Once again, I have come back from a long hiatus. Of course, I can say that I was too busy and just couldn’t find the time to sit down and commit, which was part of the issue. But I might as well be as honest as possible and admit that fear and a lack of confidence kept me from fully committing to this blog. The fear of making the first move. It’s almost staggering the hold it can have on us sometimes. The things it keeps us from doing, acting, and even keeping us from being our true selves, just because we worry about a future we have no idea about. I believe that we have all been stuck in fear because of FOUR reasons:
- Comfort is comforting. It’s always the easier choice to find a way to justify why we can’t do what we want to do or pursue that goal for ourselves. After a long day at work, heading to the gym is always the first thing to go off the to-do list of the evening, am I right? Doing what we’ve always done is like muscle memory. It takes no effort to follow the same consistent habits.
- Lack of confidence and insecurities. Comparing your talents with others and having low confidence in your abilities are quick ways of keep us frozen in fear. Focusing on what we feel like we can’t do, instead of the talents that we do possess slowly chip away at our perceptions of our identities.
- The potential outcome makes us nervous. Our first thoughts when thinking of a nerve-wracking situation are often the worst-case scenarios. What happens if I fail?
- Unwilling to make a move until a rigid plan is in place. If you’re anything like me, I sometimes feel like I can’t take a single step in starting a project until I have a well-thought out plan. Sometimes even written out. It gives us comfort and confidence in outlining our initial steps. But it can keep you from even making the first step if the plan, and not the project becomes the main focus.
Ultimately, fear ends up robbing us of the opportunity to see how we can control our future and the benefits that come from following our purpose. It keeps us from seeing what we are capable of when we live happily and authentically, full of gratitude and hope.
Luckily, there are ways to break out of this cycle of fear, with 6 techniques that have worked wonders for me:
Small victories count! Make efforts, even small ones to knock down your fear. Treat it like a repetitive exposure. Every exposure will help make the next one easier. Small victories always add up! Each time you conquer a fear, no matter the size, you’ll instantly feel better about yourself. Practice small, safe exposures and see how easy it becomes to build up your tolerance to what seemed insurmountable before, but will now seem like a small hurdle. Making the exposures a habit will train your mind to connect feelings of confidence and a positive outlook of yourself to overcoming your fears. Staying consistent is the best way to remind yourself the power and control you have in your life.
Stop psyching yourself out! Be confident in your abilities! How courageous it is to even take the first step in following your dream? Your awareness in your capabilities and confidence to make the decision is a direct demonstration of knowing full well what you can do. Let your passion drive you, not your unconfirmed fears. Even ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen? And see if you can live with that consequence. I always find that chances are, I am magnifying the fear because I’ve already told myself that I couldn’t do something correctly, well enough, or with the confidence I felt like I needed.
Rid yourself of toxic atmospheres. If it’s others that are in your ear, tune them out! If social media or TV is your vice, try to stay away from triggers that demotivate you. Instead, follow social media feeds that remind you of your strengths and keep a record of them for moments when you need motivation. And please, spare yourself the black hole of comparison! You are you because of the unique gifts only you possess. When I get self-conscious about my writing, I try to remind myself that only I can write with this specific tone, rhetoric, intent, and purpose. Unlike no other. Know that only you are the one in control of your first step, journey, and destination. Don’t let the voices of others steer you away from and overshadow your own inner voice.
Stop planning everything to death! Overthinking each step and creating a rigid schedule can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a tool to begin. In my work, one of the basic principles of my science training is following the scientific method or a lab experiment. It makes for trying to not follow that same habit with my personal life very difficult. Society makes us believe that a plan is the most logical way to successfully complete an objective or meet a goal. It is definitely true when checking off mundane tasks like paying bills or a starting a work project. But when it comes to something you want to pursue, the step-by-step plan can sometimes take the place of your fear as a justification as to why you haven’t started or have been procrastinating for the last 6 months.
Do it for you, and no one else. I find that most of the pressures that cause me to not start a passion project are having a lack of confidence in my ability to tackle something new and even getting too caught up in my speculations of what others may think. One of my insecurities I used to have about my blog was my layout. When I would see other blogs, I would immediately want to change mine, thinking that mine wasn’t as impressive in comparison. I had to remind myself who the main audience was. Myself. I began to realize that I was proud of my creation and the work I had put in it.
Remind yourself of the times you’ve conquered your fear, and the good that came of it! When did you complete something that you were fearful of doing? How did it feel, and more importantly, how did you feel about your sense of self afterwards? Confidence automatically comes with confronting fear. Taking the initial step forward even during such a vulnerable time will help you realize that you are bigger than your fear. And every time you meet it head on, you self-esteem and sense of self will skyrocket.
What could we possibly have to lose by taking the first (and continual) steps to doing what we enjoy? What makes us happy and fulfilled? Our happiness lies in feeling comfortable in our perception of ourselves and unapologetically fulfilling our passions. So our personal happiness should always be at the top of the list, not allowing fear to take over.
I keep these tips in mind when I feel myself backing away from a goal (what seems unattainable at the time) because I let a moment of insecurity cloud my thoughts. Reminding yourself that only you stand in your own way of achieving your goals will make the path much less treacherous when you aren’t having to battle with your own mind.
What do you think of these tips? Have you given them a try?