Fear is that four letter world that can block someone’s entire world from progressing. It can be broken down to a fear of spiders and extend to the fear of failing. There are so many levels to fear, however, in my opinion there is one developmental factor. That factor is experience. Now others may say different but when I track the origin of something I fear it always leads back to a previous experience.
Now one may say that previous experiences can create anxiety about the future. A long time ago, I told a mentor of mine that I was afraid of failure. And he corrected me and said I was actually 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 trying in fear of another failed project. The only way to overcome this fear was by trying again and not being phased by the outcome. This thought process helps me give myself a gold star for trying and a pat on the back if it works out. If I remained fearful of failing then it would prohibit me from accomplishing any goals.
Now you may say Renita, overcoming fear is not easy and I would very well agree with you. The only way I would have ever been able to overcome a fear is just jumping in with my eyes closed. I am aware this cannot apply for everything, but it has helped me for most things.
Now don’t get me wrong I still have my fears and I cautiously select them one by one as doing too many at a time will simply terrify me more. For many years now I have been afraid of clowns. No, a clown did not torture me or embarrass me when I was kid. This fear simply derived from that horrible movie “It”.
Not only did this clown terrorize children, but he tortured these same children when they were adults. I mean I thought clowns’ audiences were solely children…that movie still paralyzes me in fear. I thought by watching 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. Then on top of that, there were clowns on the news terrorizing people when I was growing up. So now in this country and probably other countries (I dare not research this for sanity’s sake) there are people 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 but to be honest I don’t know about that one. I mean it is a cemetery right next to that motel…how convenient.
I know like 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. These illusions block us from certain people, places or things due to our belief of being hurt and feeling unsafe. Overtime our mind creates cognitive distortions that actually seem real. I call these distortions mental carnival rides in my mental amusement park. From time to time I will purchase a ticket and some days I won’t, it all depends on the day.
A good example of this is my fear of public speaking and 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. So basically, 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 gets me through a speech and I will worry about the feedback as it comes. This is pretty much replacing a negative thought with a positive one. I don’t know if this is something you should do, but I get through a speech every time I do it.
One last point, I promise. There are some horrible experiences in our life that has 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 has or will experience some level of trauma in our life that will create certain mental triggers. Learning these triggers are important as you can communicate them to close family and friends that will help you not to freak out. For instance, I was robbed awhile back so I don’t like people standing too close to me. So normally I would edge up in line making the person in front me uncomfortable. Nowadays I politely ask the person to step back and everyone has thus far. It is 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 to you and the next person as they won’t get defensive if they know where you are coming from. The person I asked to move back, I just simply request it. I did not tell them I was robbed I just simply requested they move back. Now if you feel like you need to talk about some of your fears to someone please try a therapist or talk to a trusted friend.
I understand all fears are not a quick fix but in order 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 fit that description. But I will say being fearless is not a person without fears, it’s a person that goes toe to toe with their fears in order to live the life they desire. And don’t you want to live your desired life?