Most of us become paralyzed with fright when faced with potential life-changing decisions. This can be anything from an opportunity to move across the country for a dream job, or the chance to travel to new and exotic places without the comfort of a friend or familiar face.
Change scares us because it entails leaving something we have become comfortable with to explore the unknown and unfamiliar.
We are afraid to act because we are uncertain; we don’t know what lies ahead and we would rather stick to what we know and are comfortable with than risk everything for something that seems far away and unreachable.
But as with everything we experience in life, it is only through change that we are able to grow into better people. Every new experience starts out as a scary one, but becomes more and more familiar (and sometimes even enjoyable) when we become regularly exposed to it.
We can choose to let our fears hold us back from these new experiences, or we can use them to push ourselves to go above and beyond the achievements of other people.
In short, we can harness the power of these fears and uncertainties to create greater fulfillment in our personal lives and careers.
At the onset, it might seem like a daunting task; fear is, after all, a very natural impulse. Psychologists theorize that human beings developed this ability as a defense mechanism against dangerous natural forces and predators.
Being afraid ensured our self-preservation because it made us wary of things that we could not fully explain or understand.
It also gave us the ability to differentiate between different types of danger, and to make snap decisions based on limited information in order to safeguard ourselves from potentially hazardous situations.
So, being afraid of something isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s only when we let these fears and uncertainties hold us back from new and exciting experiences that they become increasingly detrimental to our own personal growth and development.
So the question is, how can we learn how to manage these fears more efficiently? How can we use them to catalyze our own positive personal growth, as opposed to holding us back from taking risks and trying out new things?
It’s simple, really: First, we must learn to accept that being afraid is part of being human. Striving for fearlessness is impossible because it goes against our nature.
Rather than seeking to conquer our fears, we must learn instead how to act in spite of them. The latter entails that we learn to understand these fears and to embrace them as a part of who we are. When we dig deep inside of our minds to the source of these fears, we begin to understand the reasons behind our uncertainty.
We begin to realize that however afraid we might feel, there is still no reason to hold ourselves back from the risk of new experiences and uncertainties.
We slowly begin to reason with our fear, to understand the trigger behind the emotions. This leads us to evaluate the validity behind our fears, whether they are irrational and unfounded or built upon our personal experience.
As the scientist Marie Curie once said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
From this understanding comes the discovery that there is strength inside us that we never knew existed.
It is at this point that we realize that we are stronger than what we thought and that, as Marianne Williamson once wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; it is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
With nothing to hold us back, we are finally able to live the most fulfilling lives we've always dreamed of.
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