Overcoming Our Fear Helps Us Live Our Lives More Fully!
Most of us are filled with fear of one kind or another: fear of change, fear of success, or fear of failure. We fear making mistakes, being alone, ending relationships or starting new ones. Many individuals fear aging, rejection, abandonment, and unemployment. Fear can keep us stuck in our lives! It can keep us from ending unhealthy relationships or from leaving a work situation that is no longer satisfying. In fact, it can keep us from reaching our goals and realizing our dreams! When we are helped to move beyond our fears, we can lead lives that are both challenging and fulfilling. It is normal for all of us to feel fear in new situations, especially when we are venturing into unknown territory.
Therefore the question is, if we all feel fear when entering into the unknown, why is it that some people are able to move forward in their lives, in spite of their fear, while other individuals become paralyzed? The real issue then, is not the fear itself, but how we hold our fear. If we hold our fear from a place of power or choice, we can take action, in spite of our fear. If we hold our fear from a place of pain or powerlessness, we become stuck or paralyzed. Susan Jeffers, in her book Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway, divides fears into two categories: 1) Fear of things that can happen to us, and 2) Fear around taking action. She states that at the bottom of all our fears is the basic fear, “I can’t handle it”.
If I lose my job, I wont be able to handle it. If my boyfriend leaves me, I won’t be able to handle it. If I go back to school, what if I can’t handle it? What if we believed that whatever happened to us, or whatever we did, we would be able to handle it? What would there be left to fear? Therapy can help individuals to face their fears and come out on the other side of them. It can help empower clients by teaching them to stop playing the “when / then” games. “When I stop being afraid, then I’ll do it.” Or, “When I feel better about myself, then I‘ll do it”. In fact, it is only in going out and actually doing what we are afraid of, that we overcome our fear, and as a result, feel better about ourselves in the process! Psychotherapy can provide the encouragement and support that individuals need to overcome their fears and to transform their lives. .
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