Do you ever get that feeling in the pit of your stomach?
That nagging sensation that something just isn’t right, and you can’t figure out what it is?
When this happens, one of two things will happen: either a realization will come to you about what’s really bothering you or some other event will clue you in on why it feels so wrong.
Either way, these feelings are often a sign from our intuition telling us to take care of ourselves in order to avoid bigger problems down the line.
What is fear?
People think of fear as an emotion that should be avoided.
History has taught us that fear can be both a good and bad thing depending on why you are fearful. If you’re afraid of something because it is a direct threat to your life or wellbeing (i.e., fire, tiger, etc.), then the natural response would be fight or flight. If, however, fear is the result of something indirect (i.e., a test, competition), then the appropriate response would be to confront the emotion and conquer it so that it doesn’t overtake you.
Fear can become crippling if it is left unresolved. It could lead to feelings of anger, depression, and a lack of motivation.
Fear can also be an indication that there is something that needs to change in your life for the better. It’s your body’s way of telling you, “Hey! Pay attention here! There may be some serious issues coming up if you don’t take action and handle this situation.
It is incredibly important that we know how to overcome fear because it can lead to a direct block of all of your other motivations in life.
What causes a fear of something like public speaking?
The root of fear doesn’t come from the thing you are afraid of, but rather something deeper. The real problem is in your belief system. If you have a certain belief about something that you don’t necessarily believe to be true, then fear will most likely result.
For example, if someone told you at a young age that you weren’t good enough, then you might start to believe it as an adult and hence cause a fear of not being able to succeed.
I have found that what often leads to a fear of public speaking is the feeling of inadequacy. You may find yourself thinking, “How can I speak in front of all of those people? They’ll see right through me…they’ll know I’m an imposter. What if they can tell that my heart and mind aren’t in this? ”
These thoughts are nothing more than illusions created in your own head. You have a fear that is causing you to get in your own way.
I’ve run into enough people that have the same fear to know that this is a very common issue. I used to suffer from it myself until I learned how to conquer it and now I can speak at venues with hundreds of people without feeling out of my comfort zone or self-conscious about what others think of me.
One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is that we are our own worst critics. We often automatically react to thoughts about ourselves that could be completely untrue.
If you find yourself being self-conscious and nervous when thinking about public speaking, then your body is going into a stress mode.
The other thing which can cause fear is having a bad experience. For example, you’re giving a public speech and you are ridiculed either during or after the speech. This can then cause further fear of public speaking in the future, and is a vicious cycle which we will hopefully help you break out of in this article.
FEAR IS A POTENT FORCE THAT HAS THE ABILITY TO HELP US MAKE BETTER DECISIONS.
Fear should not be seen as inherently negative or positive but simply as an instrument in our toolbox of choices and actions. When fear strikes, it can often feel like we are paralyzed with inaction; however, this extreme reaction is just one option among many others available for you to consider when faced with uncertainty.
When faced with fear, it is important to consider all of your options and weigh them against the possible outcomes. Oftentimes when we’re scared about making a decision, it’s because we are fearful that it will not go well or as planned. However, if you take into consideration how this may play out in both scenarios–whether the worst-case scenario happens or does not occur–you can decide which choice might be more worth taking an action on, knowing there is always a chance for things to turn out better than expected.
Begin to evaluate by considering what other actions you could take besides being crippled by the fear ( e.g. changing careers, ending a relationship).
THINK OF WHAT THE BEST-CASE SCENARIO IS THAT COULD RESULT FROM A NEW ACTION.
Consider the following ways that you can take to minimize the worst-case scenario and maximize your chances for success.
1. LOSE THE COMFORT ZONE
Don’t be afraid of trying new things or getting outside your comfort zone. It’s important not to let fear stop you from living your life as fully as possible, so don’t take anything for granted – even when small changes might seem insignificant at first glance.
Remember, if all we do is stay within the boundaries we know well, then it’s unlikely anything new will happen and life may become stagnant – so don’t be discouraged with how small changes might seem at first glance.
2. EMBRACE YOUR COURAGE
Change takes courage but eventually leads to results worth fighting for.
There are two ways to embrace change: accepting everything around us (including failures) or changing one thing despite feeling afraid inside.
3. FIND THE ANSWERS WITHIN YOU
It starts with understanding yourself and making small changes to the way you live. The answers are within you, so give yourself credit for anything you’ve been through because it’s only when we’re faced with fear that we dare to achieve greatness.
You have more of the answers within you, then you give yourself credit for. Begin with small steps and remember that change is inevitable.
What are the most common fears which stop us achieving what we want?
There are phobias of things, such as a phobia of spiders, which although can be a hassle and potentially traumatizing, as long as you’re careful you can steer clear of spiders.
The following fears will stop you being successful in life, and therefore they are the most important to overcome:
- How to overcome fear of failing
- How to overcome fear of rejection
- How to overcome fear of intimacy
- How to overcome fear of death
- How to overcome the fear of public speaking
The key to overcoming these failures in particular, unfortunately, by experiencing them (except a fear of death, obviously)
To overcome a fear of failing, you should fail
To overcome a fear of being rejected, you should be rejected etc.
Each fear has its own conditions, and each successful overcoming of a fear has its own conditions. The important thing is not to hide from these things, but instead to embrace them both inwardly and outwardly and say to yourself “this is it – I’m failing something but it’s not as bad as it seemed!”
“Don’t let your fear of what could happen make nothing happen” ~ Doe Zantamata
Dr. Asha Prasad
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