Fear usually isn’t anyone’s favorite topic to discuss and has historically been essential to our survival. The great news is, it doesn’t have to be that way moving forward. Paying attention to fear got us to where we are today, but it’s not helpful in getting us to where we want to go.
Think about that for a second. Most of what we DON'T DO is because of fear. We allow it to hold us back because we typically try to avoid uncomfortable feelings and fear is high on the list of feelings that leave us uncomfortable.
The great thing is that 9 times out of 10 in today’s world, fear only leaves us with mild discomfort. We can feel fear and know that whatever is causing it won’t cause any severe damage or worse, kill us. That may sound extreme, but our brains are wired to be on high alert when we feel fear as a defense mechanism to keep us from literally dying. This defense mechanism is how we survived those ancient predatory dangers like saber-toothed tigers. Nowadays, scientists refer to this part of our brain as our reptilian brain.
So, how do we work through the uncomfortable feeling of fear and take action anyway? We dive into the definition of fear. It starts with:
“. . . AN UNPLEASANT EMOTION CAUSED BY A BELIEF . . . that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.”
Now that we’ve looked at the definition of fear, let’s take a closer look at what makes up our belief system. A BELIEF is formed when a thought is combined with a feeling and this thought + feeling combination is repeated over and over. Beliefs literally ARE why we take action and why we don't take action. When we feel fear in life, it’s usually because we have created a belief that a certain action will cause us to feel pain or danger.
Let’s break that down even further. In our daily lives, regardless of how hyped up the news has become, very few of us actually deal with real danger, This means that fear usually boils down to the fear of feeling pain. A.K.A. discomfort. This phenomenon causes us to live the precious moments of our life avoiding even the POSSIBILITY of feeling discomfort.
That’s nuts, right? And yet, that is how our brains are wired - to avoid danger and pain (a.k.a. discomfort). Take a moment and think about how fear shows up in your daily life. Do you experience:
If you said yes to any of these, know that you are not alone! The feeling of fear is a normal part of the human experience. You can work through discomfort caused by fear and chances are, you already have.
Have you ever committed to a relationship? Started a new job? Started a business? Graduated from high school or college? Congratulations! All of these life events required you to feel discomfort and fear, yet you did them anyway.
Now, take a moment and imagine what a day in your life would look like if you had no fear. Think of how many things you would just do, without a second, or third, thought about it. Ask yourself "What do I avoid because of the fear of feeling discomfort?" Challenge that unconscious belief by doing something WHILE feeling uncomfortable.
Discomfort won't kill you. It’s a necessary and natural feeling on the pursuit of the life you desire. Be open to the feeling of fear and discomfort and relish in the freedom that comes from working through your fears. What you really want is just on the other side of your fear.
That’s it for today’s #ReLTalk.
P.S. - what anyone else thinks about you and your behavior is none of their business. What you think of yourself is! Be gentle with yourself as the web of confusion is lifted and you become even clearer on how to get what you want for your life. It will require you to know and practice the things I teach on this blog but you can do it! You’ve got this and I’ve got you!
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