Fear seems to be epidemic in our society today. It is possible to experience fear out of anything: success and failure, endings and beginnings, love and loss. In order to overcome our fears we should approach them in different ways. Susan Jeffers, the author of Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway, suggests that there is an empowering flip-side to every painful interpretation of fear: helplessness vs. choice, depression vs. excitement, paralysis vs. action.
Similarly, Lisa Feldman Barret, the author of How Emotions Are Made, argues on the re-categorisation of our emotions to a more positive interpretation and experience. For instance, when one is experiencing jitters before a presentation, one should perceive it as excitement and encouragement to accept the new challenge.
I believe that our fears are largely derived from our upbringing and other social influences. For example, some parents might create an implicit fear of the world by saying things like ‘be careful!’ all too often when caring for their children and thereby creating fear out of things we cannot control. We have unfortunately become so fearful of so many things that we are even afraid of people’s judgements; these entrenched fears are passed to the next generations, if we are not careful.
In the modern world that we live in, we shouldn’t forget to surrender our fears to a higher power and we should strive to give up the habit of attempting to manage others and things that are beyond our own control.
It is also normal to want to avoid the things that you fear and in my work I try to help individuals to overcome it by using a method called exposure. It involves gradually and repeatedly facing feared situations until you feel less anxious. We should do that in a measured way, like climbing the staircase without skipping any steps.
I also encourage the construction of a more positive thinking and the practice of visualisation, mindfulness and positive quoting such as: “I am not a failure if I don’t make it….. I am a success because I tried.” - Unknown. Self-compassion, love, and psychological support can help individuals overcome their fears and live a more fulfilled life.