I am 33 years old and just got my drivers license for the first time just yesterday. Most people laugh at me when I say this as if I am telling a joke, but it’s true. The next question I get is why did you wait so long? My usual response was, I would much rather sit on a bus and read my book than worry about traffic. I repeated this so often I started to believe it myself. Deep down I knew I was lying, the real reason I has waited so long was fear.
Fear is so prevalent in our daily lives that it has become second nature. We are unable to identify it when it rears its ugly head. Fear is smart. It creeps in slowly so that we find ourselves making excuses for what we are afraid of, and then it starts to grow. Sometimes it becomes so large that it can turn into serious life altering phobias, such as Agora phobia (fear of open spaces), cluster phobia (fear of enclosed spaces), or social phobia (fear of social interaction).So how do we know if our fears are limiting our potential? First you have to ask yourself; Is there is an area of your life you keep making excuses for? What opportunities are you turning down that could better your life? Are you avoiding an activity or interaction that may feel uncomfortable? The one way I am able to identify fear is the feeling I get when I know I need to do something that is out of my comfort zone, for example driving. I can feel this knot in the pit of my stomach, and I start to get anxious when I know I need to drive. This is my fear, and I have just identified it.Starting to deal with your fears is the hardest part. You are going to feel panicky and anxious and if your fear is great you may want to run from the room screaming. I know I have on several occasions. Ease yourself in slowly. If you have a fear of speaking to an audience, start off talking in front of a few family members. If your fear is confrontation, start to write down ways to communicate with the person you are having a conflict with. For me? I have promised myself that I will drive 10 minutes a day until I feel that I am ready to start driving longer distances.
I am not saying that this will work for everyone, but it is a start. Sometimes fear is so great that we may need assistance to deal with it. We may need a support system, someone to talk to, an expert that can guide us though the healing process. The first step is to identify our fears and know that there is a problem, and then finding the strength and willpower to deal with it. I can’t promise it will be easy, but the one thing I can promise is the new found freedom you will feel by conquering your fears. This is the reward you are striving for.
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