Overcome Your Fears

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Psychology

Overcome Your Fears

“Fear does not exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie

The Source of Fear

Phobias develop because of negative experiences in the past. You fell out of a tree as a child and developed a fear of heights. A game of hide and seek went wrong when you accidentally locked yourself in a closet and developed a fear of the dark after nobody could find you for two hours. You developed a social phobia when you threw your child’s view into an adult discussion and they all laughed at you.

Phobias that appear later in life are less common. They come from repeated negative experiences. For example, every time you offer your opinion at a business meeting, you get shot down. You stop participating because you fear more ridicule and a social phobia may develop.

The Effects of Fear

Fear causes you to resist or avoid certain experiences. For example, let’s say you fear dogs. You’re out for a walk and there’s a dog ahead. You cross the street. This gives you another negative experience with dogs even though nothing has happened.

This limits your possibilities. To continue our example, you don’t visit friends who have dogs. You avoid the countryside. You miss out on opportunities because a dog is involved.

As long as you avoid your fears, you will fail to overcome them.

Overcoming Fear

The cure for phobias is facing them. Recognizing that you fear something gives you an opportunity to heal the past hurt that created the fear. Mastering your fear in the present makes the memory of it weaker.

I had a fear of heights when I was young. After high school, I went to work in the trades and volunteered for any job that required working up high. My fear of heights eventually settled down to a reasonable level.

Facing our fears turns them into positives. Another example. You are walking along an empty street at night and see some rough looking characters coming from the other direction. Unless you already have a phobia in this area, you continue on and hope for the best. If there is trouble, fear is a beneficial reaction. What’s more likely is that you meet and pass the strangers and your fears are replaced by a good feeling.

Holding onto fears from the past limits you. By beating your fears you increase your possibilities for the future. The past is dead. Life is about the future. What is your worst fear? What can you do to face it and make yourself an overcomer?

Article text copyright 2011 David Arthur Smith. All Rights Reserved.


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