The steps to controlling your fear and overcoming fear. Plus what is fear, acknowledgement of fear and controlling your fear.
Two thousand years ago, the Roman philosopher and playwright, Seneca, said, "Nothing is terrible in things; except fear itself" and people have continued to echo him down through the centuries.
What is fear? Fear is an emotion which develops out of uncertainty. And uncertainty itself is, basically, the perceived inability to control. Put this way it appears very simple — fear is not real, fear is just a perception. If only we could convince ourselves of that! Who knows?... maybe we'll manage it one day.
The first step in overcoming fear is acknowledging that it is causing a problem.. Too many people deny the problem exists — they procrastinate, make excuses and convince themselves that the choices they make are for preference, not avoidance. You know the kind of thing... putting off the visit to the dentist for example, it's inconvenient just now — of course you're not afraid! Getting someone else to run into the store while you drive around the block because that way there's no need to find a parking space — of course you're not afraid to go into the store! And, of course, you much prefer to stay home and watch television than waste time at a party. Then there are the people who admit to being a little stressed out — a bit nervous perhaps... And they have their ways of dealing with it, too. But a couple of drinks is never going to provide control however much you kid yourself. Neither will illegal drugs. These are the "solutions" which aggravate the fear-prone condition and place you squarely in the fast lane to becoming a complete basket case.
Acknowledgement of fear puts you into position to gain control. You are ready to turn the fear into a positive and constructive force by counteracting it with action. Robert Louis Stevenson said, "You cannot run away from weakness; you must sometime fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now and where you stand?" Who wants to perish? Let's get on and fight it.
How? The only way there is — facing it! Oh, it's hard and it takes a long time. Trustworthy people must be found to help — people who won't get impatient or misunderstand. They're few and far between. And there's failure — lots of failure. But each failure means a small step on the way to success because a failure is a step ahead of avoidance! Right?
There's something else that's happening, too. All the time you're challenging fear with action, you are developing problem solving techniques. You're learning a skill that can be applied to your 'life after fear'! And there's going to be a lot of that once you make the decision to challenge your condition. We all have problems to solve — at every stage of our lives. From infancy to old-age, we face uncertainties and must apply ourselves to solving the problems those uncertainties bring. Once you learn problem solving techniques, you have an ability that can become the basis for all kinds of success.
There are people who hate themselves for being too weak to take the action required to control their problem — indeed, they actually use it to excuse their inadequacies — and there are people who have worked hard to their control their panic. They have gone on to success in the other areas of their lives. The great English philosopher, Thomas Carlyle, put it this way, "Obstacles in the pathway of the weak become stepping stones in the pathway of the strong." Carlyle knew all about obstacles — the almost finished manuscript of one of his major works was accidentally burned (this was two centuries before the micro-chip solved such problems) and he had to sit down and write it all over again!
Developing control over your panic provides you with another highly sought after capability — initiative. You have to have initiative to control a problem that can easily get out of hand! Once developed, initiative can take you a long way. Initiative separates the person who makes the decision when an opportunity presents itself from all the other people, who are in position to take the same decisive step on the road to achievement, but never do so. You make the decision to challenge the panic your fear creates and you take the initiative required in learning how to solve the problem. Decision-making. Initiative. Problem-solving. You're all set to achieve success! And all because you turned panic disorder into a positive force.
It can be done.
Source: Lifeline Anxiety Newsletter
- Created: 23 February 2007
- Last Updated: 25 April 2013