Overcoming fears

I have a fear of something and I want to face that fear to overcome it, but I don't know how. What can I do?

Alison Repp
Alison Repp
Anxiety specialist offering short-term therapy for lifelong vitality

Fear is a part of life. In fact, our five main emotions are joy, fear, sadness, shame, and anger. We tend to spend a lot of time and energy running away from or trying to get rid of most of those emotions and the more we do that, the more we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment. 

As a result of viewing our human emotions as "bad" or "wrong," we often get caught up in a trap of thinking we have to overcome them or get rid of them before we can do what matters to us. In reality, you can do what is important to you while having your fears! 

My question for you is, what would you do if this fear was completely gone? What behaviors would you have if you were the ideal you? What skills, knowledge, or personal qualities would you develop? What kind of relationships would you have?

I imagine your fear has kept you from achieving those goals because your mind tells you you can't do it until the fear is gone. I challenge you to do the following exercise:

  1. What is a goal you would like to achieve? Example: I would like to change careers
  2. What actions are necessary to complete this goal? Example: see a career counselor to determine my ideal career, go back to school/get a certification, network with others in my desired industry
  3. What thoughts, feelings, or urges might get in my way? Example: thoughts of "What if I fail? I'm not smart enough. I can't do it. I'm too busy to put energy into this." Feelings of fear, shame, excitement. Urges to distract myself through drinking or watch tv instead of taking action.
  4. It would be helpful to remind myself that: example: It is natural to have these thoughts, feelings, and urges but I can take action anyway. I deserve to have a fulfilling life.
  5. The smallest and easiest step I can take now: example: research career counselors in my area and write down their phone numbers
  6. The time, day and date that I will take that first step, is: example: Tonight at 7pm 
At least think through these answers but it is most beneficial to write them down. I hope this helps!
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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