Mr. G and I have had a lot of deep conversations lately. And the idea of fear and anxiety has come up a good few times.
The other night when we were talking, he came out with an absolute belter. He said,
“The whole idea of conquering fear is crap. You NEVER conquer it. It’s always there. As soon as you’ve done one thing, it just moves on to something else.”
And he’s right.
When I look at my life and the things I’ve achieved – especially the things that seemed truly terrifying at first – you’d suppose that maybe I felt really confident the next time around.
In some ways, that’s true. Facing public speaking ordeals as a high-functioning but socially-phobic teacher, I can at least acknowledge that I felt really good about myself when I’d pulled off some solid presentations (supported by a fresh CBT-based mindset.)
And I consciously placed these experiences into my memory bank to call on when I needed encouragement for the next one.
But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scared the next time.
In fact, every time I speak to a different group of people, I feel varying levels of fear.
And that’s perfectly normal!
Fear is always present when you do something that’s slightly new and different; a little or a lot out of your comfort zone; when there’s a risk that you could lose something, whether this is ‘losing face’ by giving a poor speech in front of colleagues; or something more dramatic, like loss of life, by walking up a great height, skydiving or riding a roller-coaster.
Facing fears head-on is marvellous. Go for it, I say.
Just don’t expect to conquer them, or it.
Fear isn’t a vase that you can take off the shelf and smash into a million pieces, once and for all. It’s built into the foundations of your house.
Fear is part of you.
A much better plan, would be to accept this and work with your fear.
Have you conquered fears, only to find the feelings return? Are you comfortable with your fear, or do you battle it daily? Comments welcome:
My name is Chris and I am a therapist exploring the topic of mental health and community in the age of social media. I recently started a podcast and website to motivate me in my exploration.
I just came across your website and have really enjoyed the posts I’ve read so far! I would very much like to feature one on my “Reads” page on oldcoveroad.com. My goal is to create a space where people can share their thoughts and experiences and learn from each other. If you are interested is sharing, let me know and we can further discuss.
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Sounds good to me Chris! Maybe you want to check out my other business site – http://www.skillswithfrills.com – I teach wellbeing workshops in schools amongst many things. Contact details on there too.