In my last article, I shared with you the Feararchy developed by Dr. Karl Albrecht. His levels of fear include Extinction, Mutilation, Loss of Autonomy, Separation, and Ego-Death. Basically this pyramid can be built up from the base of fear of death, to fear of pain, to fear of entrapment, to fear of rejection, and finally to fear of judgment. But I will suggest to you that our fears do not have to paralyze us. We do not need to fear fear. Zig Ziglar suggested that there are two acronyms based on the letters in the word FEAR. And we have the choice to follow one or the other: F-E-A-R, Forget Everything and Run, or Face Everything and Rise. During these challenging times, which will you follow? Are you using the time in quarantine to complain and isolate? Or could you choose to use this time for growth and self-reflection? Let’s take a look at several ways you can let go of your fears and insecurities and Rise.
Have you heard the phrase, “Awareness is the first step?” It’s important to be able to identify your fears and insecurities. Begin by making a list of some of your most crippling fears, and be as specific as you can. Recognize and acknowledge exactly what it is that makes you afraid. Is it a fear of failure? What type of failure…rejection, being embarrassed? Once you have pinpointed some of these fears, think about the why of the fears. Are these fears rooted in your thought processes or are they a product of your emotions? Your fears may be a result of over thinking everything. Of course, it’s a good thing to think through a situation or possible situation before making a major decision. But if you spend too much time thinking, you may not actually be doing anything. And if you never act on anything, you’ll never get ahead. I encourage you to try to stop overanalyzing every single little thing in your life. Don’t talk yourself out of making decisions…instead, just act!
One of the questions I ask in my initial counseling sessions is, “What are your strengths?” I am always saddened when my clients struggle to answer that question. Think about it right now, and write down three of your strengths. When you remind yourself of what you are good at, and what you like about yourself, you begin to gain confidence. And with more self-confidence, you can begin to let go of some of your fears. The next time you feel that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach, try to think about those three strengths you wrote down. Those strengths are what make you unique! I hope that during this pandemic crisis, you have had time to reevaluate how you take care of your body. Exercising and eating well are the basics of self-care. A healthy lifestyle can also improve your mood, making you feel more relaxed, balanced, and assured. This becomes a surefire way to reduce your anxieties and insecurities.
Setting goals, both short and long term, is my final suggestion for managing your fears. Without a plan, it is so easy to get lost and feel as though you have no purpose in life. Goal setting gives some direction and forces you to rise above your fears to achieve the things you want in life. Plus, for every goal or milestone that you reach, you gain that extra boost of confidence that will help decrease your uncertainties. When it comes down to it, fear is very much a product of your mind and thus more of an internal struggle than anything to do with the reality of the outside world. Take that moment now to look within yourself, trust your decisions, take care of your body, and love yourself. When you can do this, your fears will dissipate and you can get on with enjoying everything this life has to offer.
By: Lisa Philippart
Licensed Professional Counselor