How to overcome fear

Overcoming fears

Here is an interesting subject that came up for me recently in coaching, overcoming fears. Our fears come in many forms, fear of getting it wrong, fear of commitments, failure, not being accepted and the list could go on and on.

Fear exists as a natural, healthy and vital mechanism to enable us to protect ourselves when we need to. It’s our “fight or flight” instinct setting in. The trouble is sometimes we give that fear a bit too much “air-time” and that fear starts running us and we can become gripped by it. Sometimes it can become so overwhelming it can actually start to run us and cause us to behave differently. We might start making decisions based on our feeling of fear which we may not have made were we not experiencing fear at that moment.

It can be challenging to deal with the feeling of fear. It can cause us to avoid situations, to behave in a way that is not truly who we are and to live a life that we may not be comfortable with.

Interestingly fear is just and emotion, a feeling and as it is a natural reaction to circumstances we can’t choose to not have it. It occurs within us. And it is appropriate and correct that we have it.

In examining fear I found out a number of things. Some of these are pretty obvious but sometimes it is good to be reminded of them. The first is this : everybody experiences fear. Yes it’s true, everybody experiences fear, even the bravest, boldest, most confident people experience it. Because it is a natural human reaction, we can’t stop our bodies from experiencing fear.

Secondly fear can be good. Fear seems to get a bit of bad press and I’m sure given the choice most of us would rather not experience fear. But fear is actually something for us to use to inform us about our situation. It occurs because for some reason we sense that things may not be quite right. Sometimes the reason is more obvious or logical and sometimes it is more intuitive. But it is an informing system.

But avoiding fear doesn’t make it go away. In fact we might think we have got rid of it but by avoiding it we are merely cheating it and it usually pops up again maybe somewhere else, unexpectedly.

The best way to overcome the fear is to learn to be with it. To become curious as to what it is telling you? Why is it occurring? And by learning to be with it and experience it you can then choose, either let it drive you and cause you to behave a certain way OR acknowledge that it is there, recognise what it is informing you of and then choose what you want to do with that new information. How you want to be from now on? Or I’m not going to let this run me today. It may be appropriate to react but it may also be appropriate to actually choose to do something else with it.

And that is the secret of overcoming you fear is to learn to be with it, so you can assess it rationally and choose what is next for you.