The Chain of Fear
By: Jessica Manuel
Fear is like a moth (yes, I said moth). Coming out of nowhere, it makes you scream while it invades your personal space. You chuckle once you realize it’s a moth, and a simple touch on it’s wing would destroy it. If left to stay though, a moth can survive on eating virtually any natural fibre, putting holes in your vibrant or expensive clothes.
That is what fear does; it causes us to react, makes us uneasy when we feel it, and if left alone will ruin the hidden joys that make you confident. When we understand ‘fear’ is something that cannot physically harm us, we find a way to rid of it. Or, we wait until it ruins something important in our life, get fed up, and destroy it.
We all deal with fear, but some of us allow it to keep us in bondage while others take no responsibility, putting their chains on others instead.
Two common fears we all carry are the fear of change and failure.
“ Change, of course makes everyone feel stupid, because change breaks all the old rules, inventing new ones, rules we don’t know (yet)”
– Seth Godin
Change is scary because it disturbs our stability and creates tension. Change is linked to uncertainty, risk and potential failure. We tend to focus on these feelings while limiting our future reality and, as a result, we spend less time planning execution because we don’t like the emotions we’re wrestling with.
Change the way you view change.
Your perception on change can shift by weighing the importance of what you’re changing. When you understand the urgency, things start to happen: You focus on the benefits or the freedom it will bring you, and the chain of fear becomes weak. So many times we settle for regret before we accept change but if we evaluate the benefits (and potential regrets), we can empower ourselves by accepting the fear that comes with change because it’s worth it.
Something to think about:
You’re on a small beach admiring the water but fear immersing yourself in it. You know how to swim, but the memory of that jelly fish sting gives you that unsettling feeling and you never swam since. Suddenly a forest fire surrounds you and your only escape is to jump in the water to reach the rocks on the other side of the forest. Would you go in the water? Of course, your fear evaporates when the alternate results in something worse. Change is the same; when you know what the consequences are, the fear becomes irrelevant.
When we fail we fear failing again, its human nature. We shackle ourselves with the feeling of fear (which is not a nice feeling) and this creates a false perception, an assumption that we will not succeed. As a result, the feeling that comes from remembering failure limits us from trying again. The unfortunate part: Feelings of doubt and insecurity that come with the uncertainty of success is easier to accept rather than embracing the opportunity to try again.
In other words, it’s easier to settle for complacency than to fully live.
Don’t let failure beat you.
Understand that fear is a feeling, not your reality. This feeling can cause disappointment, insecurity, anxiousness, anger, panic or sadness, and if you allow the feeling to dictate your action it will cause more failure. We start accepting self-imposed failure talk like: “I’m not capable”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not ready”, “I’m not prepared” I don’t know if I can do this”… The list goes on. Accepting this instead of facing the unpredictable is a unfulfilling way to live.
It’s not living at all.
Something to think about:
I remember when the unknown kept me from embracing what could be. If you think about the times you failed, how does that make your stomach feel? Does it make you feel deflated? Take a moment and really think about it…
Now think about a time you accomplished something you thought you couldn’t do. How do you feel now?
When failure strikes, know that you were courageous to try in the first place where others wouldn’t. Know that failure is an amazing source of knowledge and should be embraced, not feared.
You can beat fear by not giving it so much credit. Open your drawers and remind yourself of how precious your belongings are, find reasons to rid of the feeling by exposing yourself to fear; stretch yourself, surprise yourself and you’ll find that you’re capable.
Take time to understand your fears and why you’re afraid of them in order to find breakthrough. There IS weakness in the chain and once you differentiate between the feeling and your reality, that moth doesn’t stand a chance!
Once you overcome your fears, and accept ALL of it (even the failure) teach someone else how to do it by sharing your story.
“The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but out wholeness – even our wholeheartedness – actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.”
– Brene Brown, Rising Strong.