Fear is that four-letter word that can block someone’s entire world from progressing. In my opinion, the one common factor is experience. Now others may say different, however, when I track the origin of something I fear it always leads back to a previous experience.
Previous experiences can create anxiety about the future. A long time ago, I told a mentor of mine that I was afraid of failure. He corrected me by saying I was fearful of being successful at something and failing from the attempt. This perspective sparked a different outlook as I have tried countless things in life only for them to flop. This experience led me to stop entering projects with the idea I will fail. The only way to overcome this fear was by trying again and learn from the outcome. Going forward, I give myself a gold star for trying and a pat on the back when it works out.
Now you may say Renita, “overcoming fear is not easy and I would very well agree with you”. The only way I overcome fear is just jumping in with my eyes closed. I am aware this cannot apply to everything, but it has helped me with most things.
I still have my fears and I cautiously attempt to conquer them one by one. I do not try to conquer too many fears at a time to not terrify myself. For many years now I have been afraid of clowns. No, a clown did not torture me or embarrass me when I was a kid. This fear simply derived from that horrible movie “It”.
Not only did this clown terrorize children, but he also tortured these same children when they were adults. Initially, I thought clowns’ audiences were solely children…but after watching that movie the thought of clowns paralyzes me in fear. I watched it again as an adult would help but nope! I’m still terrified of this…
No matter what type of clown is in front of me I always picture them as the “It” clown. On top of that, years later clowns were headlined in the news terrorizing and murdering people. Presently in this country and probably other countries (I dare not research this for sanity’s sake) people are dressing up as clowns harming others. This fact does not help at all. I read about a clown hotel in Tonopah, Nevada, and was tempted to visit to overcome my fear, I am honestly still thinking about it. Did I mention it’s a cemetery right next to that motel, just spooky?
With any profession, there are good clowns and not all of them are bad but my fear of them won’t allow me to believe that; so I remain in my fantasy. Fantasy- yes that is what most fears are. Overtime our mind creates cognitive distortions that seem real. I call these distortions crazy rides in my mental amusement park.
A good example of this is my fear of public speaking. It’s not so much the words coming out of my mouth; it’s the fear of sounding ridiculously stupid and no one understanding my point. In my head, I’m thinking “they think I’m a Moran”. When in actuality they could be grasping my point or enjoying my speech. To shield myself from this fear I tell myself people are interested in what I have to say. Even if they are not, this thought helps me get through a speech and I won’t worry about the feedback until it is over. I don’t know if this is something you should do, but it helps me get out of my head.
Some horrible experiences in our life have hindered us from living. People like to throw P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in there like it’s unique to certain people, but all of us have or will experience some level of trauma in our life that will create certain mental triggers. Learning these triggers is important as you can communicate them to close family and friends that will help you not to freak out. For instance, I was robbed a while back so I don’t like people standing too close to me. At first, I would edge up in line making the person in front me uncomfortable. I’ve learned to politely ask the person to step back and everyone has thus far.
Our triggers are not the fault of others if we do not speak up about our triggers. It is our responsibility to say something. You are entitled to feel how you feel because they are YOUR feelings and you don’t have to apologize or expound on your reasons for feeling the way you do.
Communicating your triggers to others is helpful for you and others. People may not get as defensive if they know what sets you off. When I am in line asking the person behind me to move back, I just simply request it. I do not tell them I was robbed I just simply request they move back.
I understand all fears are not a quick fix but to overcome them, you have to face them. The more you ignore these feelings the more they hinder you from living the life you deserve. I will not sit here and say there is a life free from fears as I have yet to meet a person that fits that description, I would interject that being fearless does not mean a person does not have fears. It’s simply a person that faces their fears to live the life they desire. And don’t you want to live your desired life?