When fear lives anywhere and everywhere, it can be gut gripping to look at what is scariest for you. Fear usually results in fight, flight, or freeze depending on how you like to protect yourself. There is not a one size fits all response, and people can show fear in unpredictable ways since our amygdala or reptilian brain is being triggered.
When fear is animalistic, it can be difficult to transform guttural reactions into something useful for your life. No wonder people get stuck here. The transition itself can be terrifying. And yet, there is hope. Facing fears means taking a leap of faith. This has been within you all along, so all you have to do is tap into something that already exists. It’s possible for fear and faith to coexist, even with the discomfort.
These 5 tips to face fears can lead to faithful action steps that may transform your life with your willingness.
Establish what faith means to you.
It’s really difficult to believe in something you may not be able to see every day. If you have to rely on a figment of your imagination, chances are you may not trust where faith leads. This is why it’s important to know what faith means to you.
This is different for everyone. Some people attach a God of their choice to faith. Others share the belief that the universe holds faith for them. People may also establish faith within themselves, a pocket of their soul, heart, or reserve that holds intentions. And many have some version of all three or something entirely different that works for them. If you are going to take a leap, there is comfort in knowing how the net was made so that you can trust that it will appear.
Build trust within yourself.
Once you get comfortable with the idea of having faith available to you at any time, it’s important to understand how to build trust within yourself. You can have all the faith in the world, but without practice, it is hard to have trust in your beliefs. Becoming trustworthy starts with keeping promises to yourself.
If you say that you are going to eat all the meals in your refrigerator before you order takeout, do that. If you tell yourself that you want to go for a hike on a certain day, make sure it happens. Going gentle on yourself is part of the process too. Think about how you learn to trust others and turn it inward. There is no need for perfection, only progress.
Facing fears is not an easy task because it comes with emotions that are uncomfortable. Emotions are energy in motion. When they get stuck because they aren’t being processed, you may feel discomfort instead. It is hard. Anger, disgust, sadness, jealousy, and shame can be heavy. They may move slowly. They may make certain areas in your body hurt. You may start to feel your hands get sweaty. You may feel your eyes go out of focus. You may notice that your jaw is clenched tightly. These are all signs that unsettled emotions are within you. Courageously identify them so that they can begin to move again.
There is courage in being a flawed human. The practice is not to make the emotions go away completely but to cope appropriately when they come up. If you feel tightness in your jaw, you can courageously take a breath. If you feel anger rise, you can count to ten for a pause. It’s okay that emotions are surfacing, have the courage to cope with them as they do.
Start a meditation practice.
Meditation can feel overwhelming because there are many options and all of them seem to stop the glorification of busy. Once you have faith, trust, and courage; meditation is a mindful next step.
It can be 2 minutes of silence while you sip your morning beverage.
It may look like listening to a guided meditation through an app on your phone.
Meditation might mean taking a walk and noticing the nature around you.
Perhaps meditation is going into the kitchen and making a meal with multiple steps while breathing and pausing.
Meditation can even be journaling while you listen to calming or relaxing music.
If you are feeling particularly angry, a journaling exercise called, ‘rage on the page’ is incredibly helpful. It’s a way to get all your thoughts on a journal page with no judgement or holding back.
Journaling is a safe place to put down thoughts, especially if you are afraid of anger. No matter what, meditation is a maintenance step in facing fears. It is something that you can go back to as many times as you need once you have it in your toolbox.
Fear arises around failure. It’s easy to avoid scary things because handling it perfectly may be the only option in the moment. If you are already feeling uneasy, there is peace in certainty and that doesn’t leave much room for vulnerability with mistakes.
Making mistakes means that we are not perfect. This isn’t easy to face when you are in fear. Perfectionism can seem like the answer because it can align with your lovability. Shifting our mindset into a place of growth allows mistakes to be made and even celebrated.
A mistake isn’t failure; It is proof that you practiced. Facing fears means transforming our mindset from “if I make a mistake” to “when I make a mistake.” Taking responsibility for imperfection can eliminate future fear because you no longer have to carry around the burden of shame. It’s okay not to get everything right all the time.
There is celebration in flaws because it can lead to connection and personal growth.
Facing fears is a daunting task though it’s not impossible. Discomfort can mean disassociation but sticking with what comes up for you leads to freedom. When you look into what is fearful for you, you can let it go and feel personal gain. There is no need to stuff away what is scary. There is joy that awaits while you look into your fears. Understanding why you are afraid and practicing faith is a courageous fulfilling act that can be achieved by anyone.
Denver Metro Counseling is a group of clinicians who provide therapeutic support for teens, adults, parents, and families. We help people build positive relationships with themselves and others.
Click on the links below for more information:
Young Adult Counseling
Support for Therapists
Help For Depression
Substance Use and Recovery Support
Trauma Therapy and EMDR