I've learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom - how great is that?Soledad O'Brien
When I say feel the fear yet do it anyway, I do not mean ignore, repress, or minimize the feeling of fear about doing something that is uncomfortable. I mean, feel the fear, validate it, yet do not allow it to stand in the way from doing, or saying, something important. Have you ever allowed your fear of doing something stand in the way and later had regrets about it? One way of minimizing regrets is to face the fear and work it through.
When we’re talking about fear, I’m not talking about the kind of fear that is experienced in response to a real danger. I’m talking about the fear that if not worked through may stand in the way of life enhancing experiences, more effective communication with others, and perhaps even increased self-esteem. If we don’t work through the fear we are limiting ourselves from having a more fulfilling and enriched life.
What Are We Afraid Of?
There will always be things that we fear doing. If we really are in touch with our feelings, we know this. With different situations, we may experience just a little fear, or a great deal of fear, or something in between. It’s unavoidable. Just by living life it is inevitable that we are going to feel fear at one time or another.
Some of the things we may feel afraid of are things we may actually want to do. Yet, it still feels scary and hard.
- We may feel afraid to share a need, want, or concern with our partner.
- We may feel afraid to lead a meeting in our community.
- We may feel afraid to approach someone we are attracted to.
- We may feel afraid to go to a social event or join a new organization.
- We may feel afraid to ask for a raise.
- We may feel afraid of traveling.
Other things we may feel afraid of are those that we may not want to do, yet it is in our highest good to do them. Such as how fear may lead us to avoid addressing someone that we feel angry at so we can resolve an issue, or we may evade seeking out a better job because we fear the job interview.
Feel the Fear
Often, we are not open or willing to share that we are afraid about something because we may appear vulnerable or weak to someone else. We may feel that we may be taken advantage of. We may be afraid to ask for what we want or need from our partner, family member, friend, or boss because they might get angry. They might say no and then we feel rejected.
Sometimes we may just avoid doing something without checking in to see what is at the bottom of our avoidance. Sometimes we may rationalize that we really don’t want to do something and not look deeper into what may be really going on inside of us. We may not even know we are afraid. During psychotherapy, I’ve stressed that one of the first steps to being able to do, or say, something that we are afraid of is to first notice that we are afraid.
For more tips on Feeling the Fear, please click on the link below for my complete article.
My wish for you today is that you can recognize when it’s only fear talking and that you don’t allow fear to limit you from achieving what you desire most.
-Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director Nassau Guidance and Counseling