Final points to overcoming fear
Fear comes from the belief that you are not going to have the life you expect to have. You don’t want something to happen that could jeopardise your quality of life.
Stricken with fear you either spring into anxiety mode, attempting to control your life and prevent any threats to your quality of life or your life going to plan, or you do nothing for fear of it happening anyway.
In motherhood, this can happen when:
- You are worried about your child’s life being a good life
- You are fearful of their safety
- You fear potentially stuffing up your child’s life.
- You fear they will die unexpectedly
- You fear they will make a mistake and be emotionally hurt
Or more generally it can appear in your life when:
- You fear the outcome of leaving your marriage
- You are scared to go for that new job
- You are scared to leave your old job
- You are scared to be different and unaccepted in your community
- You are scared to disagree with your partner, your friends, your family for fear of rejection
My goodness I could spend pages and pages writing about the fears that can hold you back from enjoying your life.
Underneath all of these fears are incorrect beliefs that life can unfold incorrectly and if it does then your life will be less worthy and not as valuable.
Continue using the Mind TRACK to Happiness process whenever you are hesitating about doing something that you initially thought would be enjoyable.
Investigate what this fear really is. How do you think it is going to effect your life? What is your worst case scenario? What could possibly happen to you if you just go for what it is you want?
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Continue challenging that thinking that tells you that you can’t, that you shouldn’t, that it’s not possible. Analyse this thinking, seek out where it came from. Who taught you that it wasn’t possible, or that you couldn’t do something?
Also, lay out all of the possible scenarios that you are fearing and put them to the test of the reality thinking model. What other perspective may there be to the scenario that you are really fearing? Before succumbing to fear, challenge your thinking first. How else could I view the situation here?
When you do this what you almost always find, is that there is nothing really to fear about a situation. You find that you will get over the unwanted situation, you will move on and sometimes it will lead you to an experience that becomes the most enjoyable time of your life.
Don’t be so quick to expect that everything new, different or challenging is there to ruin your life. Sometimes things are blessings in disguise.
Push yourself to try new things. Even if it is just a tiny step towards what you want. Give it a go.
If your fear is due to an event that occurred in your past that you are now worried will happen again, it’s important to go back to your thoughts on this event and upgrade your thoughts on your perception of what happened. Was it all bad? Did it in fact, lead you to some good times to some degree? Any degree?
Look back at your entire life, has it been full of ups and downs that were equally beneficial to your life, albeit that some of them were painful? Try to find as much evidence as you can that prove to you that there is no wrong way for life to unfold.
Should some of the events of your life occurred? Probably not, but the reality is that it did and it was out of your control because you cannot control all of the variables in your life. Life doesn’t always go to plan but that doesn’t mean that these times don’t hold value.
You have to teach your mind to see the hidden good in the bad, to observe and challenge your thinking and push yourself to see other angles of perspective about that situation (step one and two – thoughts & reality), and then start setting yourself little goals (step three – aim) that push you outside your comfort zone.
Seek out information and resources that help you to overcome fear. A lot of the time fear is just an ignorance of vital information. Learn about the area of your life that you are concerned about and get the facts.
What are the odds that this will happen to you? Are you afraid of something that is a one in a billion chance that it would ever happen? Statistics and factual information can often release your fears and help you to understand a situation more clearly. You might just find that all this time and energy that you have spent on your fear, is unjustified when you find out the facts.
Once you find out the facts, create a plan of attack, using these facts to push you towards your goals. Little baby steps that slowly push you to try something different and do the things that you are fearful of, so that you can prove to yourself that you can handle whatever happens.
Most often you will find that what you feared does not actually happen, but if it does, it does not mean that your life is less valuable, because there will be value in it, you just need to search for how and change your perspective on it.
Letting go of what’s to come
How much of your life have you spent holding onto something that is out of your control? How much of your energy have you wasted setting one goal after another trying to control and prevent life so that it goes to plan?
What if for a few moments in time, you stopped trying to do anything and just let go. Don’t try and fix the kids’ arguments, don’t try to be the perfect housewife, don’t try and juggle everything without making a mistake, don’t try and get everything done on your list, but just do what you can. What do you think would happen?
Chances are, nothing important. Sometimes we place so much importance on a feared outcome that never happens. I love Mark Twains quote:
“I am an old man and have known many troubles, most of them never happened”
How much of your life are you spending on troubles that don’t happen for fear that they will. When you teach you mind to adopt the beliefs that there is value in everything and that there is not ‘right way’ for your life to unfold, then you learn to relax and enjoy your life.
Letting go of your past
Letting go of something that has happened (particularly if it was traumatic or painful) can be one of the hardest parts to change. If you believe that what happened has caused your life to be ruined or you rate it to now mean that your life has lost some of its value, then it can be very difficult to let go.
The first thing you need to do then, is to upgrade how your thinking about what happened. Think about what value it did give you, what you learnt, what it now makes you appreciate and how it has benefited your life. Look for what direction it took your life, the people you met because of it who now benefit your life. Remember when you put your attention on something, it expands in that direction.
Keep searching and listing (on paper) the hidden good in this perceived bad situation or event, so that you can keep referring back to why it is valuable everytime your habitual thinking says it has ruined your life.
Don’t feel like your life is ruined if this memory of this past event keeps coming back to haunt you. This is simply what the brain does. Because your habitual thinking has linked your present perception of life to that event, you then start to think about that event a lot. Through this lens you think, ‘what if’, or ‘he/she/I should have’. But the event is gone now. It’s over. it doesn’t exist anymore until you create it in the now with your mind.
You will get rid of these frequent recurring memories when you teach yourself to stop this thinking and change the direction of your thoughts to align with the reality thinking model. The frequency of these memories will dissipate because you are no longer attaching them to your self-worth.
You will need to do this deliberately at first, but then over time you will find this new reality thinking taking over and it won’t be such an effort.
Something to take note of though while we are talking about memories. We have our memories triggered all the time. Listen to a particular song and it often takes you back in time to an event that you associated with that song. Look at a picture of a place you have visited and your mind will recall the significant events that occurred at that time.
You will remember significant events (good or bad) from your past from time to time, because that is how the brain functions. It does not mean anything about you or your life, it is simply a memory. What causes your stress over that memory is not the memory itself, but what you believe about that memory, the perception of that event and how you believe it has negatively effected your life. This is what needs to change so that you aren’t upset everytime this memory is triggered.
One more thing that can happen that stops you from letting go, is your attachment of your self-worth to that event. This time I’m not talking about you believing you are worth-less because of the event. This is because you feel like your worth is defined by that event.
Perhaps that sounds like an odd thing for someone to do, however it is very common, particularly with the labels we place on ourselves for having gone through a difficult time. For example, I am a depression sufferer. I am an anxiety sufferer. I am an abuse victim. I am a victim in general.
Sometimes we can perceive our experiences to be who we are, instead of just things that have happened. You are not a depression sufferer, you do depression only because of how you think. The same goes for anxiety.
You are not a victim of any kind, you just had an experience where someone believed it was okay to do something to you that wasn’t okay. If you are feeling offended because I have written that you had an experience instead of validating that it was bad or wrong, then chances are you have your self-worth tied up in the label of being the victim.
Indeed this experience would have formed a pivotal part of your journey. It would have taught you so much about life and developed a personal strength within you that no other experience may have ever been able to teach you, but this experience is just like any other pivotal moment in your life. It happened. It’s gone and it left lessons and personal growth.
This can happen with a joyous event, like winning lotto, or going overseas by yourself in a foreign country where you didn’t speak the language. You are not defined by these events either, they were simply events on the long journey of your life that left an imprint on it that served to teach you lessons that now contribute to how you interact with the world. That’s it.
With or without this experience, you are still 100% worthy. Stay very aware of the thinking that you have associated with any traumatic event to check whether you have let go of these events. Change the label in your mind of what they mean to you. Widen your perspective using the reality thinking model to remind you of the ups and downs that occur in life and that no single event defines your existence, but just serves to teach you and grow you.
Letting go is about being able to embrace right now. It’s not about hanging on to the past, nor is it about trying to control your future. It’s not about letting anything define your worth and dictate the path your life is going in, but it is about understanding the reality of life and learning.
Nothing will ever make you more important or less important than you are right now. You are always 100% worthy and that cannot be added to or taken away. Experiences and events in our life are only drips in the pond of life that cause a ripple effect that influences everything and everybody around us and it all serves a purpose.
So enjoy your life, let it be. If you feel emotion, then feel it, then let it go. If you feel stressed about a situation, let go of the outcome, for you can’t control it anyway and it will always lead you to something else. Look for fun and don’t fear pain, for it to is teaching you important things you need to know so that you can experience the good times.
We don’t know good until we’ve experienced bad. We don’t know up until we’ve known down. We can’t accept the outside, until we have accepted the inside (your true self-worth).
Keep pushing yourself to let go of the outcome of your life. Set goals – yes! But don’t become attached to the achievement of them.
When you look back at your life from the age of 80+, do you want to remember all of those time you spent stressing, worrying and trying to control every little detail of your life? Do you want to look back and wish you had’ve done things regardless of your fear? Do you want to wonder what your life would have been like if only you had tried something or let go of a past hurt and tried to reach your goals regardless of your last failed attempt?
You only ever have the now to start creating the life that you want to lead. It’s not always easy, but nothing ever is. All of life is full of hard and easy, so you might as well just push yourself and go for what you want anyway.
Because the reality is that whether you fear, control or let go, you will enjoy life at times, you will come across adversities, you will learn and your life will go in different directions to what you had planned sometimes. So you might as well go for the things that you want to create in your life and direct it towards the things you want, rather than sit in fear and regret.