The feeling of fear is one of the most common of all feelings felt by humans, something that each one of us face in our lives almost all the time. Being afraid, feeling scared, etc are all too common terms since the days of our childhood, till now and would definitely will always be.
But being afraid is something that is always seen in a negative sense. Firstly, it’s not a very enjoyable feeling since one doesn’t enjoy the feeling of being afraid. But secondly, it also has a certain negative connotation to it, the stigma of being a coward, of not being strong if you feel afraid, a negative score to one’s personality, the precise reason why people hide from others that they are afraid.
Against this background, it is safe to say that it is not the ‘feeling afraid’ bit that is important in life. But your attitude towards it is what is more crucial. Any sane and matured individual would know that it is something experienced by all, for different things and for different dimensions. When we are young we are afraid of our strict parents, afraid on the day of the school results, afraid of getting beaten up by the bully in class, then later on afraid of our family finding out about the girl in our lives, afraid of losing her, afraid of the 1st job interview, afraid of our bosses, our yearly appraisals and so on and so forth.
We are also afraid in specific occasions, such as when we are chased by a dog, or when we watch a horror movie. And we are also afraid of general internal fears that we possess. Afraid of losing the ones we love, afraid of losing what we have in life, afraid of falling sick, afraid of being cheated and so on and so forth.
Coming back to the point, what is more important than the actual feeling of being afraid is the attitude we harbor towards this fear. Feeling afraid for something is natural. It is what your attitude towards it that determines your personality and not factors such as what you are afraid of and how much. Consider this saying below:
“What does it mean if I’m afraid? Does it mean something bad is going to happen?” “No, it doesn’t mean something bad is going to happen. It just means that you have the chance to be brave.”
The above saying sums up all that is there to it. The way you can get the better of all your fears and instances of being afraid. If your attitude towards fear is that you openly accept it and consider it as an opportunity to be brave then nothing and no one can really stop you in life. Fear will never have the same negative impact on you ever again. It would suddenly become a chance for you to bring in a rush of positivity and optimism. The feeling of winning the battle against your fear is a sense of achievement that is unexplainable. A direct source of happiness and peace internally.
Think about it, if you make it a habit of taking all the instances where you are afraid as chances of being brave, if you can harbor this attitude towards life, then essentially what you’re doing is converting the most negative aspect of life into a road that can lead to real sense of self achievement and self-fulfillment. Your whole approach to life would change, it will become more like an exciting game where you are looking to win and you will be able to take more risks and hence become more successful in life.
So how exactly to go about it? How do you start converting your fear into steps of success? For this one needs to first understand why we are afraid and then go on to how exactly we can practice nurturing this specific positive attitude in our daily lives.
Why are we afraid?
Whether occasional or general, whether mild or intense, whether childish or grave, whether positive or negative, all the instances that we are afraid in life are generally due to one or a combination of the following factors:
- Fear of the Unknown (When we do not know what is going to happen)
- Fear of Losing (When we fear losing what or who we have)
- Fear of death (When we fear things that something would bring us to our end)
- Societal Fear (Fear of being thought as bad / worthless / by society)
- Irrational Fear (When the reason is not clear and not logical, psychological in nature)
When we are afraid of something, it usually falls into one of the above categories.
How to Convert Fear into Chance?
If you want to convert your fear effectively into a chance of being brave, start with a gradual step by step approach in your day to day life.
- Identify things you are afraid of or a specific fear that you are facing currently and decide that you are going to think of it as a chance to being brave. It might be being brave while watching a horror movie or being brave enough to tell the truth to someone without being afraid of the consequence. Whatever your fear, this first step of deciding to change your approach is crucial.
- Accept that you are afraid of it. Then think about why you are afraid and try to identify the category or categories from above, your fear falls into
- Use a bit of general fear removal techniques such as deep breathing or channelize your thought processes into the ‘Why diagram’ asking why are you afraid and then going on asking why’s to each answer you receive thereafter till the time your mind registers the true core of your fear inside or the true baselessness nature of your fear, as the case may be. This step reduces the initial anxiety that you might face.
- When you are sure about exactly what you are afraid of and why, tell yourself that Wow! It’s a chance to show that I’m brave! Yes, yell this to yourself 5times, 10 times if necessary. Stand in front of a mirror and say it again loudly to yourself. This technique always helps and tells your subconscious mind to change its attitude to look at something in a different way.
- Identify what a brave person would do, who is not afraid of what you fear. Take a piece of paper and list down if necessary.
- Lastly, take the plunge! Tell yourself again that it’s a god gifted chance to be brave and do what a brave person would do. In no time you’ll see that you’ll consider yourself to be someone brave as well. And the feeling of conquering one’s own fears is a sense of achievement and inner peace like no other. Try it and see!