Do you know how fear holds you back in life? Fear is sneaky; from the inside out, it often controls us from the time we wake until the time we go to sleep. Sadly, an increasing number of people find that fear also keeps them awake at night with insomnia and horrible dreams.
The truth is simple and stark: the voice of destructive fear controls most of our thoughts and behaviors. It does its toxic work at an unconscious level, so we often aren’t even aware of its negative pull. We simply become used to it.
Our days slowly get a little drearier as we feel more anxious, stressed, and depressed. It gets harder to get out of bed. We race to make money, make connections, and make ends meet. We worry that we’re getting it wrong, that we’re not good enough, and that other’s lives are far better than our own. Face-to-face connection withers away as the semi-comforting connection with technology takes a bigger role. Parties and events seem stressful and uncomfortable without alcohol or other substances that act as social lubricants. All the while, we feel less connected to ourselves and the ones we really love.
In these ways—and so many more—fear might be holding YOU back in life.
4 Ways Fear Holds You Back
If the above sounds familiar, this is your opportunity to face your fears. This is your chance to find out how fear is holding YOU back in life. The below steps will help you explore the specific ways that fear holds you back in life.
1. Fear Often Gets Physical
When you look at yourself in the mirror, notice if fear steps in to give you negative messages. Does it tell you that you’re too tall, thin, fat, or curvy? Does it tell you that your butt or hips are too big or that your skin or nose is less than perfect? Notice the messages that fear gives you—the messages that tell you your physical body is not good enough.
2. Fear Likes to Get Nasty
Notice if fear has a voice that gives you negative messages about your self-worth. Does it tell you that you should be doing better, making more money, working harder, or fulfilling other’s expectations? Notice if destructive fear is constantly tearing you down with negativity.
3. Fear Thrives on Comparison
Destructive fear gets a hold when you compare yourself to others. Fear is tricky this way; it likes to get a hold by telling us that our friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers are smarter, more attractive, happier, or more successful. Fear controls so many of our thoughts by taking us into the negative realm of comparison. Notice if destructive fear has this grip on your life.
4. Fear Is Judgmental and Abusive to Others
If a negative attitude has you tearing down other people by gossip, judgments, or verbal abuse, this is fear at work. Those who have a high sense of respect for self and others consciously avoid judgment, abusive words, and negative thoughts. Why? Destructive fear tears the self—and the world—apart with negative energy.
4 Steps to Using Fear to Your Benefit
Clearly, destructive fear has enormous power to control many aspects of your life. On the upside, you have incredible power to face your fears and use them to your benefit. After all, fear isn’t just a bully; fear has the capacity to be an incredible friend. All you need do is learn to pause to listen to fear—to hear its constructive messages. The positive side of fear has the power to change your life for the better.
These four steps will help you learn to deconstruct your fears to find the positive messages inside.
Step 1: Listen and Let Go
Constructive fear wants to help you step away from negative messages about your appearance. When toxic fear gets physical with you, just listen to the negative message without judgment. Then, let the negative message go as if it’s a cloud floating away and focus on a kind, positive message like this: “I am a wonderful person as I am. I am unique, wonderful, and good.”
Step 2: Find Your Passions
Constructive fear wants you to find your passions in life. When destructive fear arises to tell you what you should be doing, use this as an opportunity to slow down to listen to what you want to be doing. When you follow your heart to do what you want to do, your life will slowly but surely become filled with greater passion, balance, and joy. You’ll be living the life you want to live, not the life you feel you should be living.
Step 3: Let Go of Comparison
Listen hard for the voice of comparison when it arises. Let constructive fear help you notice this voice and detach from it. As you notice when the voice arises, let constructive fear put up a stop sign to remind you to let go of comparison. You’ll find yourself feeling free and more at ease when you learn not to compare yourself to anyone or anything.
Step 4: Be Positive
When we talk positively to others and the self, the rewards are incredible. Constructive fear’s accepting, supportive voice is far different from the negative, judgmental voice of destructive fear. As you learn to halt negative or abusive talk—and replace it with positive, affirming thoughts and words—you’ll feel lighter and more powerful.
As you practice the above tips and tools, you’ll be well on your way to creating a more positive life free of the negative chains of destructive fear.