You may be surprised and encouraged to learn that while inability to deal with fear may look and feel like a psychological problem, in most cases it isn’t.
I believe it is primarily an educational problem, and that by re-educating the mind, you can accept fear as a fact of life rather than a barrier to success.
As l explained in my earlier speech, l had a lot of fears, so it wasn’t surprising that for years l hung onto many things in my life that clearly did not work.
Part of the problem was the nonstop little voice inside my head telling me:
- You can’t do that
- You’ll never make it it on your own
- Don’t take a chance
This little voice was getting louder and louder, and then one day l looked in the mirror and saw this sad face.
I suddenly shouted "ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH".
When l stopped, l felt a sudden calm and relief l had never felt before. I looked again into the mirror and shouted: "YES YES". The old voice of doom and gloom had to go; at least temporarily, and a new voice came to the fore, speaking of love, determination, joy and all good things.
I began to read, attend lectures and talk to people as much as possible on the topic of fear. l unlearned thinking about the words that kept me imprisoned in my own insecurities.
One of my conversations goes like this:
"Adam what are you having difficulty confronting in life?"
- I want to change my career of 19 years, and follow my dream of becoming an artist
- I want to get over the fear of rejection, which makes it very difficult to ask a woman for the date
Me: Do you think that your difficulty is unique?
Adam: No, l don’t think so but this is my dilemma.
Me: Many of us have our own wants, but the common denominator is the fact that fear is keeping you from experiencing life the way you want to experience it.
Me: Do you know what to do to conquer the fear?
Adam: Not really, but maybe l have a psychological problem?
Me: Fear can be broken down into three levels:
- Surface story: this is the part where you offload your wants. This level of fear can be divided into two types: those that happen and those that require action.
- Happen: ageing, being alone, change
- Action: making decisions, changing career, losing weight
- Fears are not situation – orientated, they involve the ego
- Rejection, success, failure, helplessness
This is your inner state of mind rather than exterior situations. They reflect your sense of self and your ability to handle living. If you feel rejected, you begin to go back into yourself, shut down and close doors on the world around you.
- "I can’t handle it – that’s it? That’s the big deal?" you may ask.
- At the bottom of your fears is simply the fear that you can’t handle whatever life may bring you.
Level 1 fears – l can’t handle: illness, losing my job, losing someone, being alone
Level 2 fears – l can’t handle: failure, rejection
Level 3 simply – l can’t handle it.
The truth is, if you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear? NOTHING!
Adam: This is all very well Marek, and l know the fear thing is a huge topic but what would you recommend in order for me to conquer such fears?
Me: I know you are not jumping up and down for joy just yet, but believe me when l tell you; l have just given you a great piece of news. What l have just told you means you can handle all your fears without having to control anything in the outside world. This should be a tremendous relief. You may no longer have to control what your mate does, what your friends do, what your children do or what your boss does.
All you have to do to diminish your fear, is to develop more trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way!
Adam: thanks Marek but l don’t really trust myself in my own ability, what's next?
Me: l often get asked to explain why we have so little trust in ourselves. I don’t really know the answer.
I know that some fear is instinctual and healthy and keeps us alert to trouble. Perhaps it can be blamed on your conditioning.
All my life l have never heard a mother call out to her child as he/she goes off to schoolsaying: “Take a lot of risks today”. She is more likely to convey to her child; “ be careful”. This phrase; “be careful” carries with it a double message: “ The world is really dangerous out there and you won’t be able to handle it”.
You see the mother is only passing on her lack of trust in her ability to handle what comes her way.
I know you don’t like the fact that lack of trust in yourself is stopping you from getting what you want in life. Knowing this creates a very clear focus of what needs to be changed. You don’t have to think why, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you now begin to develop trust in yourself, until you reach the point where you will be able to say the following:
"WHATEVER HAPPENS TO ME, GIVEN ANY SITUATION, I CAN HANDLE IT!"
I hope you enjoyed our conversation, l certainly did and l hope you can take something away to guide you on your way to conquering your fears.