It’s crazy how often fear gets in the way of what we want. And a lot of the time, we don’t even realise it is simply fear, more than anything else.
Of course, there are other obstacles beyond fear that stand in our way, but… a lot of the time fear is standing right there too.
I think a lot is to do with society and all the expectations that come with it. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram play a big part in this. You’re constantly seeing the best parts of peoples worlds, the holidays, the tasty food, the freedom to travel, and fun times. Sure, people post sad and negative content too, but the majority of lives shared online is carefully selected to showcase the best.
Without knowing it, I think this side of social media adds a lot of pressure. I know that I have myself come away from a social media session, with thoughts like I need to do more, I need to be more, I need to travel more and be free…
We need to realise that, behind those happy posts, there are real people too. Dealing with challenges, and stress, and all the other things life throws at them. Everyone has their own —- to deal with.
Social media aside though, there are definitely people who do liberate themselves from life’s shackles and become their best selves. I find these people hugely inspiring, and believe it’s a lot do with fear or lack thereof.
The difference between the ones who live their best lives and the ones who feel stuck… I could honestly bet on the big difference being FEAR. This feeling that can become so overwhelming that it can physically freeze you in your steps. A feeling that is so powerful that it can actually stop you from doing something you want to do, and instead do something safer, without risk.
I bring up Sir Richard Branson a lot, and it’s just because, after reading his autobiography I was blown away by his lack of fear. Sure, I bet he feels fear, but either way, he faces it and goes for it. There were times when all the odds were stacked up against him, but he knew in his heart what he wanted it and went for it.
In the dictionary, Fear is defined as:
an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.
So fear is an essential feeling, one that gets us into protection mode to protect ourselves from real threats.
But nowadays, Fear has become another kind of beast.
And it comes in different shapes and sizes.
I feel my share of fear.
My kind is mostly the fear of not doing enough of what I love (work-wise).
I have certain deep passions, ones I want to somehow express, but I think it’s fear that often stops me from sharing them.
Is it because I’m scared people will judge it?
Or that my ideas aren’t good enough?
Or that I will fail?
Either way, fear creeps in and cloaks itself in the dreaded Procrastination. You push papers around, work on something else, put it aside for a while ‘because it’s not the right time’. When you’re actually just a scaredy cat. Basically, you’re avoiding facing this fear, and distracting yourself with anything else available.
Leo Babauta wrote a great post on Procrastination and the Art of Letting go – Read it here. When you let go of fear – the worry of what others may think, worries of failure or anything else attached to it – you can start to see a big change in your life.
If you’re wanting to live a fuller, happier life, start letting go of some your fears. Start with a small fear. Take note of when you feel the fear, and take some simple steps to start overcoming them:
1. Take note of the moments you feel fear
When are you feeling fear? The first step is to be aware of and acknowledge it. Watch your fear rise as you get closer to the thing you fear. Look it in the eye so to speak.
2. Stop caring what other people think
This applies to fears related to other people. This may not seem that important, but often we don’t express our true selves 100% because of society and what’s acceptable. The invisible rules of society. Perhaps we should play with the idea of going for it a bit more, and express ourselves a little more.
As long as you’re kind and compassionate, you can be whoever you want to be. So connect with yourself, and stop concerning yourself of what others think of you or what you do. You need to be happy doing what you love and being who you are, the rest doesn’t matter – At least not as much as most of us think.
3. Face it.
When you find yourself feeling fear, just face it.
Like the poet Robert Frost said:
The only way out is through.
Or like Winston Churchill said:
If you’re going through hell, keep going.
Of course, this does not apply to every situation. However generally, when you have fear for something, you need to deal with it. Be aware of it, feel it, process it, and then let it go.
There are so many kinds of fears we feel. There are some small tasks at work that give me a strong fear, and I naturally resist doing the task. What I find works is to just put the task on my schedule, and when the time comes, just do it. I always feel great afterwards, having just faced it and come out the other side.
Then there are bigger fears, that are less tangible. For instance, not figuring out to be my happiest self. Or not having the guts to truly express my inner creative spirit, and make something special of my life. That’s a big fearful concept, and a longterm project of overcoming.
4. Embrace being free.
Fear holds us captive. Letting go of fear, is like opening a bird’s cage. Our you fly, out into the open sky. The world offers more than we realise, and we make choices that take us places. Where do you want to go?
I hope that you enjoyed this little thoughts post on fear. Please share your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.
Have a fabulously fearless day today!