FEAR is no stranger to me, but I certainly don’t want it to be my friend. The feelings of fear play a constant role in most of our lives. FEAR can be paralyzing or liberating it all comes down to a choice. Is fear going to become your roommate or just a passerby.
Part of my life journey is filled with conquering fears. Especially fear of failure and fear of misfortune. My life as been such a rollercoaster, and every dip and turn brought about new concerns and anxieties rooted in fear. The trick that I learned is to understand that fear is not necessarily a bad thing. Fear is a necessary evil that can lead to self awareness and discovery. We all feel fear – child, parent, significant other, friends. Fear is real and you determine if it will consume, imprison, restrict your life OR be a catalyst for positive change propelling you forward. So how did I face my biggest fears?
1. I made a conscious decision that I will not allow my weaknesses to overshadow my confidence in my strengths.
I realized that our fear of failure can stop us from giving our all. As an OT working with kids who have learning difficulties for many years, I’ve approached weaknesses as secondary to strengths. I used strengths to propel growth in a child and thus building their confidence. Overcoming their weaknesses became less of a battle as their self esteem grew. I never focused on a child’s weakness, what he/she can’t do but what he/she can do in order to bolster his/her self esteem. I learned long ago that only when you feel a sense of confidence and self reliance can you face weak spots head on. If we don’t adapt that way of thinking we further encourage fear of failure which further pushes these kids or us to not accept who we are and move forward. I decided to take the same stance with my own struggles. I decided to NOT fear my weaknesses but become aware of them, use my strengths more effectively and as a result hopefully conquer opportunities that come my way.
2. I learned to understand my fear of failure.
I learned to understand my fear of failure and misfortune and accept the notion that there are no failures but only lessons. Yes failing really hurts, it hinders self confidence, it drains you. However, my experience also taught me that failure and/or misfortunes, if you allow them, can be motivators. I learned and become a master in putting out fires as they ignite and simply move on from failure to failure without giving up.
3. I have daily conversations with fear.
We all have inner demons which present emotional challenges. I realized that I have to be open to my emotions and converse with them on a daily basis. I know sounds ludicrous, but it works. Over the years, I’ve actually spent more time thinking about my fears than actually taking action. I’ve let my fears take control of my steering wheel and chose to stay in my comfort zone. That is until life threw some punches my way. I then realized that something positive can only come from confronting my fears. I needed to squash the negative thoughts brought by my fears and believe in myself with added fervor.
4. I embraced my fears, failures and misfortunes.
Embracing your fears and failures is a process. I first denied that my fears were the reason for not moving forward with my plans and visions. Then, I convinced myself that I just don’t care in order to avoid the guilty feelings of denial. Finally, after getting angry and blaming everyone and everything as to why my life is the way it is, I chose to accept my fears, failures and misfortunes. Only then I was able to begin to face my fears, misfortunes and failures and use them to my advantage.
5. I turned fear into fearlessness.
I started by validating my fears, failures and misfortunes. I needed to admit that I learned something from my failure(s) and/or misfortune(s). I was then able to make the appropriate behavioral change(s). I also came to the conclusion that forming a strong vision thats bigger than my own life and knowing the why and where, is what drives me through all the possible obstacles in my life. When I am afraid I pull back from life, so at this point, feeling the fear and doing it anyway is the only idea that makes any sense to me.