Fear is on my mind today. I am facing several new firsts. I have just opened my first private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist. I certainly have fears about that.
It is easy to be fearful in life. Fear drives so much of what we do. It is a natural reaction to the unknown, to danger. Often our fears are for ourselves. Will I be able to make this relationship work? What will others think of me? Am I good enough to get this new job? And other times our fears are for others like when a parent is fearful that his or her child will make bad choices in life or when a loved one has an illness.
There is nothing wrong with fear in and of itself. In fact, it can be a great motivator. But most, if not all of us have experienced fear when it is the opposite. It paralyzes us so we cannot make any decision or any changes in our lives.
Fear can be so powerful. I recently heard a friend talking about a business venture she was considering. She said she was concerned about the risks involved. Someone asked her what the risks were. The friend started listing her fears. When it was pointed out that she was listing fears and not risks, she paused. She then tried to list the real risks. They were minimal. It was in that moment that she realized that her fears were threatening to block her from taking a great opportunity.
I think this is a great way to look at it. We often dismiss our own positives, our strengths. We love to give great weight to our fears about our negatives even though often the positives vastly outweigh them. When we become powerful is when we learn to harness the energy of our fears to make changes in our lives, to push forward and face the tough situations. Learning to see fearful situations as opportunities creates a new perspective. A powerful one, one that is full of promise.
The first step to doing that is to be honest with yourself. Be willing to accept your own strengths and abilities. Don’t downplay them. And do just the opposite with your fears. Be honest about the real risks involved. We often exaggerate the downside of our choices. We think that catastrophic things will happen. But that is seldom really the case. We make choices, we act, we move on. Sometimes our choices don’t give us the result we want, but we make a new choice and move on from there.
Let’s begin being honest about those fears today.