What is fear? According to Google, fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” But as many of us know, fear is a lot more than an unpleasant emotion. Fear is the thing that holds us back, that prevents us from achieving our potential, that keeps us firmly rooted in an unhealthy place we want to move away from. So why are we so afraid of overcoming something that is clearly so detrimental to our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being – if not all of the above? The truth may be a little hard to swallow.
In order to conquer your fear, you have to first identify what’s causing it, and that can be hard to do. Whatever it is that you’re coming to terms with, finally accepting the truth puts you in a position of responsibility and action. And let’s face it, “Where do I go from here?”, “What do I do now?”, “How do I get out of this?” are all very scary questions that may overwhelm us to the point of denial and retreat. Acceptance equals action and that’s not always an easy thing to do – especially if you’re visualizing the ripple effect (or sometimes waves) caused by the rock (or boulder) you’re about to throw into the water. Taking things one step at a time is your best course of action.
Personally, the art of compartmentalizing is probably one of the all-time, most well-known coping strategies:
• Take all those “ripples” and prioritize them.
• Put each ripple into a “box.”
• Stack the boxes on a “shelf” from most important to least important.
• Once the “ripples” are shelved, concentrate and focus on the one(s) before you; the most important, essential issues.
• Most significantly, don’t revisit the “shelf” until the “boxes” before you are addressed and dealt with.
Compartmentalizing will prevent you from being overwhelmed. It will also help you to focus on the matter(s) at hand that require your full attention. Most importantly, it will keep you from wasting much-needed energy. Instead of having your attention and energy fragmented and dispersing in a lot of directions, which is counterproductive, you will be able to tackle one concern at a time with 100% of your resources. Think of it this way – if you put all of your energy in a bowl and used it to work on the matter(s) at hand, you would have 100% of your energy. However, if you put that energy in a colander, trying to take care of a hundred things at one time, you would only have 1% of your energy for each of the issues you are attempting to address. Additionally, that energy drain will lead to frustration, fatigue and a flood of emotions like feeling inadequate and more.
Accepting your “truth” is also helpful in that it will assist you in getting the help you need. What isolates people is the idea that NO one else has ever felt, experienced, or lived your situation. Humans have been in existence for over 200,000 years. The chances of any human being never experiencing what you’re currently going through is slim to none. Ego and/or embarrassment is what prevents people from seeking help.
The great news is that once you’ve conquered these two challenges – compartmentalizing and getting whatever help you need – you are on your way to not only conquering fear, but showing fear who’s the boss!
Do you have a specific way you manage or overcome your fear? We’d love to know, comment and share!
Photo from here, with thanks.