Fear plays a huge role in most people’s lives. Fear is something that holds people back from playing big and is very detrimental to one’s health. Here’s thing, fear can be a legitimate thing but most often it’s imagined and it’s holding you back from getting what you desire. The question is…why do we let fear hold us back from the things we want the most? In this blog, I will discuss fear and the role it plays in our lives and some simple steps to releasing those fears so you can change, and accomplish, your dreams.
Is your fear real or imagined?
According to the dictionary the definition of fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Are there times in life when this definition of fear is real? Absolutely!
For example, you may be hiking in the mountains and see a bear standing not too far off in the distance. Is there a real threat here? There could be. If the bear sees you and feels threatened, because she has two cubs by her side, she may choose to charge after you. Or, she may see you, not think you are a threat turn around above in the other direction. It could go either way. Let’s say, she chooses to charge you. Is the threat of her catching and doing great harm to you a reality? Yes… for sure! This fear for your life is warranted if you are getting chased by a bear.
Let’s look at another example … I will use this one from my own life experience because I have always carried a lot of fear. Let’s say you have a goal you want to accomplish… maybe you want to leave your job and start a business but you are scared that you are not good enough and will fail. Could this be a possibility? Sure… but is there any reason why you might not be successful? Likely not, especially if you have done the research to determine if the business is a viable idea, you have the knowledge, you have the education and the skills and you have the resources to get support. In this example the fear of failure is imagined. There is no imminent threat to you. Nothing is going to harm you and there is nothing dangerous happening. Yet, there are people around the world everyday holding themselves back from going after what they want in this life because of this imagined fear that’s holding them back. Why?
Why is fear holding you back?
Our world is inundated by fear especially due to the media, whether it be the news or online social media. The media writes stories to enhance fear in the public and companies, looking to sell a product, tap into people’s fear to illicit an emotional purchase as customers want to run from their pain. To gain more votes politicians stir up fear in the public, religious leaders use fear to control the people and parents use fear to keep kids from misbehaving. Fear is in every aspect of our lives and likely effects us more now than ever before.
Fear influences all of your thoughts, decisions, and behaviour but is flawed. However, making decisions solely based on fear is dangerous and will prevent you from living the healthy, happy life that you desire.
It isn’t always easy to recognize fear as the driving force behind your decisions because you are likely not paying attention to it. You may think you are making clear and informed decision free of fear when you are not. You know when your thoughts and decision are based on fear when:
- All you see are the negative aspects of a choice. These are the “what if’s” and negative aspects of what could go wrong rather than looking at all the amazing things that could go right if you choose to take a specific action. Of course its important to look at all sides but when your decision come from fear it’s hard to see a bright side.
For example, for many years I have been working a side business that I love. I know this business has the potential to offer me everything I want in my life such as the chance to meet new people, help people gain better health and realize their health and wellness goals and have the freedom to work anywhere I want from my computer. Yet, all I can think about are the “what if’s”… what if it doesn’t work out? What if I don’t make it? What if I’m not successful? These questions have held me back for years yet there has been no real reason why things wouldn’t work out.
After continually practicing the tips on how to release fear that you will later in this blog I am now more confident in sharing with others who need the products and services my business offers. The nice part is when I chose to break free from fear people started to respond in a positive manner and wanted my help. The energetic shift may not seem powerful but it is! People will feel your fear and they will feel when you are confident and coming from a true and vulnerable place.
Can you remember a time when you wanted to make a decision to move forward in your life but all you could focus on were the negatives of the situation? How did this hold you back?
- You react too quickly rather than thinking it through. Fear decisions are done quickly without thinking things through. This often results in making the wrong choice and feeling regret. Take a moment to analyze all of your options before making forward with your decision so you know you are making a confident, informed decision for your life.
For example, I was going through a tough time in my personal life many years ago. I was unhappy in my relationship but didn’t have the guts to leave. It started to effect my job. I was unable to focus at work and I started to hate the job, when I had loved it for years. I started to blame the job for everything that was wrong in my life and because I was too fearful to make a hard decision to leave my relationship I chose to leave the job instead. This has been a regret I’ve carried for many years because I didn’t take the time to really look at the big picture and make the decisions that were necessary.
Now I work really hard to think through my decisions. Look at all sides, the positives and negatives, and do my best not to make quick decisions based solely on fear and negative emotion. This has results in feeling much more confident in my decisions and feeling like I am moving in the right direction.
Can you think of a situation where you reacted too quickly, made an emotional, fear-based decision and ended up regretting your choice? How did you feel after? Did it get you closer or further away from your goals?
- You play small and hide in your shell. Fear prevents you from playing to your full potential and being who you really are for fear of rejection. You may not go forward with a great business opportunity or ask for praise because you are scared someone will say no. The question you need to ask is: who cares if they say no… but what if they said yes?
For example, as mentioned before I have a side business that I love. The products have transformed my own health as well as my client’s; however, because I am often scared to come off as a sleazy salesperson I do not mention it to people even though I know it will help them. So, rather than letting the person decide if its something they want I don’t even give them a chance to say yes, or no, because of my own fear.
Now, I visualize myself playing big and when I find myself wanting to play small I do my best to stop the thoughts, close my eyes and visualize me playing to my fullest potential. This practice is helping my release fear and believe that I am worthy of great things in my life.
Have you ever played small to conserve someone else’s feeling? Has this ever brought you closer to your goals and dreams? Can you think of a time when you did play big and stepped up to your potential? How was the outcome different for you?
- Fear suppresses your intuition. When the little voice of fear is in your head telling you to stay safe your “gut instincts” or intuition is silenced. It is much hard to listen to your truth when fear is present and make the right decisions.
For example, before being confident in my choice and knowing why I wanted to switch to a vegan lifestyle my mind, body and soul were speaking to me and telling me that this was the right path for me. However, I had many people around me at the time who thought it was a crazy idea. So I would start cutting out animal products and then I would eat meat when I allowed someone to make me feel guilty for not eating it because I was fearful of what they might think of me and being different wasn’t’ something I was comfortable with at the time.
I have been vegan now for about 10 years and am so confident in my choice that nothing could change my mind. My intuition continues to affirm my choice. I am now learning to listen to that little voice of intuition when making other decisions as well because this voice knows what’s best for me. All I need to do is listen and trust.
Have you ever heard your little voice telling you to go in a certain direction but the voice of fear piped up and you didn’t go for it? How did this turn out for you? Did you realize after that the little voice was right? Have you learned to listen to this voice?
- Fear will paralyze your decision making ability. Fear will send you into a spiral of thoughts and can completely stop your ability to make decisions at all. When this happens you end up succumbing to the fear and not do anything.
For example, I am in the process of getting more detailed and clear in my business direction; however, the little voice of fear places negative thoughts and questions in my head that lead me into tailspin of craziness leaving me unable to so much as decide what colour of pen to use when I write. This then results in procrastination and me not wanting to do anything but turn on Netflix and chill.
As I continue to practice the fear-releasing techniques I gain more and more confidence to make decisions. As fear starts to be released making decisions has become much easier.
Have you ever been so paralyzed by fear you couldn’t even decide what to have for dinner let alone make a huge life-changing decision? One the other hand have you ever been confident in knowing what you want and you made a decision right away? What was the difference? Didn’t it feel better to make the decision from a confident place?
How to release your fears and believe in yourself
As you have learned from the last list of clues to discover if fear is holding you back fear is an emotion that the ego uses to keep you safe, hold you back and render you helpless. You have also learned a little about my personal struggles and where fear has prevented me from achieving my greatest desires.
The good news is, like anything releasing fear is something that can happen with some practice. If you look at any successful person it would seem that they never feel fear because they are doing what they want and have already achieved their goals; however, if you ask any one of those people if they felt fear arise in their journey they would most definitely say “YES!” The difference is they didn’t let fear hold them back. They looked at the situation, analyzed the pros and cons and went forward in a planned and strategic manner. It’s not about the fear… it’s how you deal with the fear that matters.
Here are a few tips that I am working on that may also help you release your fears and accomplish your goals and truest desires:
- Stay positive. It is critical that you stop negative thoughts dead in their tracks. The minute you have a negative thought you must say to yourself, “cancel, cancel, cancel,” to stop the negative thought from getting into your subconscious and replace it with a positive thought. One of my mentors put it this way…a thought is like an order that you place with the universe. No different than placing an order online. Whatever you choose to buy, or think, will be the order that is placed. When you shop online nothing comes on a says, “are you sure you want that item? Are you really sure?” No, once you hit order that’s it. You’re getting what you asked for. Same thing with a thought to the universe. What you focus on is what you will get back. Therefore, if you want more positive in your life…think and stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people, think positive thoughts, and take positive action steps towards your goals and dreams.
- Focus on the big picture. Fear often arises with feelings of uncertainty or the feeling of being out of control as you ponder your life’s purpose. Just remember to focus on the bigger picture. That is that you are here for a reason. Be a good person, set out to help others and give value to the world and remember that it isn’t just about you. Actually, when you feel fearful about having to do something for yourself get out of your head and go do something nice for someone else. This will give you a sense of great satisfaction and help mitigate your own fears.
- Be authentic. Fear often stems from showing up in the world in an unauthentic way. If you are fearful of what others will think of you you might be tempted to change who you are be someone you are not just to try and fit in. If you are anything like me, and so many other people in the world today, we get so caught up in our responsibilities and what we have to do day to day that we don’t take the time to understand who we really are. It is important that no matter how busy you are you take some time for yourself everyday, even if just 10 minutes, to reflect, relax and do something that makes you happy. The more you take this time to care for yourself the better understanding you will gain about who you are and what you really want for your life so you can show up in your truth and as your authentic self.
- Stay inspired. On those days when you lose trust in yourself, or fear comes up, it is important to have a library of resources you can tap in to to help get you through. Perhaps it’s watching motivational video, reading an inspiring quote, listening to a podcast of someone who has accomplished what you desire and how they overcome their own challenges. Refer to these resources often to keep your motivation and confidence levels high and fear levels low.
- Keep learning. If you have a fear of something it may be because you just don’t understand it yet. So many people I educate about nutrition are fearful of taking a product, or trying a new meal plan because they just done’t know enough about it yet. However, once they know they can then make a confident decision about what they want. So, if you are embracing on a new venture and fear come up about it just learn as much as you can about it so you can take the appropriate action steps and have confidence that you know what you are doing.
- Stay balanced. Fear can raise it’s ugly head when you get overworked and stressed out. Even though you may be focused on achieving certain things in your life it’s important that you keep a healthy balance. Of course you want to be successful in your life but it’s about the journey, not the destination. Take time with your loved ones and spend some time alone to reflect and relax. This will recharge your batteries and help you gain more focus for the tasks you need to focus on to reach your personal and professional goals.
Fear is something that you will have in your life… it’s an inevitable human emotion. However, it doesn’t have to stand in your way of achieving your goals and dreams. It’s how you deal with it that matters. Spend some time looking at if you are allowing fear to control your decisions and then implement the various practices mentioned about to help reduce those fears and take control of your life. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you imagined!
If you’ click to learn more about how to release fear and gain more from your life, I encourage you to register for The Love Yourself Healthy Online Program.
Until next time…
Rachel Joy Olsen, BSc., MBA
Health & Wellness Coach