We’re all afraid of something, right? Big or small, emotional or physical… we all have the power to move ourselves forward from our fears too! It just takes a little courage – sometimes from a life event, or a little strategic help from our friends.
I’m happy to admit the fears that I employed over the years. I had an insane fear of failure and success. Makes sense right? NO. These fears combined stopped me from doing ANYTHING great for a long time. Sometimes, I even stopped doing something great half-way through because I was so afraid of failing in the end or having success in the end. I thought, what would it get if I’d achieved what I wanted? Would people think I’m up myself, too much of a go getter? Would it even be good enough or would I be satisfied with the result? I also thought, how embarrassing would it be if I fail? it’s easier to stop now; I’ll make some excuse up people will buy!
What a crappy strategy. Does it sound familiar?
There’s more to fear than an automatic response to physical danger (that, we can all agree, is a healthy fear). The stress centre in the brain (the amygdala) can’t tell the difference between emotional and physical fears, and the physiological response is the same: “fight or flight.” With physical fear, the stress response is easily released through action; this allows the body to return to its normal state quickly. Unfortunately, emotional fears do not often get resolved with a physical release. The after-effects of stress linger in the body, damaging your health and well-being.
About four years ago I made a commitment to myself to let go of fear and not let any fear get the better of me. This new strategy has only had not only made me happy but also made me successful. Today, I bring you common emotional fears people experience everyday and some winning strategies on how to let them go:
1. Fear of failure
“Taking action anyway” helps, but only if you approach the action with the right attitude – “failure” is an opinion. You can choose to see any results as being for your highest good. We are actually born embracing failure! Just look at a baby learning to walk. She pulls herself up, balances unsteadily and WHAM!, she’s on her bottom! But no problem, she’s okay with that failure! She pulls herself up again, lets go, takes a wobbly step or two, and she’s on the floor again! Over and over and over she tries, until one day, she runs into her mother’s arms!
Can you imagine how this would go if she allowed the thought of failure to stop her from even trying? But as we grow up, we are taught that failure is bad. What a tragedy! Instead, we should have been taught to:
a) always give our best effort OR
b) learn from our mistakes.
Being punished for failure is detrimental – the lesson is in the failure itself, and punishment only makes us avoid trying so that we do not get punished. Ironically, the world’s most successful people are those who failed BIG, repeatedly. Embrace failure as a positive lesson and cheerfully pull yourself up and try again.
2. Fear of public speaking
Anticipation is the worst part of public speaking, isn’t it? You sit there and worry about how you will screw up and how people will laugh at you or humiliate you. There are several things you can do instead of sitting and freaking out:
Be prepared. Rehearse your speech, and make sure that your speech is written as you normally talk. Write out a speech and then say it out loud, making style changes wherever it does not sound like you.
Rehearse. Rehearse until you’re comfortable with it. Think of your audience as your friends who support you. Believe me, they are in awe of your guts to be in the spotlight, and they admire you – even if they do not agree with what you say! Visualize yourself having a friendly chat with these friends, except that instead of one-on-one you’re talking to all of them at once.
3. Fear of rejection
Rejection will happen. It’s a part of life, and there’s no avoiding it. At some point; you, your ideas, your products, your services, your help, and your kindness will be rejected. At some point of your life though, you have also said no to someone who asked you out; you have said no to a salesperson; you have said no to someone who was “just trying to help.” So let it go. Move on.
4. Fear of what others think about you
Everybody sees the world from a slightly different perspective. As the old saying goes, what they think about you is none of your business. Everyone is entitled to their opinion! You make judgement calls about people too! Simply do your best in everything. And if others think badly of you, that is their problem and not yours. Remember, a tiger does not lose sleep over the opinion of a sheep.
5. Fear of being alone
Loneliness hurts. It’s a basic human need to be connected to others. However, the need to be loved and be with someone may also be bad, especially it is the reason you stay in an unhealthy relationship.
First and foremost, work on your relationship with yourself. Become your own best friend. Treat yourself with respect, unconditional love and compassion. When you’re comfortable with yourself; you won’t need validation from others, you will be okay on your own, and you won’t approach any relationships from a place of need.
Need is clingy and off-putting. Confidence, and being comfortable with who you are, is attractive. With self work, you will reach this magical stage: even though you’re okay being alone, people flock to you.
6. Fear of being poor
The media loves to terrorize us with financial doom and gloom. Turn off the TV! You must learn to live within your means. Cut up your credit cards and do not use them. Educate yourself on finances and create a budget. You’ll be surprised at the many places you can cut back, if you need to. Take time every day to visualize your ideal financial situation and be very open to opportunities that you notice as a result (creative visualization is a command to your brain to hunt for ways to make your inner reality come to life).
Be careful though – if you constantly worry about money, that’s a creative visualization too, and you’ll find yourself leaking money faster than you make it!
7. Fear of illness, disease or poor health
First, do not worry about something you do not have. The body has a remarkable ability to heal itself, so instead of worrying about what you might “catch,” focus on taking excellent care of yourself, beginning with nutrition. As Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Don’t put anything in your body that hinders its ability to maintain health! Your mindset is important too. Be positive, and fill your mind with thoughts of what can go right instead of what can go wrong (scientists have proven that persistent negative thoughts actually change the body at the DNA level, encouraging disease).
8. Fear of death
None of us is getting out alive, so enjoy every moment. Don’t waste your life doing nonsensical things. Do not avoid saying “I love you” to ones you love. Live your life to the max, in the present moment. Make the most of the time you have, focusing on making it great NOW. Immerse yourself in your passions and live a life or purpose. Choose to be happy NOW. Spiritual pursuits can help ease your mind too, especially coming to terms with the knowledge that we are spiritual beings who are having a physical experience.
9. Fear of success:
Yes, it’s true, many of us fear success and all the responsibility and burdens that accompany it!
“What would my friends think if I became rich? How would I keep people from wanting to take it all from me? I won’t be able to trust anyone!” These common fears can keep you from even trying to become successful. The cure is to visualize being successful. Go ahead, put yourself into a gorgeous mental movie of yourself at the pinnacle of achievement. Explore the feelings you have – if you’re focused on what your IDEAL life will look like, you’ll see there is no room for fear. Hold this vision near and dear to your heart at all times, and use that to motivate yourself to action.
Emotional fear always centers on a loss of some kind: loss of love, friendships, loved ones, job, money, health, respect, admiration, time, freedom, etc. Think back on how many times you have lost something in the past – and yet, you’re still here… still kicking, still living, still enjoying life. Really, life, is all about cycles of having and not having or loss and renewal. Think of it as moving from one room to another. You lose the experience of being in one room, but you gain the experience of being in the new room.
Remember that ALL emotional fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” You are very much in control here: in most cases there is ZERO evidence that your emotional fears will come to pass. If you are paralyzed by fear, you are choosing to focus on what can go wrong. Choose instead to focus on what can go right! What’s remarkable about this is that as you shift to this confident and positive mindset, the universe will conspire to assist you!