Limiting Beliefs

Understanding Your F.E.A.R.

Fear, also known as False Evidence Appearing Real, is one of the greatest limiting factors to happiness and success. Fear has many different sources and can manifest differently depending on the person. Understanding the root cause of your fear is the key to overcoming it.

People naturally gravitate towards the things that bring them pleasure and avoid the things that cause pain. This has been perfectly rational (and helpful!) for most of our history. In our modern world, these same instincts are now causing us to have physical and emotional reactions to social situations that are often tied to thoughts outside of reality. This fear comes from ideas and expectations constructed by an individual in their mind, and often overrides the ability to think logically. The degree to which our fears impact our everyday choices can vary, but it’s usually more pervasive than one realizes.

Fear can often be traced back to childhood or earlier circumstances in one’s life. Impactful events can trigger emotional reactions that stay with us unless we allow ourselves to fully experience them and let them go. When we’re children, however, we tend to use different coping mechanisms to prevent ourselves from feeling emotions that may be overwhelming at the time.

The mind is a powerful tool, but it is so powerful that it can make us believe things that are not true. Living in fear is a direct result of allowing un-real thoughts to grow inside your mind and become magnified. There are some things you may not even realize you have a fear of. So many people hold themselves back from getting a promotion or a new job because they simply don’t believe that they can do it. They are afraid of failure. The same can be said for any person who does not strive to reach a dream that they have – deep down they’re often afraid of failure.

The key to overcoming these fears is to deconstruct them. What, exactly, are you afraid of? What will happen if you fail? What is the worst that could happen? Writing the answers to these questions out or giving a voice to them is one way to bypass fear.

For example: I am not going to bother applying for a promotion.

Often the reason is something that almost sounds ridiculous if you say it out loud.

I did not get the promotion I applied for at my last job.

Most people would agree that the underlying fear is a bit irrational. However, most of us have similar thoughts all the time!

Although this is only one example of deconstructing false evidence appearing real, this principle can be applied to any situation, even one as simple as a fear of public speaking. What are the reasons you’re afraid of public speaking? What is the worst that could happen? Has something bad happened during a public speech before? Understanding your fear is the first step in overcoming it. Getting out of your comfort zone and questioning your own rationality is imperative when dealing with any type of fear.