In many ways, fear could be a natural survival instinct, shielding you from both large-scale and petty dangers.
Fear may help to mitigate your careless propensity to risky behavior.
Yet, beyond a certain point, fear could be the end of you.
At the extreme end of the spectrum, fear-based behaviour could clump you down in a knot and prevent you from making any progress in your life.
Here’s how fear is holding you back and what you can do to overcome it:
Fear-based behaviour puts us on high alert for potential danger and keeps us from any chance of growth and expansion. It is that doubtful whisper compelling you to remain in your comfort zone and avoid ‘too much success.’
As a result, you will pass up on opportunities to grow your business or even launch another one. You will avoid new experiences. You will strive, perhaps subconsciously to keep your boundaries intact with no room for expansion.
Staying small here does not mean pursuing a strategy of being lean in your business or other areas of life. Rather, it means limiting yourself to opportunities and instead opting to stay ‘contented’ with the little you have.
What to do: Decide to pursue at least one opportunity today even if you are unsure whether you will fail or succeed. Then, pursue the next growth opportunity and the next.
According to psychotherapists, a substantial part of our fear stems from childhood.
We are fearful of being rejected, abandoned, smothered, not being good enough and these fears are carried on into adult life and projected onto relationships.
These kinds of fears are quite often subconscious and they can play out repeatedly in your life without you noticing or understanding why you are caught up in the same patterns.
Behaviours such as ambivalence, over-dependence, unwarranted mistrust, manipulation and abuse are steeped in fear and will continue to ruin your relationships until you break the cycle.
What to do: Become mindful and aware of your actions, thoughts and feelings in your relationships so you can catch yourself enacting old, fear-based behaviour and sabotaging patterns.
Are you ducking new experiences under the pretence of being too busy?
Perhaps you are shutting new people out of your life with your negative attitude?
Extremities such as being a workaholic, being adamantly skeptical, binging or maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle may actually be based on fear of the known or the unknown.
The problem with resorting to extremities is that it can keep you in a rut and prevent you from seeking out new, bold and worthwhile experiences. Alternatively, it could expose you to a reckless roller coaster life of highs and lows with no long lasting experiences.
What to do: Force yourself to undertake new experiences and prepare to be uncomfortable for a while. Seek professional help if needed and tap into your support network to stop the cycle of extreme behaviour.
When you lack courage and are entangled in a web of fear, successfully dealing with life’s challenges can be difficult.
Getting yourself unstuck from situations, dealing with hardship, keeping your life together all require some creativity and a pinch of doggedness.
You can see that surrendering to fear is a sure way of dumbing down your ability to solve problems and forever remaining stuck in the same situations.
What you can do: Instead of being afraid of hardship or uncertainty, decide that you will courageously face these situations and solve them step by step if they need solving.
Someone once said ‘Fear should be one of your advisers and never your master.’
When you let fear rule over you or when you give in to fear-based behaviour you lose your autonomy and innate ability to survive most of life’s challenges.
Ironically, fear-based behaviour can give you the awkward comfort that comes from being a victim. What story do you tell yourself and others about yourself? Is it a story of empowerment or a self-pity story?
A victim story sure feels good for a while. Yet such a story, steeped in fear, creates a sequence of excuses that prevent you from overcoming afflictions and taking responsibility to move your life forward.
What you can do: Change your story today. It does not matter what might have happened in the past; letting go of that fear and victimization will empower you to take bold steps in your life.
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones – Thich Nhat Hanh