Moving beyond the lies fear creates is a part of the journey towards reducing anxiety and living your best life.
I’ve heard it said that of all the liars in the world, the worst is many times our own fears. I couldn’t agree more. I learned that the fear that anxiety creates in our minds and hearts is a false power that we don’t have to bow to. You can find ways to reduce anxiety and begin living your best life, starting today, by simply making a choice that fear is not going to control you.
All it takes for some of us to move beyond our fears is awareness. Let’s dissect two of the biggest lies fear likes to tell you and how to move beyond them.
Fear Lie #1: “I Can’t”
Many times, the only thing keeping you from success is that simple, yet terrifying, thought of “I can’t.” How often have you wanted to step out and embark on a new opportunity, or speak up with a new idea, but that little phrase kept you from doing so?
I couldn’t even count how many times that happened to me back when I was allowing fear to control my life. During those years of being afraid and anxious, I believed that if I dared to step out of my comfort zone, I would fail miserably to the point of no return. I had no proof that would happen, but fear tempts us to doubt and second guess EVERYTHING! I almost wrote, fear makes us doubt and second guess everything, but I have come to learn that fear doesn’t deserve that type of control.
While we all cave to fear at times – it’s completely normal – it’s only because we allow it. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’ve allowed fear to dominate your way of life for a long time. But fear can only thrive on the power you give it. Diminishing fear begins with what you tell yourself. You can decide to turn the “I can’t” thoughts into “Yes, I can.” And, no matter the outcome, no matter how well you do or don’t do, always be proud of yourself for making an effort. I’ve found that it’s much better to try and fail than to fear and wonder how things could have been.
Fear Lie #2: “This is just the way I am…..”
No! No! No! Don’t fall for the “This is just the way I am” lie. Constant fear led me to severe anxiety which stripped away my confidence, and even my self-worth to some degree. I didn’t look at my time as valuable or feel that my opinions really mattered. I was so timid back then that just mentioning to my server that my food came out cold, was a big deal…. a REALLY BIG deal.
I was so used to fear controlling me that it became a part of my self-identity. I started to believe and describe myself as a worrier and used that as justification for my anxiety and panic attacks. I gave fear way more power than it deserved. When feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with fear, it can be tempting to settle and define yourself as a fearful person, but that’s not who you are.
The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” God did not create you with a fearful spirit, but one that is brave, strong, cherished, and wise; therefore, start defining yourself as someone who is an overcomer of fear.
Through my personal journey with anxiety and panic attacks, I’ve found several ways to eliminate fear. One of the best techniques I learned is how to confront it. For far too long, I allowed fearful thoughts to keep me anxious and afraid. I didn’t dare argue with fear, let alone have the courage to challenge it. Can you relate? Well if so, let me say that this is a very common trap that many people fall into. If given power, fear will take control and dictate your daily decisions, including how you live your life. The good news is that you can start to take control, and it’s not that hard to do.
Below are two quick and effective coping skills you can begin using today when faced with fear.
- Whenever you get a fearful thought, take a second to ask yourself, “Is this thought true?” How many times have you ended up anxious over something that either didn’t turn out as bad as you thought or didn’t happen at all? When realizing that the thought isn’t true, simply let it go. Even if it tries to come back, remind yourself that the fearful thought is false. This type of reasoning is a great approach to keep fear from turning into anxiety. You might be thinking, what if my fear could be real? Well, that takes us to coping skill #2.
- Don’t be afraid to examine your fears. For many of us, just the initial thought of something going wrong keeps us anxious and afraid. Whether your fear is valid or not, take the outcome you worry about to the furthest extent. Ask yourself, ‘what’s the worst that could really happen?’ By doing so, you will likely find that the scenario you created wasn’t as bad as you thought.
One personal example I have is when I would fear that my boss was upset with me and was going to possibly fire me. I had no proof he was mad at me, yet this fear kept me feeling very uncomfortable at work. I finally got to the point where I confronted my fear, by first telling myself the truth. The truth was that I didn’t do anything, that I was aware of, to upset anyone. I then took my fear to the furthest extent by asking what is the worst that could happen? If I would get fired, yes that would not be ideal; however, will I be unemployed for the rest of my life? Of course not! I would find another job.
After reasoning with myself in this way, I didn’t ever have anxiety over that thought again. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even think about it anymore. You can use this same type of reasoning with whatever fears you are facing.
If you have been struggling with fear, I hope you found this helpful. Remember, when fear is eliminated, anxiety has no power. The next time fear tries to creep its way in, be sure to use the coping skills above so you can defeat fear and begin living free of anxiety!
You can read more about Confronting Anxiety and our Freedom is Possible program here. Or, contact us to learn more. I look forward to being a part of your journey towards a life free from anxiety.