Fear used to be my constant companion, from little fears over being late or saying something wrong to bigger fears like not being good enough, running out of money or being lonely. My fears used to control me until I realized that it doesn’t have to be so. I don’t have to live with stress, anxiety, worry and other fear based energies, I can choose to rise above them. Now, a couple of years later, I have very few fears and the ones that pop up, I see as a challenge, an opportunity to grow, rather than something that is going to limit me. I know that if I face the fear and go straight through it, my life will get better, happier and more peaceful. If I don’t face it, that fear will always be there like a wall stopping more from moving forward with my life and that would be far more uncomfortable than the temporary pain of facing the fear head on.
Here is a simple technique I have used to overcome many fears.
9 STEPS TO OVERCOME FEAR
To do this, find somewhere quiet and comfortable to sit down, where you feel completely safe and no one will disrupt you.
- Identify your fear. It helps to write it down. The first time you do this, you might have a long list of fears so write them all down, and then pick one that you want to work on first.
- Be compassionate and honest with yourself. Your feelings are real so no matter how silly your fear is, treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Tell yourself it’s okay to have this fear, you completely understand.
- Think about the fear rationally. How is it helping you/what is it protecting you from? How justified is it? Where does it come from? Is this fear really yours or is it someone else’s (friend, partner, parents, media…)? What is the worst that could happen? Are there people in the world who don’t have this fear? What would you do, what would you life be like, if you didn’t have this fear? How is this fear limiting your life? Any other thoughts that come to mind.
- Take a few deep breaths to centre yourself and then think about that fear. Try to really feel it – the stronger, the better. Notice how it feels in your body, do not try to hide it or deny it. In order to deal with the fear, you need it to be present. If this step feels uncomfortable, remember that you’re in the safe place and fully in control.
- Understand that the fear is not you; see it as separate from you, like a parasite that’s managed to get inside you. This is a key step. You can even give it a name or imagine it as some sort of a little creature – whatever helps you to really see it as separate from you.
- Now, tell the fear that you’re done with it. Say thank you for protecting me but I’m now able to look after myself, I’m able to handle anything and I don’t need you anymore. Take your time and say anything you need to say.
- As you give the fear its marching orders, breathe deeply and imagine your heart growing stronger. Sit up taller and pull your shoulders back so your heart has space to grow. Imagine that your heart is the centre of all your inner strength and courage and it grows bigger and stronger. At the same time the fear gets smaller and smaller, until eventually your heart is so big and strong that there is no more space for the fear.
- Stay with this feeling of peace and strength for a few moments and promise yourself to never let that fear stop you again.
- The next time you’re in that stressful situation, pause and remind yourself of this exercise. Remind yourself that the fear is not you. Take a deep breath and feel that feeling of inner strength and courage, imagine your heart growing big again. You might talk to the fear again, say thanks but no thanks, I can handle this on my own, I know what I’m doing.
As you work through your fears, you become better and better at it. The first few might take you a longer time and several goes but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be busting through them at full speed. I like to imagine myself with a baseball bat, ready to smack any fear on its face. In the beginning, I was slow and a bit hesitant, it took a few whacks to get a fear out of my way but as I grew more confident, I got stronger and faster and one whack usually does it.
This technique also works really well with children; I’ve used this with my daughter to, for example, overcome her irrational fear of the wind and some social anxieties.