“Fear is pain arising from the anticipation of evil” – Aristotle
Today, let’s take a close look at fear. In times like these, fear plays a big part in our daily lives. Be it the fear of the unknown, the fear of something new, the fear of failure, the fear of being alone, or the fear of death – all those fears are somehow present in our lives and hinder us from truly living. How often do you use the word scared, or afraid on a daily basis? Some of our fears we know, but some are hidden or disguised. But what really is fear and where does it come from?
Fear = False Expectations Appearing Real.
How does fear impact our lives?
Fear makes us numb, it holds us back from living our dreams and achieving our goals. How often have you found yourself not doing something you would love to do just because you were too afraid of what could happen? The funny thing is, most of the time we aren’t afraid of what happens when we fail, we are actually afraid of what happens if it doesn’t – if you do succeed? This thought is just so alien to us and our mind and the change that would come with our success is not comprehendible, that we choose to stay in our comfort zone where nothing will change just to be on the safe side and not face our fears.
So we understand that fear doesn’t contribute anything good to our life and leaves us feeling helpless and stuck in our current life situation. Fear can appear in various disguises. As every single one of us is different, so are our fears, expectations and beliefs. The latter, is the most common obstacle, collectively holding us back from moving forward. But what are self-limiting beliefs? Well, that’s a whole new other story and I will write a separate post about this in greater details, but let me just say for now, limiting beliefs are the mind made self-image you have created about yourself since the day you were born. It’s the voice in you’re head talking to you and telling you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, the list goes on. Limiting beliefs are created by yourself, your perception of the world, your upbringing, your (social) environment and every single encounter, every attitude and opinion you have had and will have in your life.
By constant repetition it becomes so ingrained in your mind, that it eventually becomes the subconscious picture of your self-belief and determines how you respond to life and what you believe you are capable of achieving – eventually it becomes you. So can you see how fear and self limiting beliefs have the same origin? They are all based on a false self image and as a result hinder us from achieving our goals.
The mind’s role
When we’re fearful, we are controlled by our mind, feeding us with (false) information about a future scenario that could potentially of wrong. So we then spend a lot of time being scared about something that hasn’t even happened yet, and once again miss the very moment. If we then don’t go ahead with doing something because we are so scared of what could go wrong, our mind afterwards beats us up on our “failure”. The vicious cycle starts. Fear can only occur, when we are not in control, when our mind is taking over our thoughts and we allow it to get lost in them. When we’re fearful, we cannot think clear and are blocking ourselves from unlocking our potential. You have probably heard of people in life-threatening situations, having moments of complete clarity and focus, and the sudden ability to do things they have never been able to do before. Well, this is because they are in a state of no-mind, where the true power within comes out and actions become clear and focused. As we said, fear is about something that can potentially happen, not what is happening right now. So for those people, who have been in dangerous situations, battling life or death, there was no fear because it was happening already. So can you see how fear really is just an illusion of our mind? In the present moment, fear cannot exist as the mind needs the future and the past to create those imaginary scenarios.
A very simple exercise used in coaching is called the fear assessment. This exercise is in its essence just listing all the things you feel afraid of and assessing those fears in great detail and complete honesty. Really look at the list from an external perspective just as someone would have written them and assess each fear in its rationality. You can give each fear a score from 0-9, with 0 meaning the fear has vanished and 9 meaning the fear is still present and frightening. Take some time with this exercise and be as honest as you can to yourself. What number would you give each of your fears? And how scary are they after you’ve scored them?
How Mindfulness can help
Mindfulness can help in many ways, but the most important way of “overcoming” your fear, is by being fully present. As we saw earlier, fears are only a projection of our mind of a potential future scenario, so it hasn’t happened yet. By being in the present moment, and acknowledging it for what it is, fear cannot come to us. Being present allows us to be more centred and our true nature can unfold as it is not blocked from our chattering minds anymore.
If you would like to discuss more about the above and explore your self-limiting beliefs and how they hold you back from achieving your desired outcome, feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.lifecoachkat.com to book your free consultation and we can see how we can work together.