It can be tempting to turn away when faced with seemingly overwhelming challenges. But there is great power and transformation when you find the courage to stand strong in the face of fear and anxiety.
Let us be clear: we are not referring to the kind of immediate fear generated by a crisis, but instead of the kind of fear and anxiety we generate within our own minds, the story we tell ourselves.
It is inevitable to feel discomfort, anxiety or fear when faced with a situation that is either unfamiliar or reflects a past experience which was uncomfortable. This anxiety is hard-wired; the ego speaks up, as it is intended to do, warning you away to protect you. When you notice the thought, “I can’t do this,” ask yourself if that is true, really true. Ask yourself the deeper questions – “What am I truly afraid of? What is underneath this feeling?” Accept that you feel what you feel, without judging it as negative or weak.
You may find it helpful to write down what would happen if you pushed through the fear face the fear full on and take the action that is resisted with the fear thoughts. Or conversely if you choose the route of not facing the fear and of inaction. You may find clarity in this exercise. Then take action! Action creates its own momentum, and you may find that the next step and the next come more easily.
Notice how your body feels in each situation. You can learn to breathe deeply, or to loosen and stretch your neck and shoulder muscles, to diffuse the body’s sensation of anxiety.
When you face your fears with kindness and compassion for yourself, you not only diffuse the energy, you learn that the outcome is usually not as bad as you expected it to be. You begin to understand your own strength and power. Practice positive self-talk.
Allow your thoughts to be those of a supportive and loving friend. Over time, you will show yourself that you are capable of facing fearful situations and triumphing.
And when you successfully navigate through the fearful situation, accept that you accomplished your goal. Celebrate your success!