Think about the last time you were scared of something. How did you feel? Anxious, hand-wring-ey, nauseous, wishing you were under the safety of you blanket at home? Now imagine how you'd feel if you wiped away all those feelings and learned how to face your fears.
I know what you're thinking: Um, easier said than done. And I completely side with you on that one. But I also know that when we're uncomfortable we tend to err on the side of contentment and choose to bypass putting ourselves into iffy situations, no matter the amount of self growth or accomplishment that can come out of it.
Personally, I can think back to a handful of moments I decided to chicken out of in order not to feel anxious: I left a party rather than trying to talk to anyone, I refused to put on skinny jeans because I wasn't ready to face the mirror, I didn't book a ticket to a city hours and hours away from me because I was scared to do it alone. And with each of these scenarios, if I only stuck my neck out just a little, I could have reaped amazing rewards.
So don't be me. Learn how to face your fears and see all the amazing things that can happen getting outside of your comfort zone. Let's do this together — below are seven ways to face your fears once and for all!
1. Turn Those Worrisome Thoughts Positive
Rather than marinating in your worrisome thoughts, the second you feel the tirade of "ohmygodohmygodohmygod," create a mental effort to change them into something positive.
Lifestyle writer Tess Marshall from self development site Tiny Buddha offered, "Fearful thoughts attract more fear. Positive thoughts attract success. Instead of expecting the worst, train your mind to expect the best. Make positive assumptions about your future." So instead of thinking "I definitely can't do this," think the opposite of "I got this," and list the ways you're prepared to take it head on. Because you are!
2. Use Other Winners As An Inspiration
Whether you're scared to step outside in a romper or terrified to go quit your job to follow your dream, find encouragement and confirmation in the success stories of others. Look up those that have rocked the hell out of what you're trying to do, and use them as your motivation to give it a shot, too.
Marshall recommended, "Use the success stories of others. Read how the Brooklyn Bridge was built. Study the success of Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Take note of the courage they developed and follow their path to greatness." After all, if they had the chops to do it and the sky didn't fall around their shoulders, the same can happen to you.
3. Change The Script Of The Narrative In Your Head
When you're scared, you think of a horror story to end all horror stories in your head in order to keep you cozy in your comfort zone. If you try to make your side hustle a side business, you'll fail miserably and won't be able to make rent and will be that one girl that lives underneath a bridge. If you ask that cutie out at the bar, they'll sucker punch you right in the face. Like, square in the face. If you go to the party alone, you'll be sitting all night on the sofa alone, a shunned social recluse.
Instead of believing all that negative self-talk, change the script of your story! Lifestyle writer Tess Marshall from Lifehack observed, "Our stories are often about the pain of the past or the fear of the future. Change the fearful stories you tell yourself. You can find safety by learning to live in the present moment. You always have the option to create new stories filled with positive expectations of the future." Every time you feel your fear creaping on, take control of the narrative and tell yourself how everything can go right. It'll be a lot more encouraging.
4. Think Of The Worst-Case Scenario, And Show Yourself How You'll Get Through It
While many say that it's not helpful to dwell on the worst-case scenario of your fear, I think it could be. Only if you think about what's the most tragic, cringe-worthy, devestating thing that could happen, and then show yourself just how you'll get over it and work passed it.
Entrepreneur Amy Rees Anderson and business contributor to Forbes, wrote, "Sure, having to work through a negative outcome may not be easy or fun, but we will, in fact, find a way to move beyond it. By going through the exercise of dealing in our minds with the worst-case scenario, it allows us to mentally shift our thinking from 'I can’t handle it' to 'I will get through it.' Thus allowing ourselves to move forward in spite of our fears." It'll help you see that you can work through anything as long as you have the will to!
5. Tackle It Systematically
A great way to qualm any great fears is to tackle it systematically. Say you're scared of going outside in short shorts. Rather than wearing the tiniest pair you can find, first try going out in culottes. Then step out in loose high waisted bermudas. Then keep raising that hem until you're finally in that hot pants zone you were after. by taking it slow, you systematically normalize the fear and allow yourself to get used to it.
Psychotherapist and Forbes contributor Amy Morin said, "The key to overcoming a debilitating fear is to start by doing something that is only slightly anxiety-provoking. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning no anxiety and 10 being equal to sheer terror, look for something that would raise your anxiety to level 4. Then, keep doing that activity until your anxiety decreases." And it will, as long as you're diligent.
6. Make The Decision That It's Okay To Be Afraid
Just because you're afraid doesn't mean you should stop from trying. You can both feel your fear and anxiety, and still move forward with what you're apprehensive about. Once you decide that that anxious feeling isn't a road block but just a part of the experience, it becomes a non-issue.
Anderson shared, "I decided it was okay for me to feel the fear, because frankly I couldn’t stop from feeling it, but I was going to do whatever needed to be done anyway. Once I decided to acknowledge I was going to press forward in spite of my fears, it was like a huge stumbling block was suddenly removed from my path." You don't have to erase your fear, you just have to try despite it.
7. Take A Deep Breath, And Jump
You'll never get over your fear by staring at it from the sidelines. Instead, gather up all your courage and jump right into the thick of it. The more times you practice it, the less intimidating it will be. Marshall offered, "Do the things that frighten you. Take one small step, then another. Action builds courage. Tell yourself, 'This fear will pass.' Your world expands as your courage and willingness to grow expands."
So take a deep breath, trust that you've got this, and see what happens!
Image: @abeautifulmess/ Instagram