Keep your rational fears, and eliminate the irrational fears by examining them in the light of day.
Fear. It’s probably the number one thing that holds us back from doing things we want to do or need to do. We wallow in it. And yet, we’re living in one of the safest times in human history. In America, we’re afraid even though we’re the physically safest country in all of human history. We’re bordered by two oceans, Mexico, and Canada. Need I say more? Our top cause of violent death is being shot by a family member, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as people think (nor, given some families, does it happen as often as it should). Yet, we live in fear almost constantly. In this article I’ll tell you how to face your fears.
Is Fear a Part of Your Life?
Fear crushes life. Not fear like, “Oh, look, there’s a Sabre tooth tiger, let’s run away”—that’s useful fear. Dastardly fear keeps me from expressing myself by saying, “If I wear my fluorescent, crushed-velvet jumpsuit, people will think I’m weird.” Those fears may seem similar, but they’re not.
The Sabre-tooth tiger is right here. Judging by the teeth and the (ick!) smell of its breath, it isn’t playing games. Nor is it using mouthwash.
The jump-suit fear, though understandable, is made up. There’s no real danger. I’m at an arts festival, in a comfy chair, listening to birds chirp. A man in a leopard-print loincloth and body paint just walked by. He is not carrying a concealed weapon; he couldn’t conceal anything in that outfit, and even if he were, he probably wouldn’t shoot me over a crushed-velvet jumpsuit. The worst that can happen is he’ll think I’m weird. Or he won’t take my ideas seriously. Or he won’t invite me to play reindeer games with the other reindeer. As if I had any desire to smell like a reindeer.
None of these are the end of the world, yet I react as if the jumpsuit were a Sabre- tooth tiger. I’m scared silly by fantasies of my own making. But if I can make them, I should unmake them, too.
Overcome The Fear You’re Creating for Yourself
Face your thinking about fear because the thinking is almost always what’s scary.