looking bad, or fear of rejection. Instead of being kept safe by our fears, our fears become somewhat of a trap: a dangerous safety net that can prevent us from truly living our lives.
Think about it. Think about how many times you’ve thought, “I would like to do xyz, but I can’t”. I guarantee you, 9 times out of 10, your reason for not doing it is rooted in fear, even if you don’t realize it. Scared to go for that new job you actually really want? You’re probably afraid you’re not good enough to get it. Scared to move to a new city even though you’ve thought about it for years? You’re probably afraid you won’t make new friends, or that you won’t like it and you’ll have to move back home, which would make you a “failure” at moving away. Scared to initiate a conversation with your cute coworker you’ve had a crush on for forever? You’re probably scared of rejection.
But here’s the funny thing: those fears aren’t real. Sure, they exist in our heads like they’re real, but they’re not. Here are three steps to help you overcome your fears to go after what you really want.
1. Identify your fear
It sounds really simple, but the first step to overcoming your fear is to pinpoint exactly what it is. Often times, a surface level fear exists to cover up our actual fear. Sound confusing? Take this as an example. Say there is a job that you have been thinking about applying for, but you’ve been too scared to apply. You think you’re just scared you won’t get the job, but you’re actually afraid that you’re not good enough to get the job. Getting clearer? You’re not scared of the result of the risk, you’re scared of what that result might mean about you. Getting clear on your fear is the first step to moving past it.
2. Acknowledge the role that your fears play in your life
Like I mentioned earlier, some fears are healthy fears. I’m not telling you to throw all your fears out of the window, but rather to identify which ones are holding you back, and start ridding yourself of those. Notice in which situations your fears are more alive – maybe you really feel them when you’re public speaking, or in social situations around new people, or when you’re showing people your art. Maybe it’s when you need to be vulnerable in a friendship or relationship, or when you initiate a difficult conversation. Notice when your fears are coming up, and notice which fears are keeping you alive, and which fears are keeping you from living, and address them accordingly.
3. Move forward with your fear
Overcoming your fear isn’t about getting rid of all your fears. It’s about recognizing them, acknowledging them, and then choosing to act anyway, even if the fear is still there. If you wait to act until all your fears are gone, trust me, girl, you’ll be waiting around for the rest of your life. So the next time a fear rears its ugly head, say “Fear, I see you,” and then keep going for it. Apply for that job. Initiate a hard conversation. Ask for a raise. The more actions you take, the less power your fears are going to have. Soon enough, your fears will start to show up less and less, and you’ll realize that you’re finally starting to live.
Follow us on Pinterest!