What scares you? Spiders? Heights? Speed? Zombies? Psycho Serial Killers? Covid-19? Fear steals your peace. It is very hard to experience inner peace when you are scared to death!
We have a natural fight or flight response when confronted by perceived danger. This quick response has kept the human race alive. We should have a healthy respect for venomous spiders. We should understand the danger of heights or speed that can kill us. Zombies, not so much. Psycho Serial Killers, although real, pose a very, very, very, small potential threat to our lives.
When we have an unhealthy fear of something, we call it a phobia, the Greek word for fear. The word includes an element of apprehension and dread. When I was a kid, I would have nightmares about spiders. My solution was sleeping on the floor. Not very rational, I know. Somehow, if spiders were in my bed, they would not be on the floor. I could probably blame my older brother for filling my mind with spider stories. Watching some horror movies with spiders did not help. I developed a fear of spiders. The fear was not debilitating, just annoying. Still, today I would not feel comfortable with a tarantula crawling up my arm. Otherwise, no reoccurring nightmares. I have slept in my bed since early childhood.
We all have fears on a continuum, from debilitating to very mild. For most of us, fear can paralyze us from moving forward in our lives and steal our peace. Here are three tips that can help you overcome fear, have peace, and live a life of courage:
- Fight Through Fear By Thoughts. Every fear begins in the mind. We often imagine the worst instead of dreaming the best. The battle of your mind is a very real fight. We must overcome the imposter syndrome to move forward toward our dreams. The reality? Every single person whom you would call successful had to overcome the imposter syndrome and repeated failures. Regardless of the fear, the starting point is the mind. Fight through your thoughts and change your fear to peace.
- Fight Through Fear by Exposure. Inch by inch, anything is a cinch. Small, incremental, repeated exposure to our source of fear often desensitizes us. When asked about fears, many people list the fear of public speaking. Toastmasters understand the fear and help their members slowly work toward the confidence of speaking in front of others. One year of consistently speaking and watching others fight through their fears breeds confidence and peace.
- Fight Through Fear by Action. Sometimes we just need to jump. We can inch up to the water. Dip our toes. At some point, we must get in. The last push is often the greatest challenge. The point of no return. Sink or swim. Well, hopefully a lifeguard is nearby. You get the point. Once beyond the point of no return, and the worst did not happen, often comes the surge of adrenaline and extreme confidence. We did it! As kids, we often return over and over again to experience the fun instead of the fear.
So what is holding you back? What is stealing your peace? No better time than now to fight through what frightens you. This is no trick. But there is a huge treat when you fight through your fear and find peace.