How to Start Living When You’re Afraid

Photo by Lorenza Daprà.

Have you ever heard that cliche that goes: FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real?

In regards to most things, this is totally true. Fear is useful when you are in a fight-or-flight situation. It’s why you even have fear in the first place. It’s useful when you are potentially going to die.

It’s not useful when you want to go forth with something important and you freeze, panic, retreat, and go nowhere. You just stare at screens, eat junk, numb out, go to work, sleep, drink, whine about boredom.

(Psst – you’re bored because you’re ignoring your dreams).

So how do you get past FEAR?

  • Realize that your fear is not based on any reality. It’s based on your beliefs, ONLY, or possibly on things that have happened to you in the past. The best ways to get past these fears are to: A) Be so overwhelmingly passionate about what you are doing that fear can be bypassed by tenacity and purpose, and: B) Questioning your beliefs.
  • Do some research into people that you really admire, and see what fears they have overcome, and how. Nobody is immune to fear and anxiety when it comes to going for what they want. Realize that every person who has ever accomplished anything amazing has been just as human as you, and just as nervous as you.

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

  •  Ask yourself if you are afraid of failure, or success. Most people are unknowingly afraid of both. Success comes with a lot of drawbacks like criticism and usually a hard work ethic, so even if you manage to bypass the initial fear of failure, you may hold back for fear of actually succeeding. Don’t. We need you, we need your passion – nobody can please everyone. Can you imagine if everyone loved you?! Every failure is a stepping stone to succeeding. Absolutely no one, EVER, has succeeded at something right away. It takes dedication and tenacity. You must look at “failure” as steps on a ladder to your dream. If you were climbing, and slipped down a couple of notches, but the best reward possible was at the very top, would you stop climbing just because you slipped? Is that “failure?” Or is it learning?
“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”
– Sun Tzu
  • Get scared of the alternative. Ask yourself what will become of you if you don’t pursue what you most love. Picture it. Dream it as if it’s a nightmare (it is). Write it out. Draw or describe yourself as an old person, and feel how that would feel. Really feel it. Then do everything possible to make sure the opposite happens.
  • Write out a story of the person you’d love to become. It doesn’t have to be well-written – don’t edit it, don’t worry about grammar, just write the story of who you want to become. Meditate on how that would feel. The feeling and emotion is important. Then figure out your first steps to becoming who that is. Write about yourself as if you were a character in a novel – write how this character becomes an amazing, inspiring, beautiful human being, and then do the same things, in real life.
“What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”
– Maya Angelou
  • Take SMALL steps, every day. Even if they seem like the tiniest, most useless steps – they’re steps. These will add up over time, and your confidence will build, because you will see progress.
  • Remember that any fear you feel is only in your mind. There is no monster in front of you. It’s not real. The scariest thing to consider is a secure, boring mediocre life, because you get just one, and you don’t get another chance. Let that terrify you. That is far scarier than any single thing you could possibly be up against.

“In the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is, the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears.”

-Osho

 

True failure is not giving your whole heart over to what you love to do. True failure is not living your life fully. True failure is merely existing instead of really being alive.

You cannot fail, if you step bravely towards what you are meant to do.

~~~
 
Recommended Reads:
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway – by Susan Jeffers
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
The Possible Human – Jean Houston
Courage by Osho (epic – if this doesn’t inspire you to be bold and courageous within 10 pages, I dunno what will).

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