Fear is something that can have a powerful grip on us. It can hold us back from accomplishing our dreams, repairing relationships, starting new ones, moving into a new chapter in life, the uneasiness of our health, and a myriad of many other things.
Fear can hold us psychologically hostage and emotionally stagnant. We will continue to plague ourselves with thoughts of ‘what if’ or ‘should I’.
As we ponder on these pessimistic phrases, there can be a proclivity of us feeding into our fears and not doing anything at all to get where we want to go – and we may stay in that place for the rest of our lives.
We may come up with many excuses that can help comfort us when we fail to meet our goals. We can blame other people, lack of finances, lack of time, or even family obligations. Therefore, we can go on with our lives, giving in to those excuses that seem more comfortable than actually going for our goals. But deep in the crevices of our minds and heart, we feel unaccomplished and ashamed that we have given up on the things that make us happy.
According to Mental Health Foundation: ‘Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases, they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.’
Moreover, according to Smithsonian Magazine: A fear reaction starts in the brain and spreads through the body to make adjustments for the best defence or flight reaction. The fear response starts in a region of the brain called the amygdala. This almond-shaped set of nuclei in the temporal lobe of the brain is dedicated to detecting the emotional salience of the stimuli – how much something stands out to us.
We have to ask ourselves ‘How can we be afraid of something that we have not yet ventured into?’ Most of our fear is rooted in conjecture; fear is the illusion we create for ourselves with the worst possible outcome.
Fear should not be a barrier for us in achieving our dreams – whatever that may be. We should try to conquer these fears and look at the positive aspects of our lives, as well as the decisions we make. Fear is a natural emotion, but we have to make an effort not to allow it to take control of our lives.
Even if you tried something and you did not succeed, that is fine. You can feel better about yourself at the end of the day that you tried your best effort, and that is all that anyone can ask from you.
And guess what, you can always try again. I think the key here is never giving up. So whatever desires and goals that have been harbouring in the recesses of your mind, knock out that fear and resurrect those goals today.
Chris Laird is a family therapist and author. He attended Wayne State University in Detroit.