Have you ever feared the outcome of one of your actions? Have you ever feared the outcome so much, that it paralyzed you to even take action? Have you drawn your worst case scenarios in as many vivid colors as possible? And because of this, you felt stuck? Ashamed? Anxious? Worked up? Stressed? Or simply scared?
Fear can hold us back and keep us small. Fear can stop us from enjoying the present and might keep us from experiencing some breathtaking moments.
And the saddest part: We often attract the things, we think about the most, also the negative stuff. Whenever I was afraid of tripping or falling off of something, I sure did. Let’s take my yoga headstand practice.
My Upside-Down Fear
Every time I felt strong and confident, my headstand was straight and I felt fierce and powerful. However, as soon as the thoughts of fear and self-doubt entered my mind e.g. “I’m going to fall over!” or “This time, I’ll break my neck for sure!”, my headstand started to be wobbly and shaky, and sometimes I even fell over – and it hurt pretty badly.
Sometimes we even fear our own success and self-sabotage ourselves only to avoid getting any closer to achieving our goals and dreams.
The truth is: Most of our fears are completely unfounded.
There are situations, where fear is a good companion and saves us from being harmed. But fearing anything new or unknown in general, just because we don’t know what’s awaiting us, is something we can try to minimize.
Stop asking yourself ‘What if…?’ questions, that’ll drag you down. Those are the worst. Here some examples all of us know:
“What if I fail?”
Then you know, that your project or approach is not working. At least you tried instead of fantasizing about something. That’s already so much more than others can say about their fantasy projects. Stand up again, put on your crown, use your new knowledge and try again. Failure is part of any success.
“What if she/he says no to a date?”
Well, now you know exactly, that you’re not her type. Truth hurts sometimes, yes. It’s still better to know how things stand in order to move on. If she doesn’t wanna go out with you, that person for sure isn’t ‘The One’. That doesn’t make her automatically ‘a bitch’ or whatever, that only shows that it’s an honest person and simply not interested.
Of course, this also applies to “What if he says no to a date?” for all those bold women out there asking a man out.
“What if I get bitten by an insect in the forest? I rather don’t leave the house.”
When I’m in Europe I spend a lot of my time outside. One of my friends lives deep in a forest, her house is surrounded by nature only. Calm, beautiful flowers, trees with dark green leaves, a small pond, fresh air and birds chirping – and a lot of little animals crawling or flying around.
Here’s the thing: Insects gross me out, I even fear some of them. That feeling doesn’t keep me from visiting my friend though. I have so many happy memories from her place in the wilderness, that I regularly overcome my fear of insects (imagine quite big spiders with hairy legs) to be there.
“What if I hurt myself doing XYZ?”
Whatever you plan to do, prepare yourself accordingly. In sports, have a coach or trainer show you how to do a certain move – or in my case, yoga pose – properly, before attempting it by yourself. Warm up, your body and muscles and joints want to be moved before doing anything unfamiliar.
Always be safe e.g. wear protective gear if needed. Don’t try to impress anyone, anything you do and practice, do it for yourself and not for someone else. Don’t assume your first attempt will be successful, be ok with practicing (and failing) a lot. That’s how everybody learns new stuff.
“What if I speak up against someone more powerful?”
Do it anyway. As Luvvie Ajayi says in her TED Talk (linked below), we need more people willing to take a stand for what is right, so others can follow.
If you must ask yourself “What if…?” questions, ask them in a positive way: “What if I succeed? What if I get that job?” and allow yourself to enjoy that happy fuzzy feeling that comes with those questions 🙂
So, be brave. Be courageous. Be fierce.
Weekly Nuggets of Wisdom
Here’s my list full of inspiration to read, listen to, watch and do about “How to stop being afraid” – enjoy!
…reading: Psychology Today – Choose Courage Instead of Reacting in Fear by Susan Biali. Super insightful article about how the author experiences fear in everyday life and what she does to change her behavior.
…listening to: Secrets by OneRepublic (Spotify or YouTube Version). What a powerful melody and song. I first listened to it while watching Disney’s ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ and fell instantly in love. Especially the beginning with the strings solo is beautiful. A perfect song to listen to whenever you feel down. I swear, it has a magical quality to it 🙂
…watching: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable by Luvvie Ajayi. What an inspiring TED Talk by an inspiring woman about speaking up and acting despite fearing the outcome. Please watch it. Only 10 minutes long.
…doing: Tell me: What’s your greatest fear? What does it keep you from doing or achieving?