When was the last time you deliberately jumped off a cliff?
Today? Yesterday? Last week? Can’t remember? Never, maybe? Of course not. Who would jump off a cliff if he can’t fly, right?
One of the best counter strategies is supposed to be confronting your fear whenever you can to get rid of it. Hate it? Me too.
Confronting your fear is one of the worst things to suggest to someone who is suffering from fear. You don’t tell a person who can’t swim to jump into the middle of the ocean, do you? Yet, when it comes to fear it is a whole different story.
- Because most of the situations we fear or worry about are not the tiniest bit dangerous or embarrassing, yet we are feeling the urge to escape immediately as if our life depended on it. In fact, they might be unpleasant or uncomfortable, but nothing to worry about actually.
- We already have everything at hand to handle the situation. We just lost the ability to trust our inner strength – and that’s when fear takes over.
If we don’t expose ourselves, nothing can happen to us. On the other hand, if we don’t dare to look at what could happen, we are probably about to miss the best possible life.
What I Have Learned About Confronting Fear
I have confronted my fears thousands of times. I still live with my fears. Yes, that’s right – I live with them. Despite, I live the life I want. It’s because I don’t accommodate my fears anymore; I don’t avoid them. I know exactly when fear is going to haunt me, but I can live with it. I have learnt to handle the critical situations. In fact, it’s best if I confront myself on a regular basis, again and again. And honestly, it sucks, but this is how I’m getting used to it. Confronting can help you get back on track. It might not be the miracle wand to make fear go away once and for all, but it makes you feel good about yourself if you try.
As long as you let fear control you and the circumstances you should yourself be exposing to, you will never be able to lead a self-determined life. I’ve made the decision that letting myself be limited by fears is not the way I want to live – and I hope you’re going to, as well.
It’s Going to Be Painful First
In the beginning, each time you confront your fears you feel the urge to elude the situation. You are going to think “Why am I doing this to myself? I just can’t do it. I’m going to faint – or worse.” It might sound crazy to tell you this before you have even tried, but I believe it is always better to know what’s coming. You have to force yourself to hang in there. Otherwise, the moment you are running off the sense of relief is going to be the best in the world. I’ve done it before. I’ve ran away one too many times. Unfortunately, the relief doesn’t last long enough to suppress the thoughts that come afterwards: What if?
What if I had told my boss that I deserved the promotion? What if I had talked to that cute guy? What if I had taken that flight? We start imagining ourselves succeeding in the very situations we have just avoided. Deep in our hearts we know that we could have managed to act fearlessly, but somehow we grew to trust a feeling gone wild. If you stop trying to fight your fear, you’ll undermine your inner strength again and again.
Whatever it is you are worried about and no matter how you are going to handle it, there will be a result in the end. If you prefer to avoid confrontation, you have made the decision not to live a life on your own terms.
Often, we tend to think just about the negative consequences, but there’s always another truth. Confronting not only means actively enduring a feared situation, but also enabling ourselves to cope with the results of that action. It might feel terrible first; it will get better in time.
There’s nothing to lose apart from not living the life you want if you keep remaining passive.
Confronting Fear The Easy Way?
It’s never gonna be easy; you know that. You just don’t have to make it harder for yourself than necessary. Let’s come back to the example of swimming. If you have decided to learn it or pick it up again, you don’t jump right in, do you? You have a look at the pool, test the water temperature, see how deep it is. And then you get in, slowly. You know how to do it but at first you feel a bit shaky. That’s ok. As long as you take tiny steps you’re about to start the adventure.
- Don’t Start With The Hardest Task
You don’t have to make up for lost time. It’s necessary to take action at least. Start with what seems easiest and tangible. e.g. If you’re shy why not ask a stranger for directions?
- Acknowledge That You Are Still Ok
Nothing happened, except for your breaking out of your imaginary cage and making new experiences. Don’t make the mistake to be disappointed by yourself if you are still feeling fear, even if you have just confronted the “worst” scenario ever. That’s normal. It’s about getting used to it.
- Give Yourself a Pat on the Shoulder
No matter how tiny the step, write it in your diary, tell a friend and be proud that you have made it this far. Don’t let your inner critic tell you that what you have accomplished is peanuts.
- Think About the Next Step
Try to repeat a certain step as often as necessary until you think you can handle the next one. Once you start wondering why you’ve ever feared the first step you’re ready to move on.
There is never an easy way out, but if it were easy everybody could do it. Each of us has to face challenges in their lives. As long as you can manage to take on your fear as a challenge, you are going to be much stronger tomorrow than you’re today. A challenge is just an obstacle you need to get out of your way.
When was the last time you deliberately confronted yourself with a situation you are afraid of? How did you manage to get through it? Please share your thoughts below.