Fear comes from the Enemy, and it plagues all of us to varying degrees. There are at least as many things to be afraid of as there are people to be afraid. Here, I'm not talking about being afraid of snakes, elevators, spiders, bridges and so on. I'm talking about fear that keeps you from moving forward in your life. When we are blocked from doing something, however big or small, it's fear that's in charge. I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not going to let Satan be in charge of anything in my life! For instance, maybe you're fearful of taking the leap and committing to a relationship. Maybe you're afraid of asking your boss for a promotion that you so deserve. Maybe you're scared to put yourself out there socially. Maybe you're afraid of standing up for yourself or asking for what you want. Maybe you're worried about trying that new business venture.
Fear is generated by negative automatic thoughts, or NATs, as I call them. These NATs are far more annoying and troublesome than the winged-variety gnats—even when they're in a swarm! So, how do we overcome the fear that blocks us?
- Start by asking yourself, "What are the self-limiting thoughts that are in my way right now?" Some examples:
- I don't have enough time.
- I should just stick with what I know.
- I can't do this.
- I've never done anything like this before.
- I'm not qualified to do this.
- I'm sure I'll fail.
- The last time I tried this, it didn't work.
- I don't deserve it.
- I'm not worth it.
- There's someone more qualified.
- Next, ask yourself, "What is it that I am really afraid of here?" Common fears include abandonment, betrayal, rejection, failure, embarrassment and success. Then, there's being afraid of being afraid. That's known as anxiety. Anxiety can work for us or against us. It works for us when it comes in moderation. It works against us when it's too high (choking) or too low (psyching out).
- Finally, ask yourself, "What's the worst thing that can happen?" You can't always guarantee success, but if no one is going to die or lose limb, you can get through it.
This process will likely be anxiety-provoking, and there may be times you want to quit. If so, tell yourself this: "What I'm doing isn't working, so it's time to try something else." Godspeed!
DISCLAIMER: Material on this site is for informational purposes only. The content of this site is not intended to be a substitute for evaluation or treatment by a licensed professional. Information contained on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a mental health issue without consulting a qualified provider. The use of this website does not convey any doctor-patient relationship. All material is the intellectual property of Jennifer Bellingrodt, Psy.D. The material is copyrighted and may only be reproduced with the express written permission of Dr. Bellingrodt.
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