A guest post today from Traonah Patterson.
“Walk up to the lion, and he will disappear; run away and he runs after you” – F.S. Shinn
A large doberman, sprinting and barking, was beelining towards me. My older brother, Ron, was at least 50 ft ahead, we had taken a new route for our morning jog. Squealing I called out for Ron to do something, he yelled “Stand still!” he must have read my thoughts because I intended to do the very opposite. “Stand still!” he repeated. I managed to lock my trembling legs to the concrete. This dog had to be at least 4 ft tall to my 5 ft frame, I started to think about my poor limbs being devoured by his K-9s which he showed me in his fast approach. The dog then started to slow down, “Look at him in his eyes,” my brother instructed. With every fearful bone in my body, I stared straight into this dog’s eyes. A few more assertive barks and this thoroughbred just stopped. He quietly turned around galloped away from where he came. I felt like David having slayed Goliath. I was 14 years old and my older brother was my hero and teacher.
Five things I learned about conquering fear that day that I’ve taken into my adult life are:
1. Stop running from fear
What you fear will continuously chase you. It can haunt you for the rest of your life. It can do some serious damage to the quality of your life if you don’t confront it. How do you stop running from it? You stand still for a moment and become fully aware of the thing that you fear. You acknowledge your thoughts, emotions, and actions towards it and do something different. Ask yourself, how would a courageous person handle this ?
2. It’s okay to be scared
The fear that you are experiencing exists because it lies outside of your comfort zone. This means that this is an opportunity for you to grow well beyond what you have ever imagined! Are you going to take embrace it or run away from it?
3. You’ll be alone…
…this doesn’t mean that you won’t have support around you. You may have well-meaning people around you to encourage you or you may have no one at all, either way, you have to face it alone. Think about a young kid learning to swim, but scared of the water. The kid may have parents and instructors around him to coach him through his fear, but only he can do the action.
4. It’ll be hard
Initially, it may be hard. Anything outside your comfort zone takes effort to overcome. But the more you engage it, the easier it’ll become.
5. It’ll empower and liberate
The confidence that you will feel after overcoming your fear is liberating. It empowers. Your life, your possibilities, your capabilities expand. You will know exactly what to do if this fear dares to encounter you again.
Now roll up your sleeves because all talk with no action means nothing:
- Make a list of all the things that you fear. (No fears? Write down what you are putting off. What are you procrastinating? )
- Decide which issue(s) effect your current lifestyle the most.
- Why are you scared to confront this? What emotions surround them? How would your life be better after confronting this?
- Now just start with one. Confront one fear at a time, it’ll give you the momentum to tackle the others. You can do this.
How do you overcome your fears?