Is fear holding you back from the life you truly want? Knowing how to confront fear is a challenge felt by many of us. Taking leaps in life - whether it's a new career, relationship or move - can be scary. And very often we let this fear hold us back.
The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. Here, Vanessa Rivero, a health coach and yoga teacher, discusses what fear is and shares her tips for confronting it.
Learning to confront fear
Is fear a friend or an enemy? This is what comes to mind every time I feel fear finding its way into my mind and clouding my vision.
I recently realised just how fearful I truly am. Fear controls so much of my life that it stops me from trying things that could help me become the version of myself I dream of. Sometimes the path is so clear, yet fear gets in the way. The craziest part of all is the fact that I was the one responsible for that fear. I put it there, yet it's so difficult to shove it aside.
Fear is what keeps me in bed when the alarm goes off. Fear is what distracts me from doing the things that make me happy. Fear is that little voice in my head saying I'm not good enough. Fear is what beats me when I see other people succeed at something I want. Can you relate?
Thinking and learning about fear has given me an opportunity to understand where it comes from and the real intention behind it. To me, fear is the best tool my ego has in its storage. My ego doesn't want to hurt me; I know that much. Therefore, fear isn't there to hurt me either.
Fears are actually trying to protect me from all the negative and potential consequences that could come from my wild decisions. The problem is that they worry about things that haven't happened. And if we're completely honest, none of those potential consequences would even happen anyway. So, here I am worrying about an illusion created in my mind.
Breaking the cycle
I believe fear is a cycle that starts when I get excited about something. The moment I get ready to do it, my fear kicks in. Suddenly I find myself bingeing Netflix, scrolling social media or doing things that deep down I know are not serving me well.
Have you noticed something similar in your life? The danger is that the more you give in to fear, the more difficult it gets to break that cycle.
Not long ago, I heard Sadhguru talking about fear. He said something that genuinely shocked me. When a student asked how he could overcome fear, Sadhguru answered: “You cannot overcome something that does not exist.”
Fear truly is something we create. Fear is the wall we build with insecurities, false beliefs, and societal expectations. Fear can be taken down the same way it was built, but our human minds are too attached to it. So, what do we do?
Building new habits
I learned from one of my mentors the concept of the fear elevator and how we can't grow from negative emotions such as frustration, fear, and anger. We can't jump from frustration to joy by snapping our fingers. We have to consciously choose to give up frustration and jump into the joyful elevator. As I mentioned before, breaking the fear cycle can be a challenge, but I promise you're not alone, and you can do this.
I've learned with time and experience that to get out of the cycle of fear, we need to start doing things that bring us happiness. From that state, creativity, motivation, and joy come in and support our goals regardless of how “crazy” they are. This is something I'm currently working through, and encourage you to try too.
Start by making a list of all of the things that bring joy to your life. Keep this list close by so that you can easily see it and remember. Let fun be the goal of the day, and let everything be born from that state. Shake, dance, sing, create, paint, do what you have to, and do it as many times as you need. Soon you'll see that there is no more room for fear. Enjoy the process and see what magical things come from it.
Vanessa is based in Florida and has a BSc in Applied Psychology, with four years of experience in the field. She's also a yoga teacher and is currently transitioning to helping others through yoga, Ayurveda, and health coaching techniques to bring a holistic approach to a person's health.
Vanessa encourages people to get to the root of the problem instead of treating the symptoms. She's passionate about how stress can influence both our bodies and minds, and specialises in stress management, helping clients return to their natural state of well being by listening to their bodies.