The Cure for Fear
The trouble with fear is sometimes it helps and sometimes it stabs you in the back. Helpful fear tells you to obey the speed limit because the cops are out on holidays. But I’m thinking about the backstabbing kind.
Bad fear tells you to stop, avoid, or run away. Fear tells you not to go to the doctor when you find a lump in your breast. Fear says, “You probably won’t get that promotion so don’t apply.” Backstabbing fear says, “Don’t try.”
The voice that says you can’t:
Fear plays on vulnerability. It reminds you, “You’re small,” when you feel insecure. It brings up past embarrassments, “You don’t want that again.” It points to obstacles to mock what you really want.
Fear strangles hope and murders potential.
The cure for fear:
You don’t cure fear by thinking about it. Thinking about fear turns you into a fear factory. The more you think about it the more afraid you become.
The cure for fear is action. You must do what you are afraid to do. It’s simple, but not easy.
Act boldly in small ways. One fearful thought spins off another and another. But action leads to action. One small act of boldness enables the next. Do something embarrassingly small.
What’s the bravest thing you can do? (Small is perfect.)
How to act boldly in small ways:
- Make a list of everything you’re afraid to do. Do something fear tells you not to do.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Draw symbolic pictures of what you really want.
- Seek advice from a kind brave person.
- Hang a safety net. Line up a person to call if the worst happens. Fear loves isolation. Defeat fear with relationship.
The cure for fear is doing what you’re afraid to do. I told you it was simple.
What’s the cure for fear from where you sit?
How to Ride a Bike – Where Courage Comes From
The Advantage of Atychiphobia – the Fear of Failure
Excellent post – as always. Whoever has been to the beach at a time that the sea water hasn’t warmed up too much yet will have experienced that feeling: that sudden urge to halt right before running into the waves. The angst wasn’t there when making plans “let’s go to the beach and let’s swim!”. It wasn’t there during the car ride either. It wasn’t there yet even when putting on the swimsuit. But then, with the toes in the water… Oooooooh! Cold!!! The only way to overcome that “don’t do it!” urge is: run, dive, enjoy. Do.
Another source of fear is that you won’t measure up to someone else’s ability level. But that’s the wrong metric.
I go to the Crossfit gym three days a week, with my daughter (who is — obviously — younger than me). The coach has to scale many of the workouts for me (fewer reps, lighter weights, easier movements) compared to my daughter. But compared to where *I* was last year, I am doing more reps, heavier weights, and more advanced movements. And I know I will be doing even more reps, even heavier weights, and even more advanced movements next year.
PS I also set enough personal records in 2022 to be one of the top three women at my gym.
“The cure for fear is action.” I always felt that the cure to paralysis is action. When I stop to think about it, paralysis=fear. At any rate, you are right, taking action is the key. Once the thoughts start repeating and circulating in my brain on a cycle, they lose their productivity. I also love that you said, “Seek advice from a kind brave person.’ Not a smart person, or a successful person, but a brave one.
I desperately want to have faith in this post – from where I sit, currently, there is no cure. But, I will keep searching, and I will not give up. In some situations (my husband is six years into alzheimers disease; he is only 63) there is only one day at a time, only one thought at a time – sometimes those days are so long, they run one into the next. My cure is a thought “Impermanence” until life offers a different path this is all that I have. thanks for this though, it is good to read your posts, always.
Dear Melrose, this is off topic, but your post touched me. My mom and my wife’s mom died with a form of dementia. Her dad has it to where it affects his motor functions, and, to a lesser extent, my dad has dementia, also. You have my sympathy, and I admire your determination to find something to reverse your husband’s condition. This is the hard question: is it possible that the action you need to take to overcome your fear is accepting things as they are, even as you search for a cure? You are in my prayers.