“The fear of facing your fears is harder to overcome than the fear itself.”
Recently, I have been pondering the origination of fear, in general and specifically to me. Have you ever examined your life and wondered how you survived some of the most traumatic challenging events? I try not to look back too often and keep a forward-focus mindset. However, when trials reappear in my life, I will take a look back on conquered obstacles, painful transitions and successful victories. I believe in the ability of human resiliency and the power of evolution through life’s fiery trials. But there’s no doubting the deep rooted feeling of “fear” when moving through the storms of life. Where does fear originate and how can we leverage it so we are positioned to be fierce in the face of opposition?
Did you know there is actual science behind the feeling of fear? Yes, scientist uncovered a gene that is linked to fear, the stathmin gene. More research is being conducted on this gene as it relates to trauma, memory and the ability to recover. For this blog purpose, I want to focus on the fear we learn.
According to scientists, people are born with innate fears and others are learned from childhood. I can remember the many fears I have picked up along my journey of life; including the fear of abandonment, fear of loss, and the fear of not having enough to survive. These emerged due to direct exposure to an event. But somewhere down the road, they were diminished by an approach to life that created an internal drive to be a fierce conquerer. Below are just three of the approaches I have taken, but I encourage you to assess your own strategies in facing your fears.
A. Change your thoughts: We operate in life by many “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. Have you unpacked these? Where did you learn them, who taught you them and can they be changed? Are they contingent upon roles that have been assigned to you based on gender, age, race, ethnicity or class? Question them, think critically and then enroll those thoughts into a transformation bootcamp.
I have challenged these roles my entire life that were placed on me by my parents, friends, church affiliations, different racial groups and different classes. Honestly, by challenging these societal roles, I have become more free, liberated and fierce.
B. Do the opposite of how you feel: Are you intimated by something or someone? First, ask yourself why and then do the exact opposite to how fear would dictate. Are you interested in a person, for friendship or otherwise, but feel the fear of rejection, or future failure? Then make an attempt to establish the relationship anyway. Talk to them, get to know them, be proactive. People are brought into our lives for a reason and allowing fear to dictate the outcome of that reason is detrimental to our evolution and purpose. Are you invested in a new career, a new skill or trade or want to go back to school? Fill out that job application, write that school entry essay, take those GRE’s. Enact the exact opposing step to fear. What is the worse that “could” happen.
C. Don’t let set-backs keep you back: I have done the above two steps often in life and I have not always come out on top. I have lost friendships, jobs have ended, relationships have soured, money has been lost and I have had to do major resets. But guess what? I kept going, continued to challenge my “shoulds”, and refused to succumb to the set-backs. I looked at every challenge as a stepping stone, not a failure or reason to sit down on my life. No one is promised a problem-free life, filled with just blessings and miracles. We all have varying levels of barriers. It is a choice as to whether you are going to knock them down, let them define you or block your opportunities in life. If you take a step back, take 4 steps forward and you will find that you are operating in ferouciosuness instead of fear.
Finally, think about the fear in your life and the level of control it has on your present and future endeavors. Choosing to address it, conquer it and change what you have learned will be the pivot point in reaching your destiny. Operate boldly, move forward in confidence and go after that which you desire.