The dictionary defines fear as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” It is simply the feeling of being afraid. But what the dictionary fails to capture is how vastly different various types of fear are. There are rational fears, practical fears, and fears entirely in your mind. There’s a good kind of fear--the kind that keeps you safe while hiking near a cliff, or protects you when you’re walking alone at night. And there’s the unnecessary kind of fear--the kind that keeps you up at night after watching a scary movie or thinking about sharks while in the swimming pool. But what is fear, really? And what effect does it have on our lives?
Very few of us actually want to experience fear in our lives. It can be a crippling feeling that smothers us and keeps us from doing things. How many people avoid rock climbing for fear of heights, or avoid hikes or swims in a river for fear of snakes? Have you ever thought about the extent to which fear has held you back in life?
In order to live a life that’s not governed by fear, you’ll need to do a couple of things. First, think about all the things you’re afraid of. From big things like your future to small things like bugs. Then, think about which of those fears affect your life. If your list of fears is primarily made up of things that aren’t practical, it might be time to do something about it.
Getting over your fear isn’t simple. The things we’re afraid of can have a tight grip on our lives. But realizing what things hold us back and what things aren’t practical can make a huge difference. Recognizing the need for change is the first step toward being able to have a life that isn’t run by anxiety. Fears can even become a list of goals. Are you afraid of change? Make it a point to try something new. Are you afraid of travel? Make it a goal to head to a new spot this year. Tackling your fear head on can be an effective way of overcoming it. That can be the small step that launches your life into something truly exciting.