Most of us are afraid of something, the dark/spiders/dogs/buzzy flying insects, whatever it is we all know that feeling when we encounter the source of
Our fear, the inability to walk past it, or to look at it, or to anticipate it, most importantly, the desire to avoid it. For my own part, I am afraid
Of flying, but perhaps more on that in a minute.
But there is another type of fear, a less visible type, which we often dress up as something else, but which we allow to hold us back none the less. I’m
Talking about emotional fear. Fear of failure, of consequence, sometimes even fear of the unknown.
This fear can so often be a barrier to the changes we want to make in our lives, because the more we fear, the less likely we are to move forward, or to
Take the risk that the fear may become a reality.
Emotional fear is different to physical fear in so much as that it’s not visible in the same way. But we do react to it in the same way by refusing to face it or to engage with it, by avoiding situations which may mean facing up to those fears.
When looking at physical fear it’s easy to ask a number of questions which point to the reasons why and how we can overcome that fear. Emotional fear is no different, it just sometimes means that we need to look a little deeper to find the reasons and the way forward.
When confronting a fear the questions I would ask are:
What are you afraid of?
Why are you afraid/where has the fear come from?
What do you think is going to happen?
How likely is it to happen?
What will happen if you don’t confront your fear?
and perhaps most importantly:
How could you overcome your fear and move forward positively?
In the first five questions, we generally have the answers if we think about it. But the answer to the last question can seem impossible, because fear
Can be all consuming.
So if we were to take a physical fear such as my fear of flying, the questions would be easily answerable:
What am I afraid of? Flying.
Why am I afraid? Because an aeroplane is thousands of feet in the air and the ground is a long way down.
What’s the worst that can happen? The plane could plummet from the sky to the earth or the ocean below killing me and everyone else on board.
How likely is it that the plane will crash? Well in truth it’s fairly unlikely; I am far more at risk from getting into a car. But flying is still my fear.
What would happen if I don’t confront this fear? I will never get to see the world, and many life experiences would be lost to me.
We’ll leave the final question for now, because in order to get to the answer there is still the fear to explore.
The physical fear is often more easily explored because the reasons are often more obvious. A fear of dogs or insects may stem from having had a bad experience for instance, and once you are able to deal with that experience you can work with the fear to overcome it. Although that’s of course not always the case.
But with emotional fear the reasons behind it often stem not so much from an actual experience, but from other factors which lead to the fear.
You may have a limiting belief which is making you fearful of taking that step to move forward. Or perhaps you have taken the words of someone in your life to heart which has made you fearful of change, fearful that you may not be able to succeed. The reasons are wide and varied, and may need exploration to help to firstly put the reasons behind you in order to face the fear and eliminate or reduce it so that you can move forward.
So in answer to the last question how can you overcome your fear? Face the fear. Face the things that make up your fear, then move past them into the change while leaving the fears behind you.
And once you have been able to move forward, the fear will become less significant, because the positive change will outweigh the negative that is the fear.
When it comes to physical fear the process is of course different, because physical reasons for fear are often more visible than emotional ones. But it is still possible to face those fears with a positive outcome. I will probably always have some fear of flying. But my desire to see the world is something which causes me to face it every year, and as such I have learned to deal with it for the time I have to. My life would be less enriched for not having seen some of the world. My fear brings nothing positive, and therefore I let the positive overcome the negative.
Let your desire for change be stronger than your fear of it, face the fear and move forward into positive change.