I have a friend who is so terrified of literally everything, she practically sits at home and hibernates. She’s even rarely willing to engage in serious conversations because she’s afraid of the possible outcome. Sometimes it gets to the point where she sabotages her own relationships. Now, if you’re thinking “this doesn’t sound like much of a life,” then you’re right! It doesn’t! The thing about fear is that it’s totally natural and understandable. We’re all afraid of something, it just looks different. Maybe you’re afraid of scary movies or heights. Maybe you’re afraid to say no. Maybe you’re afraid of rejection or taking risks. Maybe it’s all of the above, and it makes sense! Life can be a pretty scary place and situations may arise that cause us to pause and maybe even retreat, especially when we can’t anticipate the consequence, but when we allow fear to control us to the point where we’re paralyzed, well, that’s when we’ve got to put in some work and decide to either Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise.
Okay, I know that there are varying degrees of fear and that this is an oversimplification of the way in which both fear and anxiety operate, but I think these tips could be a good starting point for the work that’s necessary for healing and actual living.
First, try to identify and reflect on the source of the fear. Some may see this statement and think it means “what am I afraid of” but I want you to take this a step further and ask yourself “why am I afraid of this?” What’s the rationale behind your fear(s)? What’s driving it? While the “Forget Everything And Run” approach to fear is certainly the easiest route, it’s also the least effective and most dangerous as there is a 100% chance that what’s controlling you now will keep controlling you. It will become a lifelong problem that you won’t be able to ignore forever. Instead, try meditating as a good way to think deeply about why you’re afraid so that you’re not only treating the symptom, but you’re actually treating the cause.
Next, reprogram your thoughts. Our minds are powerful machines that have the ability to nurture us or destroy us. If we change how we think, we can change how we live. A great tool to incorporate into your life is affirmations. Remind yourself that you are strong enough to conquer that mountain, and while things may feel like they are falling apart, tomorrow is a new day, the end of the tunnel is near, and victory is yours. Claim it!
Finally, keep working. This is hard work and it’s also messy work that takes time and patience, practice and perseverance. Just ask yourself if you want a temporary fix or a permanent solution. And if it’s the latter, and I hope it will be, then keep fighting hard. Give it all you’ve got, and more. It is a mental game, after all.
Fear is not a weakness or something we should be ashamed of, but it’s also not something that should control us either. When we’re faced with a challenge, we have two options: to either Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise. Some days we may not have enough energy to face our fears head-on, and that’s okay, but neither is completely giving in to them either.
How do you approach fear and anxiety? Comment below!