Fear is a primal feeling. When we were living in the wilderness as primitive beings, fear kept us alive and taught us how to keep our distance from mortal danger. Lack of fear could get you killed in no time.
So as such it is not a very bad feeling, as long as it is not shadowing every aspect of your life. Fear is bad if it stops you from realizing your true potential, spoils your relationships and creates barriers on the path of your career. You need to overcome that sort of fear. Sometimes, you also need to overcome fear of danger, and a fear of circumstances. How do you overcome it?
In order to figure that out, you actually have to gauge your situation. Under normal circumstances when we talk of overcoming fear fast, we don’t mean jumping off the bridge to land upon a truck passing underneath. That would be suicidal and it would be better to remain fearful of that tendency. In this blog post when I talk about fear, I mean fear of approaching people, giving a presentation on stage, giving a performance, doing something out of the way to realize your dreams or expressing your true feelings to a near and dear one. How do you overcome that fear? Here are a few things you can do.
Accept that it is fear
Fear can manifest in many ways and sometimes you don’t even realize that that it is fear. You may think that you terribly dislike something and that is why you have such a strong reaction to it. Whenever you need to tackle the problem you first of all need to acknowledge it and accept its existence. Once you have done that, you can start figuring it out.
Distinguish between realistic and unrealistic fear
If the site of a single cockroach freezes your limbs and terrifies you, this reaction lurks on the fringes of an unrealistic fear. Cockroaches can be really creepy but unless 100s of these creatures attack you collectively, you are in no danger. Similarly, if you are afraid of driving a car on a busy road no matter how many times you have practiced, this is an unrealistic fear because millions of people drive cars every day all over the world.
On the other hand, if you are scared of jumping from the third floor then of course it is a realistic fear and by all means you should stick to it. These examples might not be appropriate, but the point is, you have to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic fear in order to figure out whether you really need to overcome it or not.
Explain to your self why you want to overcome this fear
There is a lady in the office you find really attractive but the fear of rejection holds you from approaching her? You need to overcome your fear in order to be able to approach her and strike a conversation. Want to ask for a raise but are afraid that you will either be reprimanded or outright rejected? In order to try to get that raise, you will need to make the effort. So whatever is your fear, sit down somewhere quietly and note down what you stand to gain by overcoming this fear.
Nothing is a matter of life and death, unless it really is
Really, a matter of life and death is ending up with a terminal disease or illness, being hit by a truck, being waylaid by an armed mugger, being attacked by a ferocious lion, being tied to the railway tracks or something like that. Other than that, every situation can be handled.
So the sky is not going to fall if somebody rejects you, bypasses you, makes fun of you or ridicules you. Even if that cockroach lands on you, it cannot crush you with its weight or bite you to death. Remember that, you can never, ever control how people behave with you, but what you can surely control is the way you react. If you think a particular physical or emotional situation makes you vulnerable, get out of such a situation on priority basis. Most of the fears originate when you are vulnerable. Stop being vulnerable and most of the fear will be gone.
Accept your place in the world
This might not work on a cockroach, but it will surely work on an individual. When you’re comfortable in your skin you look confident, pleasant to look at and more approachable. Remember that being fear-ridden makes you look worse than you currently might be feeling you are. Your best option is, even if you think right now you cannot improve further, is looking your best, and you can only look your best if you are not fearful.
Realize that fear is common
If not millions, there are surely hundreds of thousands of people sharing the very same fear that torments you. So you are not alone. Whether it is fear of cockroach or approaching someone you love, people have been in a similar situation, they are in a similar situation, and they will be in a similar situation. So don’t think that you are being singled out by whatever reasons.
You mean well
Suppose you have a fear of public speaking and after 5 minutes you have to speak to a couple of thousand people. What sort of speech have you prepared? What do you want to convey? How is it going to help your audience? These are the things you should focus on rather than how they are going to judge you and evaluate your speaking skills. Nobody cares how you speak if you speak from your heart, if you really mean what you are saying. Focus on that.