Such an awful place to live, right?
When you really sit down and think about the word, “FEAR”, what does it even mean? Is it real? Is it imagined? Is it learned?
Yes, to all of the above. It can also be the one area that continues to hold us back in life. When you hear others tell you, “It’s only your imagination”, “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be afraid of,” ~ do these help you put your fears to rest? Probably for a few minutes or even a few hours if you are lucky. But ultimately, you still have a deep seated fear that needs to be remedied to help us build confidence and cure the fears!
Most fears today are psychological. Worry, tension, embarrassment, panic all stem from a mismanaged, negative imagination. When people tell you that it’s “all in your mind”, it only highlights the fact that they believe you are imagining it and your best action is to ignore it.
But fear is real. It does exist and it stops us from reaching our goals and gaining success in our lives. It stops us from capitalizing on opportunities; it wears us down physically; it can make us sick; it can shorten our lives and it keeps our mouths closed when we want to speak.
I grew up painfully shy. I would hear people whisper around me, “she doesn’t talk”, “why is she so quiet”, “if only she would open up”. All these comments did for me was to feed my fear of opening up. It kept my mouth closed because my mind would be so loud as to why I should not speak up.
“You have nothing interesting to say”, “You aren’t as smart/confident/pretty/talented/etc as these people”, “You will say something stupid and turn red with embarrassment”, etc. These were the real thoughts brewing in my head, among others and they were powerful reasons to continue feeding my fear of just simply speaking.
It stemmed from my lack of confidence. But confidence in reality is not given; it’s earned. It is a talent we need to develop over time. We aren’t born with it naturally, but can learn it through the #1 fear killer of all: ACTION.
Action can cure any fear. You know the saying, “Feel the fear and do it anyway”? That is the only true cure for your fears.
Think about some of your biggest fears today. Many fear financial strains, job insecurities, public speaking and death. So what can you do about these issues? Just ACT! If action is in your control; it HAS to be done!!! The only time action cannot cure your fears is when the control is totally beyond your grasp. For example, a natural disaster or unplanned accident. While these are concerns among many, there is little you can do to make sure they never occur. The best you can do is to plan ahead in case they happen and then turn your attention to other issues that help ease your mind. Enjoy your life and loved ones, help others who are in need and pray.
As for the fears that can be controlled or alleviated by action, you must do exactly what you do not want to do most. For example, if you fear public speaking; then you MUST work up to doing just that. Sounds debilitating doesn’t it? But it does work and I promise you that the fear is worse than the actual action in the long run.
How did I cure my awful fear of shyness? I pushed myself to talking and learning how to grow my confidence by doing what I love and helping others instead. So turning the attention OFF of me and then jumping into the issues that held me back. I loved my fitness classes and was constantly being asked to lead a class…this scared the heck out of me but I decided my desire to do what I loved was more important than the fear I held so I learned from those who knew and stumbled my way through some rather awkward classes…
But guess what?
I eventually began to grow in confidence with my knowledge which in turn allowed me to take on more challenges and chip away at the fears little by little. I can now stand in front of hundreds of people if needed and speak with little fear. How? By planning on what I will talk about, learning as much as I need to know about talking through the topics and just DOING it. Feel the fear and do it anyway. This isn’t a quote to be passed by lightly. It is the truth in all of our lives. We all have fear and insecurities. If you let those fears hold you back, you are letting yourself down from some amazing successes and joys.
I hadn’t realized how far I had moved away from my fear of being shy until a few years ago. I reconnected with a friend I knew in preschool. This friend was someone I always remembered well as being one of my closest and dearest childhood friends. I remembered her fondly and would sometimes wonder where she was and where her life had taken her. It was at a 5K run a few years back that I found her again. Small world, right? After my race, I scanned the results lists that were posted regarding the runners and how they had placed in the race. As I read through the names, I spotted HER name!! What an exciting feeling!! Where could she be?? At the awards ceremony, I saw her and ran up to ask if she remembered me and she did!!! It was truly an exciting time and as we talked, we exchanged numbers and contact information. We later planned to run another race together and on our drive to the location that day, she turned to me (who had been talking most of the trip) and asked me the big question, “Kathy, you were SOOO shy when we were young. Like, painfully shy. I don’t know if I ever recall you talking at all!! What happened to you????”
It was at THAT moment when I realized exactly how far I had come. I did not allow my fear to take over my life and stop me from reaching any goal or any challenge I set out to meet. It is possible for you today too. Feel YOUR fears and take action on making them a distant memory for you too. Start today and do it NOW!