The Simple Truth About Fear
It’s a beautiful, sunny day. I am sitting at my desk at home, which is housed next to the window. My son has taken the dog out, and I stop to look at them playing in the yard.
I hear lawnmowers and children playing
I see people running, or walking their dogs. Chatting with friends.
I am still here, sitting at my desk. Staring at a blank computer screen. My to-do list growing more daunting as my mind begins to ruminate on everything I have to do.
The fear that I will not get everything done, and thus be a complete failure is beginning to consume me.
I am paralyzed.
I will feel like the failure that I fear that I am.
Fear will win
Anxiety will win
I am not going to let it win.
We’ve all been there. Stuck in our fear, unable to move.
For me, fear resides in my need to feel accomplished. It lays dormant, waiting to breathe life into anxiety. If I let it, my paralysis will span the length of the entire day, and I will get nothing done.
I know this feeling all too well. In the past, I have let it take over. I have allowed fear to rent out a room in my mind. Over time, it has taken up so much space that one fear has turned into many. All those fears combined have turned into an anxiety that has dominated me. Sometimes it feels like there is no way out.
From Fear to Fierce
Living in Fear
Fear is that silent voice that screams the loudest, rendering us deaf to any other emotion. It gives us the message that we are not capable of anything. When living in fear, our mantra becomes
We become so engrossed in self-deprecating thoughts that we don’t even try to challenge them. Our thoughts are so powerful that they must be true. Telling ourselves otherwise is only going to end in disaster because surely if we try to do something for which we are afraid than we will not only look incompetent but also foolish.
No thank you.
The Problem with Safety
I’m going to stay here in my bubble of insecurity. At least I know I am safe here.
Safe from anyone expecting anything of me.
- Safe from disappointing myself and others.
- Safe from failing.
- Safe from looking like a fool.
- Safe from vulnerability.
The problem is that when we stay in our comfort zone of safety, we also become safe from positive things.
- Safe from progressing.
- Safe from reaching my potential.
- Safe from taking a risk and succeeding.
- Safe from greatness.
- Safe from a life of purpose.
Wait a minute.
Fear is a Liar
The road from fear to fierce is not as long as you may think.
Remember, fear holds us hostage, making us think that we cannot move forward. When we are in a cycle of fear, we are not thinking rationally. Go back and read the article about the brain being a jerk to learn more about that.
For now, what you need to know is the simple truth about fear. It is a liar.
I hate liars. They are bullies and gaslighters (to learn more about how to spot a gaslighter, listen to Episode 15 of The MindGal Podcast. Like a bully, fear feeds on our insecurities.
Know how to stop a bully? Rise above them.
What I figured out in my 20-year struggle with fear and anxiety is that the times that I gave into my fears were the times that I felt most anxious.
Sure, I was safe. But I felt bad about myself because I wanted to do better.
I wanted to be better.
When I faced my fear, I still felt anxious, but I also felt empowered. I mean, not at first. Let’s be honest. At first, I went right back to my sympathetic brain; the part of the brain that puts us into a fight, flight or freeze state.
Anxiety Doesn’t Go Away
What I realized is that whether I decided to face my fears or not, I was still going to be anxious. No matter what I did, anxiety was not going to go away. This an important realization, and here’s why:
- If we know we can’t run from anxiety, we are more likely to stop running from our fears
- By accepting that anxiety is part of who we are, we can begin to focus on lessening its hold on us
- Knowing that anxiety lays either dormant or active helps us feel less paralyzed when it does come along in full force.
Everybody has fear. Everybody feels anxiety. The difference is that some people feel these things situationally and some feel them chronically.
No matter how fear and anxiety show up in your life, you have the power to decide how long it stays.
So Now What?
The simple truth about fear is that it is a liar. It gaslights us and makes us feel crazy, incompetent, and weak. Here’s what you need to do.
- Recognize what fear is telling you
- Stop running from the uncomfortable feeling. Staying safe feeds fear.
- Recognize that chronic anxiety is not going away. But it can be managed so that it does not control your actions.
I have created free worksheet that you can download below. This will help you to identify what your triggers are that are causing anxiety, and what the fear is that lies behind those anxious thoughts.
We cannot tackle anxiety until we tackle our fears. We can’t tackle our fears until we know our triggers.
Now is the time.
You are worth the effort it takes to live an empowered life.