Face your fears, do what you are afraid of doing, come out of your comfort zone – oh my God, why do all that when you are living a happy life?
This post is about why on earth you should notice the element of fear in your life and make efforts to face it when your life is definitely OK.
(Normal font = me. Bold font = a guy who finds the idea of finding fears in his life and facing them to be crap.)
Are you ever afraid in daily life?
I don’t know what fear you are talking about. I go to work every day. I wake up early. I return tired. I enjoy my weekends. Where’s the fear in this?
True. In this article, that’s what we’ll do, you and me. We’ll take a look at our lives and find out if there is any fear there in our lives. If there is, we’ll clearly notice and then see if we want it to get lost.
Why are we making a special effort to notice fear in my life? I mean, even if it posed BIG problems for me, we’d think about it. But why specially find fears and THEN strive for freedom from fear?
:) Suppose for a moment that I am afraid of talking to strangers. This means there is a very less chance of me ever asking for instructions from a stranger when locating a place. It means I might be uneasy at a social gathering of unfamiliar people. It mean I hesitate in making new friends or having relationships as I am afraid of coming out of my comfort zone and talking to new men and women. I then have trouble in any social construct like a college, a work-place, a play ground, everywhere.
Just as this fear would hide from me a world of wondrous possibilities, ANY fear hides from us a world of wondrous possibilities. And just as the guy who is afraid of talking to strangers might not even feel that to be a fear – he might accept it as a part of his personality, or he might consider that routine and OK – you and me might not be noticing many, many fears in our daily life which might be preventing us from living a much more enthusing and liberating life. This is why noticing fear in our lives is the first, ever so important step, towards conquering fear.
Ah, OK. I understand that fear can curtail me from having a lot of experiences that I would enjoy and cherish, and so it makes sense to find out what I am afraid of and face it. But how to find out? I mean I just thought for a while – what am I afraid of? And I couldn’t really get any answers.
Yes, it is very difficult to find out our fears because we are generally very trapped in our routine way of living. So even if we are afraid of something, and we are afraid every day, it seems OK and normal to us – our comfort zone.
To start, look at your day very, very closely. Let’s say you are a graduate student who goes by bus to attend classes. On board the bus, what is your level of comfort? Would you like saying “thank you” to the driver when you disembark but don’t? If you remembered a hilarious joke about a certain landmark you saw on the way, would you share it with the guy sitting next to you if you felt like sharing it or not share it because you would feel uncomfortable? In class, if you had a doubt that you knew was foolish, but which was definitely your doubt – would you ask or hesitate? There’s an opportunity for you to convene the college festival and you know it would be very enriching to do it, would you volunteer knowing that many others would not think you were fit for the job? There’s a college debate going on - if you put yourself in the speaker’s position – would you be afraid?
There are umpteen possibilities and umpteen fears irrespective of whether you work, you are self employed, unemployed, a student, a philosopher……:)
An interesting way to list out fears – well, is to simply start jotting down fears one by one on paper! :)
These thoughts might help:
1 Think about how you spend your day.
2 Think about the people you interact with most – what would you fear saying to them? Are you hiding anything from them? When you talk to them, are you completely natural?
3 Think about social situations, gatherings, addressing people etc.
In fact, now that you have an intention to notice your fears, you will automatically start observing them in your day. This is quite interesting and odd, but it happens! So happy fear finding!
Nice. Now suppose I know what I am afraid of, then? Like, I am afraid of public speaking or even addressing a group of people. I remembered it when you talked about the college day experience. Now that I know that it could be hindering me and blocking a world of possibilities from me, what do I do to get out of the prison wall?
So wonderful that you would want to overcome your fear of public speaking in the first place! Freedom from fear involves the courage to be ripped apart and blown to pieces and realizing that you still exist beyond the fear. The articles How to beat fear?- A fear a day and How to beat fear? More Tips elaborate clearly on a practical way for freedom from fear.
Fundamentally, doing whatever you fear despite fearing it, despite it making you feel uncomfortable, again and again removes fear.
If you are really afraid of public speaking, Overcoming stage fright can help you.
Can you tell me something about your freedom from fear? I am asking because if you had the fears I have and faced them, I’d know that they are faceable.
I was afraid of talking to girls. I was afraid of talking to strangers to the extent that I wouldn’t feel comfortable even before shopkeepers. I was afraid of making new friends or having relationships. I was afraid of public speaking. I was afraid of being truly myself before even intimate friends and family members. I was afraid of taking any responsibility whatsoever when in a group. I was afraid of asking questions in class. I was afraid of initiating anything. I was afraid of organizing an event.
Thankfully, ALL of these fears are gone today, at least to a large extent. And yes, this freedom from fear involved taking action again and again irrespective of mind-numbing, heart-stopping fears that filled me to the brim. It was worth it.
Facing a fear can be very, very difficult. It means doing something you have never done before, having that sinking I-can’t-do-it feeling filling your mind and yet knowing that there is something in you greater than that fear and facing it.
Imagine yourself in a prison room closed up on all sides and it has one small window. And when you slap your fears, you realize the walls were your fears! The prison disappears and you land in an open grassy meadow! The breathtaking mountains are yours to admire and you can lie down on the dew caressed grass and enjoy the warm sun.