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How to overcome fear

Fear. We all have faced it in some form or the other; be it fear of height, water, darkness, loneliness, examinations, public speaking, and the list goes on.

Regardless of its intensity, we always have a choice to either remain entrapped in fear for years or find ways to defeat it. I held on to my fears of water and height for almost my entire life. Over time, I became so comfortable with these fears that unknowingly I started doing things to keep my fear in place.

Isn’t that what we all do! Keep our fears in their places. Once a fear grips us and makes itself comfortable in our heads, it is difficult for us to come out of the comfort zone.

After months of turmoil, I decided to face my fear, deal with it and put it to rest. I gathered the courage to do a Flying Fox to get over my phobia of heights. Next up, I went for white water rafting to fight my fear of deep water. And in doing so, I learnt a few lessons, which I am sharing with you here today. 

Fear is just a thought

We know our actions come from our thoughts. Whenever we think of doing a particular task that scares us, we find ourselves engulfed in fear. For example, in fear of public speaking, the moment a person visualizes themselves standing in front of a crowd; they are rendered motionless, bewildered at the mere thought of standing up there, facing people. So, we end up allowing our thoughts to drive our actions.

I figured out what fear really is. It is just a thought before we act. Would I feel the same fear if I saw myself as a part of that crowd or if I focused on my speech than what others will think of me? Of course not.

Once we shift our focus to the action, fear will take a back seat. More often than not, it is the fear of whether others will approve of us which makes us forego wonderful experiences in life. As soon as I learnt to let my inner strength wash this fear from my mind, I felt free to go out there and do my thing.

Accepting your Self

You may have heard, ‘we are what our thoughts are’ and ‘our thought weave our destiny’.  However, I learnt that it all starts with me and how I fine-tune my thoughts. It is I who can feel like hell or heaven in any situation. If I am always in a constant struggle to prove a point, I will always be suffering.

Whereas the moment I decide to go ahead and do something for my own self, good things begin to happen. I learnt that it is best to accept yourself as you are, and then work on the things YOU wish to change about yourself.

Be one with nature

In order to conquer our fear of things; we need to cultivate a love for all things created by nature. If I fear deep water, would I feel the same fear if I visualized myself as a drop in that water…flowing with careless abandon. If it is the height that I fear, let me become the breeze that flows over me, moving freely across the open sky, scaling unfathomable heights.

Having unconditional love towards all be it a rock, a mountain or a grain of the sand, fostering a feeling of togetherness and oneness with the elements can help us overpower our fear of those elements.

Reject people’s version of who you are

We are told who we are by others, and more often than not, we accept people’s notion of us as reality, without ever asking ourselves, is that who I really am?

I learnt that most of the thoughts we give so much emphasis to, are not our own. They are just the information which seeps into our minds and hearts from our surroundings and our long held beliefs. I also observed that these beliefs are not our own either. Imagine yourself as an individual born in a different place, at a different time where things are not taboo, and you may chance upon a new version of yourself.

We need to remind ourselves that whatever others are telling us is their story. And we must not accept other’s story as our story. We all are unique in one way or other, and therefore, how we feel and experience things is bound to be different.

Childhood stories

As a child, I used to fear darkness, thanks to all the ghost movies we watched back then. That fear played itself out every time I played dark room with my friends. Not being able to stand darkness for long, I would end the game abruptly, not knowing that I was giving my fear a chance to grow bigger every time I succumbed to it.

Many of our fears are rooted in our childhood. I have taken a conscious decision to let it all be a thing of the past, and to live every minute of my life with a renewed thought process which is not smeared by unpleasant memories.

As someone rightly said, It is not the fear of the unknown that terrifies us; it is the fear of the known coming to an end that bothers us.

I chose to cut the cocoon of my past; my fear, to be in my present. Fearlessly.