Fear is normal. We all have fears. But we don’t always work on conquering our fears. Why?
Because we think it’s hard.
And our nasty little gremlins much prefer if we stay cooped up in a big fluffy ball of self-loathing than evolve.
But here’s the truth – here’s what our gremlins don’t want us to know:
Overcoming our fears is easier than we think.
Sounds ridiculous considering the emotional intensity we experience during the peak of our fears, but trust me, it’s really true.
Take It From A Scaredy Cat
I was a very fearful child. My parents preferred using the term “cautious” or “wary,” but let’s just call a spade a spade here.
I was a silly little scaredy cat.
Afraid of anything and everything.
I didn’t have that innate curiosity like my sister who was the first to jump off the high dive and sit in the front car on the Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point (check it out).
One time, I almost didn’t get on a trolley with my family because I thought it would fly. I didn’t want to fly. And I remained very skeptical despite the cordial attempts of the driver and my parents to settle my nerves.
Things have changed a lot since then.
Nowadays, you can find me flying across the oceans, sky diving, scuba diving, hiking crumbly cliffs, singing in public (gasp!), and chatting up anyone within three feet of me.
How is it that a person whose natural instinct is to avoid risk and remain grounded can pull a one-eighty later in life and jump out of planes for personal enjoyment?
What does it take to convert fear to fun?
Allow me to throw a few words like “trust” and “confidence” around here now.
Simple, right? And expected?
In order to turn our fears into fun, all we need to do is have more trust and confidence.
But in what?
Oh you know, in ourselves, the Earth, physics, other people, perhaps a higher deity.
We can do that. Easy peasy. Right?
Fears Are Funny
Read as many articles as you like. Memorize the best fear quotes on Pinterest and listen to your favorite pump-up tunes.
You’ll still be afraid.
See, fears are funny.
They’re not tangible. They’re not people or ghosts or non-living matter.
We can’t shoot them, strike them, throw them, or negotiate with them (probably should have led with that one).
Essentially, we feel extremely vulnerable because we can’t physically defend ourselves against an attack.
And this feeling of defenselessness amplifies the fear such that we begin to spiral into a dark pit of doom like a penny in the yellow wishing well at The Ground Round.
But no worries. There’s a quick and easy fix for that.
Fears Are Just Unmanaged Thoughts
First, we need to realize and accept that fears arise in the mind.
We create them. And we’re very good at it.
Fears are just thoughts we’ve let rollick in our minds long enough that it’s hard to distinguish them from ourselves.
We see the fears as part of us, part of who we are. And, therefore, we cling to them as a sort of identity.
But we are not our fears.
Fears are illusions that our gremlins use to keep us captive within a retaining wall of egotism.
As long as we are afraid of what lies beyond the wall, we’ll remain cozy and safe within our personal Matrix.
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes. – Morpheus, The Matrix
How To Overcome Fear
Okay, here it is. The moment you’ve been waiting for. The antidote for all your fears and anything that sets you back in life.
This is how we overcome our fears:
Stop thinking about our fears.
Just stop it right now.
Fears arise in the mind and cease in the mind.
We can intercept our thoughts, recognize that our thoughts are not a part of us, and set those thoughts down and look away.
It’s that simple.
Oh, Were You Looking For More Suspense?
Okay, let’s use the gremlin analogy.
Imagine a screaming, flailing gremlin inside you breathing fire into all the nooks and crannies of your mind forcing you to retreat into emotional captivity where it’s “safe.”
The gremlin tricks you into letting it build a wall around you for “protection.”
Then, the gremlin tells you stories of monsters lurking beyond the walls, hungry for human souls, waiting for you to peek your head over the top so they can torture you and gobble you whole.
You’re terrified. You won’t go near the wall let alone peek over it.
You learn to trust the gremlin.
But here’s the thing:
There is no spoon. – Spoon Boy, The Matrix
There are no monsters. There is no wall. There’s not even a gremlin.
They’re just thoughts – very creative thoughts – that you’ve attached to so much you don’t see them as something separate from you.
But they are separate from you.
You created them.
And whence they arose, so they can cease.
All you have to do is stop thinking about them.
Think about it…