Let’s face it. We all fear something. It could be something small and tangible or something large and subjective. Sometimes we are unaware of it (or choose to ignore it). Either way, fear plays a major role in what we do and how we think.
Identify the Fear
This step is not as simple as it sounds. What is that one thing that acting as your barrier? What is the thing that you are lacking?
Here is a list of fears and possible consequences of living with them (the following are just examples. If you can’t identify with the examples, it does not necessarily mean that this isn’t your misconception):
- Love – something happened where you fear intimacy from another human being. You are not in a relationship and every time you get to the point to go on a date (or a blind date), you consciously or subconsciously do something to push this person away. OR, you go on dates and realizes that no one is good enough to officially date
- Success – the limelight is daunting. You are forced to be in the center of attention. Things are going well … too well. Sound familiar? This usually causes people to purposely work less than stellar. You avoid opportunities.
- Failure – something happened where now you no longer feel that you can fail. You probably take on more than you can humanly do. Anything that helps. Every time that you do something wrong, you are faced with debilitating anxiety.
- People – I know what you’re thinking – what??? This means that you fear being around too many people, their judgement, their eyes. You isolate yourself. Meeting someone in real life gives you anxiety.
So, now you know what it is that makes you tick. What do you do now? Confront it.
This is subjective. There’s no way that’s possible.
Actually, there is. You have to force yourself in situations gradually to react better and better each time. Notice that word in red? This is me telling you that if it does not happen right away, it’s okay!! You are doing something major here. Be patient and stay with the baby steps. Learn to accept failure, try to put yourself out there, ask for more in your current life!
Here’s a little moment of truth. Just like depression, fear is a strong thing. The shadows of both things may follow you. However, if you know what to look out for, you know what you can do to overcome it.
It’s difficult to say specifically what to do because it is different for everyone. This is why it may be a good idea to just force yourself into the situation and do what you can to move forward. This could be a slew of ways:
- Being your own cheerleader in the mirror
- Practicing what you are going to do and what to say
- Expect the worst (or expect nothing) and surprise yourself
- Carrying a token to remind you to be brave
I can go on but I know that we all have things to do.
Fear and Depression
Fear and depression go hand in hand. I know, so shocking. I’ll wait for all of you to gather the pieces of your mind back together (I wish there was a sarcasm font). Here’s how it works. Depression’s job is to keep you down, prevent you from flying high. Fear acts as a barrier, keeping you from moving further. Together, they are a dangerous combination. And people wonder why it’s so hard to overcome depression.
Tackling fear allows you to push the barrier back. The more you tackle it head on, the further back it goes. Take risks. Do something that you wouldn’t ever think of doing. In the end of the day, experiences like these make the best stories. So, if anything, do it for the memories.
Real World Example
One of my debilitating fears is failure. I had to be the best. I had to be unique. I had to be successful. Why? I was afraid of finding myself in the same situation that my parents were in (sorry, mom). Speaking of parents, they forced high standards upon me. Then, life happened.
I started doing poorly in school. My friends were slipping away. My finances were a joke. It all summed up to my greatest fear coming true.
So, I redefined my expectations and my definition of “failure”. Failure no longer means some strange situation that circumstance had brought upon in the past. To me, failing at life means ignoring every opportunity and not at least attempting to do what I want. Failing means not working towards my dreams.
That’s just me. This definition can, and probably is, different for you.
So, go out there. Conquer your demons. Show them who’s boss! I believe in you.