“Fear has two meanings: Forget everything and run, or face everything and rise.”- Zig Ziglar
There are two ways to approach the things we fear. The first is that we allow fear to intimidate us, triggering our flight response. As a result, we run away to avoid the source of discomfort. On the other hand, we might face our fears head on, removing their power. By rising above what we fear most we allow ourselves the freedom to move forward. So, ask yourself, is fear holding you back? If so, does it have to? A simple change in perception could be all you need to make the switch.
What is fear? Merriam Webster defines fear as an “unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” It is a vital response not just to physical threats, but also to emotional danger as well. We have this ability to fear because at times it protects us, earning its place as an important evolutionary trait. If we didn’t fear certain things, then we would lack the ability and motivation to protect ourselves from real threats. In earlier times, much more of this fear was tied to legitimate life-or-death situations.
While there is still physical danger in the modern world, the vast majority of the fears we experience are tied to emotional threats. More than anything we fear failure or rejection. In essence, we fear not being enough. While these threats don’t cause physical harm, the brain response is the same. You are likely familiar with the flight-or-flight response and the stress it puts on nearly every body system (American Psychological Association). Fear can reduce your appetite, compromise your immune system, make it difficult to asleep, and disrupt your hormones. It can even harm your cardiovascular health. Fear can also prevent us from developing healthy, fulfilling relationships with others.
Stress and fear are unpleasant, so we learn to avoid any form of confrontation or challenge, even if it could lead to a brighter and better future. Maybe you decide not to ask for a raise or try out for that community play in order to protect yourself from the possibility of rejection. In the past you may have had an unpleasant interaction that lead to embarrassment. Similar interactions then become fear triggers. The more triggers you develop, the more you run from things that could lift you up.
Often the danger we anticipate isn’t as realistic as we perceive. It is as though our minds are predisposed to automatically go to the worst-case scenario. We tend to inflate the power of things like rejection, embarrassment or failure. While unpleasant, these don’t actually threaten our safety. When balanced against the potential of succeeding in our goals, maybe the possibility of a little embarrassment isn’t really so bad, especially when we are working from a solid foundation of self-confidence and self-acceptance.
What would happen if you set an intention to see how the situation plays out before worrying about the end result? One benefit is that you would save a lot of energy. We exert too much emotional energy worrying and avoiding when we could instead focus our minds on more productive pathways.
Next time you encounter a fear trigger, ask yourself whether the threat is real or perceived and whether you are feeling threatened or just being challenged. Knowing the answer might give you the courage to step outside your comfort zone and face your fear.
Something amazing happens when you stop running and confront your fear head on. You’ll discover an incredible sense of complete freedom. You’ll feel lighter, brighter, and full of possibility as you release all the fears that were weighing you down.
No matter what it is that makes you feel afraid, recognize that this sense of discomfort might actually represent an opportunity to raise your vibration, if you are willing to take the leap. It’s your choice. “Forget everything and run, or face everything and rise.”
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What To Remember:
Fear plays an evolutionary role which enables us to survive.
Triggers may hold you back by encouraging avoidance of emotional discomfort.
Facing your fears may allow your vibrational frequency to rise.
- Fear. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. Retrieved from Merriam Webster Online.
- Fritscher, Lisa. (March, 2019). The Psychology of Fear. Retrieved from VeryWellMind.com
- Vilhauer, Jennice. (June, 2018). Should You Feel the Fear? Retrieved from Psychology Today.
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