"Look at what you bring to the world, not what you lack." - Miranda Kate

Pushing through Fear: How to Deal with Uncertainty

Image of a red stone cliff edge with text: Push through the Fear, Let it fuel you, not freeze you.Image of a red stone cliff edge with text: Push through the Fear, Let it fuel you, not freeze you.
Do you find yourself procrastinating about doing things?

Are you scared to put yourself out there?

Are you scared about the future?

Fear is a concept that everyone understands, and covers a wide variety of situations across many topics. But what is fear and how do we deal with fear?

On its own it is less an emotion and more of a reaction to a perceived threat, which results in emotions like anxiety, panic and even anger.

It often has a physical reaction associated with it, such as shaking, sweating, even throwing up, which is better known as the ‘Fight or Flight’ response.


Fear can paralyse you physically, mentally and emotionally, and on occasion shut you down entirely.

“Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen.” - Doe Zantamata
 
Many fears that affect our day to day lives are based on ‘what if’ scenarios we run in our heads. We’re scared of what we did before, we’re scared of what we might do in the future, and we’re scared of what we are doing today. It can put up many barriers in how we function, and stop us reaching for the things we want in our life.

When trying to change our lives and ourselves some of the fears we may encounter are: 
  • Fear of facing past hurt
  • Fear of repeating past behaviours/events
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Uncertainty
In some respects they all feed into each other - fear of change is also a fear of the unknown, or something that is not familiar to us, and we become uncertain.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

There are ways to combat these fears.

When dealing with the fear of facing things from the past that have hurt, I try and rationalise them. I ask myself, what will happen if I think about this or talk about this? The answer is that I’ll feel that pain again, or experience those feelings again. 

But I remind myself that the event is past, I am not experiencing it again; it is only the memory of the event. And how much meaning I have given that memory will result in how it affects me in the present moment.

Often letting something out will release its power. If I say it out loud it can be like hearing it for the first time, or from a different viewpoint. Or if I write it down, it’s like reading it for the first time and seeing it in black and white. It reveals another truth.

Many times there are other factors in the event that you haven’t seen before, but are revealed through this process. You can then look at the entire event differently and change the meaning of it. You can update the thoughts and emotions you have about it (as described in my previous post Backtracking Thoughts and Emotions). 

By doing this you reduce and change the emotional response you have to it when you think about it.

When those past hurts are trapped in your head, they keep going round and round, and you end up persecuting yourself. Once you let them out, whether spoken or written  - or both -  you stop that and form a new way of dealing with them, allowing you to move forward, and not be immobilised by them anymore.

What you fear will not go away by constantly thinking about it. It will go away when you see it for what it is.” - Anon

When dealing with fear about change or the unknown, I inform myself. I find out as much as I can by either talking to others who have experienced what I’m going through, or reading about those who have, in books or on the internet. 

In many cases I feel reassured by finding others that others have gone through similar experiences and changes and come out the other side successfully. It enables me to see that it’s possible and it gives me the confidence to step forward out of my own comfort zone and take the risk too.


A comfort zone is an area you create and live in that is comfortable, where you don’t have to take any risks that might make you have to confront your fears or experience your emotions. A comfort zone is full of everything that is familiar and patterns of behaviour you can be sure of  -  whether good or bad. If you stay in that comfort zone you don’t have to challenge yourself, open up, or make any changes. But it also means you won’t more forward from the place you are at, either physically or mentally.

“If you don’t get uncomfortable leaving your comfort zone, then you haven’t really left it.” - Tim Brownson

In some ways staying in the comfort zone is more risky than trying to push through your fears, because within that zone you’re more likely to repeat past negative behaviours and recreate situations you don’t want, rather than bring about what you do want.

It is only by opening yourself up and facing your fears, and pushing through them that you can move forward and make progress.

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” - Jim Morrison

When dealing with uncertainty about whether to take a step toward or not I tend to use the ‘worst case scenario’ tactic. I ask myself, realistically what is the worst thing that can happen if I do this? I would start with the very extreme negative outcome and work my way back to a more rational realistic outcome.

For example, if I express myself to that person, what is the worst thing they will do? Hit me? Scream at me? And how likely is that?

Often it is not likely, so then I can work back to what would be, and realise that what I thought was so terrifying wasn’t anymore.

This can be a handy tactic with anxiety or angst about many things, physical or emotional.

But your ability to overcome your fears is not just about how you deal with them, it is also about how much you want to overcome them, and that desire comes down to whether you believe in yourself or not.

“Self-esteem and self-love are the opposites of fear; the more you like yourself, the less you fear anything.” — Brian Tracy


3 comments :

  1. I think I've got much better at this as the years have moved on! I used to worry about everything, but the idea you have of playing it out in your mind and seeing that's not that bad, does work!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting. It's my go to response whenever I find myself scared to do anything.

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  2. I can't tell you how spot on this is. I use my writing as a dumping ground of sorts. And some of it I post, some of it I don't. The act of purging it from constant rattling in my brain saves my sanity.

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