Stop Lying to Yourself: Why Fear Has Nothing to do With Reality
Tough love time, folks.
I know you think you’re protecting yourself by playing small. It’s a big scary world out there, and you’ve got a million reasons why you should just stay put right where you are.
You think it’s safer this way. Better to stick with your current job, relationship, weight, friends, and other things than to reach for some ambitious goal.
What if you embarrass yourself?
What if you lose all your money?
What if no one likes you anymore?
Nope. You’re gonna stay right here. Close the window blinds, curl up on the couch, and shut yourself off from the world. Maybe get a cat or two…
Sorry, sweetie—today I’m busting down the door, shaking you by the shoulders, and giving you a big reality check!
You’ve been lying to yourself and you don’t even know it.
You let fear weasel its way inside you and fill your head with lies about who you are and your worthiness. Fear may seem very persuasive, especially when it’s trying to convince you that by pursuing your dreams you’re going to end up living on the street and eating out of a Dumpster.
But fear has nothing to do with reality. It’s all a lie!
How Fear Is Tricking You
You may be familiar with the saying that fear stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. I believe it!
When fear takes hold of you, it makes you imagine the worst-case scenario for any situation. It will make you think that by following your desires something will go wrong…then another thing will go wrong…and another.
Soon, you’ll convince yourself that nothing good will come from whatever it is you wanted to do, so you give up on it all together.
Here’s a story I’ve shared before, but it clearly illustrates how fear can blow things way out of proportion.
When I was about 13 years old, I was swimming in the ocean by myself and I saw a dorsal fin slide up out of the water only a few yards away. It was the most awful, dreadful moment of my life. My fear went into hyper-drive, and I was sure I was about to be eaten by a hungry shark.
I was dead—I just knew it.
Two lifeguards charged into the water heading towards me (probably to retrieve my body parts so there would be something to bury…). The lifeguards caught up to me just as that awful fin was gliding away into the deeper water.
“Whoa! Did you see that dolphin? That was so cool!” The lifeguard really sounded like Keanu Reeves.
I wanted to throw up. Looking back, it’s obvious that the fin looked nothing like a shark fin, but my fear grabbed a hold of me and took the idea to the worst possible outcome. And even if it had been a shark, I know intellectually that they rarely attack humans.
I could have taken a breath and enjoyed seeing a beautiful dolphin up close, but fear lied to me and robbed me of what could have been a fun experience.
But fear is funny like that.
Fear makes us disregard reality, which is typically uneventful and normal. Fear holds us back and exaggerates any bad outcome that may or may not happen.
What has fear stopped you from pursuing?
How to Crush Your Fears
- Hit pause. Take a second to stop your fear from throwing you over a cliff. Remember that your fear is not based on reality: false evidence appearing real. Breathe and take a moment to center yourself. It’s OK.
- Consider the worst-case scenario. Really go there and think about how bad it could actually get. The outcome should be so far-fetched and insane that it could never really happen. You must acknowledge how silly the fear is.
- Focus on the most likely outcome. If you put in the effort towards what you want, you’ll probably get it. Any project (no matter how big) becomes manageable by breaking it down into smaller steps. Odds are, you’ll get what you want.
- Determine what you could be losing by giving in to your fears. This is when you consider your best-case scenario, but unlike before, these things could actually happen. Yes, you could start your own business or move to another country! Do you really want to live your life without it?
- Concentrate on what it would feel like to move forward despite your fear. It’s impossible to completely wipe out fear, but that’s OK. Here’s some law of attraction action. What would it feel like to acknowledge the fear and continue to work on your goals anyway? How would you carry yourself? Would you be happier? Really sit with that positive feeling of accomplishment.
- Go for it! Stop lying to yourself about who you are and what you can achieve. You can do it!
Are you ready to crush your fears and see what’s truly possible?
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Eeeps, I’m working through this as we speak about leaving my current career path and trying something new for 2013. In the past fear kept me from distance running because I was so afraid of failing or getting hurt. I’m so happy I overcame that fear with slow training and supportive running buddies! Really sage advice on this one!
Thanks, Cara! Fear is really tricky…I hate how it makes those worse-case scenarios seem plausible. I’m happy for you that you got over your fear of distance running. I worry about running outside (off the safety of the treadmill), so maybe that’s a fear I need to work on.
Fear definitely keeps me from doing a lot. It took a lot of courage to seek help for anxiety, but I’m definitely tackling things that would have otherwise terrified me before. I still tend to leave more safety net for myself than I probably need – taking risks is a part of life. Being bold sometimes is important.
I tend to have lots of safety nets. The problem is when I end up caught in the nets! I agree that getting over the fear of asking for help is really courageous…something we should all work on.
When my husband and I left our crappy jobs last winter and started our own business, we were scared to death. The uknowns were awful, but we did it. Although we have had some bumps in the road, we are much happier now than having to work with crazy people and who didn’t have the same visions and dreams we did for our futures. Heather
It is SO scary starting a new business! I’m glad you’re following your dreams despite your fears.