What is a fear exactly? Dictionary.com tells us:
Fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
Wow. Sounds pretty intense. So why do we choose fear day in and day out? Why do we choose the mental mind game which bounces ideas and thoughts and such around in our head like a ping pong machine?
It is really all pretty simple. We are conditioned to be scared, afraid, or emotional towards people, things, places, actions, etc., which have caused us pain or harm. By being afraid or fearful we are trying to avoid future pain or harm. We cannot always choose what we are conditioned to, but we can choose what controls us.
So, “how do I get rid of the fear I established when I was 5 years old?” you ask. You have to choose to overcome your fear. It is work.
Let me provide you with a self-example I recently experienced.
When I was in Bali I came face to face with a huge fear I have, I didn’t even know I had this fear. After weeks of introspection it hit me in the face. I have been avoiding scenarios my entire life and every move I make and thought I think revolves around this fear. It has been controlling my life for since I can remember and I didn’t even know it. Cue the confusion, mental breakdowns and self-empowerment vibes.
After realizing all of this I knew it was a choice to live in fear or to not. I made the choice to be fearless in life v. fearful of life. After weeks of recognizing fear for what it was when it came across my mind, I began to recondition myself. My way of thinking, my way of life, and everything around me started drastically improving. Little things which used to bother or worry me don’t anymore and I can see the big picture better in every moment.
When working towards overcoming your fears there are two steps to take.
1) Face them head on – you have to expose yourself
2) Detach from the ping pong machine which starts lighting up inside your head when fear makes its way into your day.
I literally tell myself “detach” in my head a hundred times until I can feel my central nervous system start taking a break. To read more about detachment I would encourage you to read this blog post.
To live fearfully is truly a choice. A true choice. Just like being healthy in what you eat or what you do, you have to take responsibility and take action. Live fearlessly and allow your body to be free from all the stress you have been feeding it, and finally see the world with a clear mind.
To add some humor to this more serious post, this picture is from the Santa Monica Pier when I was visiting one of my best friends, Brooke, in LA. One of my “small” fears which ties into my much larger fear, is being up high and not being secure. I was so afraid in this moment, but Brooke and I kept going round and around on this thing! After rotation number 10 we finally said enough is enough but this is what I am talking about – face fear and hit it in the face! Thank you to Brooke for filling these very long minutes with intriguing conversation to distract me.
Life is too short to play the fear game. You’re about to live your greatest life if you can detach from it.