Fear is rampant. Turn on the TV and you see it very clearly. Fear is an essential physiological response to physical and emotional danger. If we don’t feel it, we could be in danger of legitimate threats. But often we fear situations in our daily, relational lives that are far from life or death. Usually these are personal fears relating to our own value and worth, or to our vulnerabilities and shame.

Fear, in this personal sense, is an anxious feeling caused by our anticipation of a perceived danger or threat to WHO we are and WHAT we do. What are some of these?

Types of Personal Fears:

• Failure
• Rejection
• Commitment or Intimacy
• Not being perfect
• Inadequacy-not being good enough
• Not being loved
• Parents disapproval
• Being a bad parent
• Inability to provide
• Negative emotions

Change in physiological and mental function is caused by fear which lead to a change in behavior. These behaviors are undesirable ones such as avoiding and withdrawal, acting out in anger, or isolating ourselves. Overall we get stuck, lose confidence, and fail to accomplish things in life that we have desired or even dreamed of previously. Of course, none of these fears feel good. We don’t want to have to endure these.

But fears get us stuck when we stop dealing with them directly, or when we are not intentional about understanding what is moving us inside. We need to be conscious of our feelings.

Original Latin for emotion means to
move, stir up or agitate- feelings happening underneath.

Any coach, counselor or self-help book will tell you that fears must be faced. Otherwise we are stirred up and agitated and are not sure why. Even in terms of phobia types of fears, like flying in a plane, spiders, heights etc., exposure and extinction of the fearful response is what is necessary. Why do some hold on, and why do some let go of fears?

Actions of People Who Move Past Fear

People who move past rejection, disapproval, or feeling unloved or inadequate, for example:

1. Have a Growth Mindset.

They know, and believe, that if they work on a problem in their life they will make progress and get better. The human brain has the amazing ability to change throughout our lives, and expand our capacity to learn and solve problems (neural plasticity). Attitude is a better predictor of success than IQ. Intelligence is cultivated. In contrast to a growth mindset is a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe “I am who I am and can’t change. I can’t do anything about it.” They are a victim in their own mind.

2. Embrace challenges.

Difficulty and even failure are seen as opportunities to learn something new. People who face fears think “success in life is all about how you deal with failure.” They keep trying to figure out why they are thinking like they do, what they are “telling themselves” (self-talk), and evaluate the feelings of fear that are getting them stuck.

3. Cultivate an open mind and heart in their relationships.

They express and talk about what they are feeling with a loved one or with wise counsel. These folks can be vulnerable! They attempt to understand the origins of the fears rather than place blame on their current partner. Did the fears begin in a child-parent relationship, with siblings, a romantic partner, a trusted friend? What is the shame or guilt associated with the fear? Taking personal responsibility for our fears is part of facing them. Refusing to take a hard look inside ourselves keeps us stuck.

4. Take action.

They put their attitude, courage and openness to work! No avoiding, withdrawing or isolating. Accept the fear, own it, and refuse to continue to be stuck move them toward a more wholehearted life. One of value, worth and confidence.

Fears are normal. We all have them, or will get them. But they don’t have to make us freeze and keep us from moving forward in our lives. Finding satisfying, fulfilling relationships and achieving our goals means facing those fears!

What do you think? Fears holding you back? Let us know how you are breaking through!