Conquering Your Fears: The First Update of The Facing Fears Experiment!

It’s a been a long time since I first blogged about this ‘conquering your fears’ experiment – 20 days to be precise!

I haven’t updated you at all about how I went about facing my fears. 🙂 So today I will tell you in detail about how I faced my fears as part of this fascinating experiment. For those who are new to the fear experiment, this will help.

Conquering Your Fears: Which Fears Did You Face?

As part of the fear experiment, I was going to face one big fear I had a day for 30 days. I must confess that I wasn’t able to face a fear on every single day in the past 20 days and I did succumb to fear at times. There were days when I just didn’t face a fear! But on most of the days, I did actually face one or more heart numbing fears to my satisfaction.

Here are some of the fears that I faced:

1) I told a close friend something about my life that I had NEVER, ever told her.

2) I told a friend of mine exactly what I thought genuinely in a certain situation even though I knew that doing this could mean losing him forever. I could have lied but I didn’t.

3) I stood in front of a metro train that was just starting off and SCREAMED “Bye bye, Delhi Metro!” even as people looked at me as if I was mad. 🙂 I had always wanted to do this but never did it.

4) I called a relative I was terribly afraid of calling because I felt he would criticize me and judge me. I shuddered but called anyway and the call had a happy ending. 🙂

5) I lay down in a public place and relaxed even as people who walked past me apparently judged me and thought I was a fool.

6) I publicly proclaimed my love for my girlfriend in a GTalk status message because I felt like it, despite feeling terribly embarrassed.

7) I consciously told a friend of mine – X, that I was going to have dinner with Y on a certain day. X and Y are enemies and I was afraid of offending X by going off to dinner with Y.

These are just some of the many, many fears I faced in the last 20 days. And yes, I must confess it has been exciting!

What Effect Did Facing Your Fears Have On Your Life?

The first thing that comes to my mind as an answer is, “My life has definitely improved at least by a small amount” because of this fear experiment.

The reason is that before this experiment, whenever I felt fear, I would either escape from it or stifle it, but hardly ever face it. However, in the last 20 days, every day or every couple of days, I have FACED my fears instead of escaping from them. This has made me feel more energetic, happy, excited and alive!

Let me give you an example.

I had always been really afraid to talk to a certain relative of mine because he objects strongly to my career and relationship choices (or so I thought). However, as part of this fear experiment, I faced my fear and called him up! Instead of criticizing me, he actually supported my relationship choice and talked in a loving manner. And that definitely made me feel so much better about my life! Now I have no fear of calling up this relative and can call him whenever I feel like it. Earlier I would always feel uncomfortable and worried whenever I thought about him – but now thoughts about him make me feel pleasant!

So you can see that because I faced my fear of calling up this relative, I am now experiencing more happiness and joy in my life.

Here’s another example. I told a close friend of mine, something embarrassing about my life that I I had never told her. Earlier, whenever I talked with her, there would be this cloudy feeling at the back of my mind which would say, “You are hiding THAT from her”. However, now I can connect with her in a much better way because I am NOT hiding from her what I was, earlier. And that makes me feel so much purer and better about myself.

So yes, overall I am feeling more full of energy, more excited and more fulfilled. 🙂

The fear experiment is still going on, so there are still many opportunities for me to face the parts of myself that I am afraid to face and become a better person.

How Did You Feel While Facing Your Fears?

Let me tell you exactly how I felt as I faced my fear of calling up that particular relative despite knowing he might judge me.

I switched off the lights and lay down on my bed before I called this relative. That would relax me. But I shuddered! I literally did. 🙂 I felt like I wanted to forget about this entire experiment and run away somewhere. 🙂 I called up my girlfriend to feel lighter and brighter. Then I thought of calling another acquaintance just like that, so I did. I wanted to somehow avoid calling this relative!

Finally, I told myself “The world won’t end if you call Mr X (this relative). At the most, you won’t talk to him ever again, but at least you will have the satisfaction of courageously facing him and standing up for your beliefs.”

After thinking this way, I just dialed his number before any other thought could come up. I heard the sound of his telephone ringing. I had this wild urge to just cut the call and throw the phone away. This was frightening. My heartbeat was quite quick.

He answered the phone. “Hello, it’s me _______,” I said.

And then we talked. Apparently the relative wasn’t as judgmental as I had thought him to be. The conversation proceeded smoothly and there were no hard feelings at all!

As the conversation proceeded, I became quite excited and towards the end, I even started enjoying it. In fact, it was the relative who cut me short and said we could talk later – I wouldn’t have minded talking for 20 more minutes!

After we hung up I experienced a strange sort of happiness mixed with peace… I felt great! I was afraid because I thought Mr X would criticize me for being the way I was. But I liked the way I was and wanted to stand up for myself. And by calling up Mr X despite the fear of criticism, I felt good about myself.

A part of me said, “Wow, when you face a fear, it just becomes NOTHING and disappears!”

I laughed. 🙂 I had done it! Yo hoo!

The essence of what I felt was common to all the fears I faced in these 20 days. As I was about to face each fear, I felt extremely afraid. As I actually faced it despite feeling the fear, I felt excited. And after facing the fear I felt amazing!

Yes, this facing fears experiment has been worth it!

Overcoming Your Fears: What’s Next?

I’ve reached day 21 of the facing fears experiment but 9 days are still left!

So yes, with the experience of having faced quite a few fears I am all set to face as many fears as I can in the next few days. The feeling of facing a fear, experiencing it and going past it is simply amazing!

How about you? Would you like to start conquering your fears by starting your own experiment, if you already haven’t? What are you afraid of? Telling your wife something you have always hidden from her? Greeting a stranger on the street? Addressing a large audience? Why not start this ‘conquering your fears’ 30 day challenge and face all those fears? Why not LIVE fearlessly for the rest of your life? Why NOT?

I bet, conquering your fears will be exciting, and fulfilling at the same time if you do it. 🙂

I’ll be back soon with some more interesting fear experiment updates soon.

Until then, all the best to me and you!