Fear is the most damnable thing to humans in this whole world. Read on to know how to kick fear in the face and live the life you want.
I love the song Drive by Incubus. It’s about fear, and how you can either choose to let fear drive you, or you can take the wheel and steer down your own path, making your own decisions based on what is true to who you are, instead of making them to avoid what you are afraid of.
Drive by Incubus
Sometimes I feel the fear of the uncertainty stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear take the wheel and steer
It’s driven me before, and it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
Lately I’m beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings I’ll be there, I’ll be there
So if I decide to waiver my chance to be one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine and hold my own and drive, oh-oh-oh
It’s driven me before, and it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around
Lately, I’m beginning to find that when I drive myself, my light is found
Fear exists to protect you, and fear is always going to be there. Always. You can’t just pretend it isn’t there. What you can do though, is to acknowledge it and let it come with you for the ride. But, you can make it sit in the back seat, and you can also set the rules.
Your ground rules for fear might be that it’s allowed to let you know how it feels. It’s allowed to warn you of things. It’s allowed to accompany you if it feels the need. BUT, it’s not allowed to make decisions. It’s not allowed to prevent you from doing things. And it’s definitely not allowed to drive.
When you let fear drive, you miss out.
When Fear Kicks in, What do you miss out on?
You miss out on opportunities and experiences
If you are afraid, you won’t step outside your comfort zone and try something new. And, as I always tell my kids – outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
A missed opportunity might be not getting a promotion at work because you were afraid to be the one to present sales numbers at your executive meeting. It might be not starting a new business that could be awesome because you were afraid of what would happen if you fail.
Missed experiences might be meeting someone new – whether a new friend or romantic partner – because you were afraid to try something new, either because you were afraid of the unknown, or you were afraid of looking stupid because you haven’t done it before.
You miss out on using your creativity
You might be afraid of what others think of your creative ideas, so you never try. You’re not only robbing yourself of the chance to exercise your creativity, the rest of the world is missing out on experiencing the creativity you have to offer.
You miss out on connection
If you’re afraid of not being liked or fitting in with others, you might hide certain parts of yourself that other people might really connect with if they were able to get to know you. You may be afraid of sharing your true self with others as a mode of protecting yourself, so you shift into being someone you think you should be. You might connect with the wrong people, missing out on the opportunity to connect with people who are more aligned with who you truly are.
You miss out on feeling worthy.
Doing things you are afraid of provides a feeling of accomplishment. Wow, I did something hard. I kicked ass and it feels DAMN GOOD! It’s such a great feeling and it even if you don’t kick ass at it, you will still feel brave for trying. Plus, sometimes failing is a good thing. There are lessons to be learned, and remember… falling down is only permanent if you don’t get up. So, in a sense, you are also taking away an opportunity to learn from your mistakes.
Letting fear lead you also means you miss out on getting in touch with your inner knowing, or intuition. Your “gut” feel. If you’re letting fear take the wheel, you are making decisions based on fear. When that’s happening, your decisions won’t be in alignment with what is true for YOU. When you can stop and listen to your intuition, you can start to make decisions based on what is true to you, and the more you listen, the more you trust it.
It’s all well and good to know what you miss out on when you’re afraid, but how do you stop being afraid?
I know what you’re thinking. Ugh. What? I don’t want to be afraid! Stay with me. As I mentioned earlier, you can still do the thing you’re afraid of when fear is present. Here some things that will help.
Three ways to kick fear in the face:
1. Know Your Pattern
Fear operates on a cue-routine-reward basis. That means that you experience a cue, or trigger (e.g. feelings of fear), which sends you into a pattern (fear-based behavior) that rewards you. With fear, generally the reward is the relief of stress or anxiety that you’re feeling because you’re afraid.
You can’t do much about life’s “cues” because there will always be challenges, and it’s normal to want to feel less anxious (the reward). What you can control though, is the middle part – the routine. The behavior.
Getting clear on what you tend to do when you’re afraid can help you overcome it. Do you bounce from thing to thing or have a hard time committing? Maybe you avoid certain situations completely. Maybe you are a perfectionist and you try to hide the “imperfect” part of yourself because you’re afraid of what others think. Maybe you’re a people-pleaser and are self-sacrificing to a fault for fear that if you’re not, you’ll upset others. Or, maybe you just focus on the ways that your circumstances are unfair and how you can’t overcome them, and that keeps you stuck.
Identify the pattern, and then seek to find a way to interrupt it. That’s how you can kick fear out of the driver’s seat.
2. Explore Your “Edges”
You know that feeling when you start to feel like you are stepping out of your comfort zone? That’s an edge. The moment when things start to feel a little uncomfortable.
When you bump up against an edge, get curious about it. Why is it “edgy” for you? What are you resisting? What do you think you’re afraid of? The more you can peer over the edge to see the unseen, the braver it makes you. And a little bravery time after time adds up to big courage, and at some point, you’re going to have enough courage to cross over that edge.
And then you’ll find another one.
3. Look at Your Values
Reflect on what is really important to you in your life. What drives you? What are you passionate about? You can Google “values” and find a bazillion lists of common core values. Go through a list and circle what resonates with you. Then, narrow it down to three to five. Yes, you must narrow it down. This is important.
Your values light your way in this world, and knowing them well helps you make decisions and speak your truth. When faced with a situation in which you’re afraid, you can draw on those values to follow, instead of your fear.
Facing fears is never easy
You’re not going to get over the hurdle every time. Just remember, that fear has a place, but it is often not serving you in the way it thinks it is. Identify your fear patterns (the things you do when you’re afraid), explore those edges and always follow what is true to who YOU are.
What are some ways that fear shows up for you? Do you let it drive, or are you able to take the wheel and steer yourself?
Written by: Kortney Rivard
Originally appeared on: kortneyrivard.com
Republished with permission