14 years have passed. 14 years is the same as the blink of an eye in the history of humanity. Fear is still alive in our memories, but we can’t let it enslave us.
As I was writing this post, I recalled my September 11, 2001.
I was already in Belgium, but college hadn’t started yet.
Back then, I used to spend most of the time on the Internet. I had no friends to talk to over here.
My friends were in Brazil, Mexico, USA and other countries. Emails and chats were the only means I had to stay in touch with them.
After coming home from church, I turned on the computer and started talking with my friends as usual.
But that day was different.
One of them, who was working not so far from the Towers, started writing me crazy stuff. He told me to turn on to CNN or BBC. “Everything is exploding here!”, he said.
I couldn’t access either website, and I left the desktop and went to the living room to watch TV.
Right at that moment, I saw an image that, after some replays, was never showed again.
It was a view from one of the planes hitting the World Trade Center. I was paralyzed. My friend said he had to leave the office, and I was left with the images on TV. I was in shock.
There is no reason to write what happened afterward. The world changed since that day. Things have never been the same again. And one of its worst side-effects remains: fear.Don't let fear be the master of your soul. #coaching Click To Tweet
What is fear?
According to Google, fear is: “an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.”
We fear the wide varied of things.
I spent most of my life terrified by butterflies. It’s serious. And believe me, I was not alone.
I could not control myself at the sight of a butterfly or a moth, whatever the size.
I have no clue how come I never had an accident because of it. I would shake, cry and run, without no absolute control of myself.
That is fear! It takes over us and masters our willpower. Without realizing it, we get lost.
Why should we overcome fear?
I know that my example is not the most severe one. I have even recently overcome it, and I hope the same will happen to my fears of height and needles.
But what about the fear that prevents us from having a normal life? Fears such as:
- speaking in public
- being alone
- leaving home
- making mistakes
Depending on how deep they’re planted in our minds, they can seriously threaten our well-being.
Fear hinders our ability to make decisions.
Instead of being motivated by what is best for us, we end up choosing the least painful way out.
This escape is not always the best option for us.
Chances are if we had taken the time to analyze the situation and rationalized it instead of panicking; we would be able to make a better judgment.
Such instinctive reactions can damage our career, social life, and even health, if not acted upon.
How to deal with fear?
Getting to know yourself is critical to be able to understand and overcome fear.
In worst cases, appealing for therapeutical support is the best (or only) solution.
Have in mind that living afraid is a stressful process for your mind and body.
One finds it hard to relax with the slightest thought of the triggering situation.
If you are afraid leaving your home, for example, the idea of having to walk outside for just a couple steps is terrifying. It’ll probably cause you sleepless nights, physical pain, and health reactions just to think about it.
Trying to explain it others is not always easy.
They aren’t inside your head, and it’s hard for them to understand the mechanism that sets your feelings in motion.
You’ll have to help them help you by setting your recovery in action.
How to overcome fear
While it might be hard, there are things you can to alleviate its symptoms. Some of them are:
- Search the origin of your fear
- Use reason to understand the motives
- Face your fears
Search the origin of your fear
Can you recall when you felt this fear for the first time? Can you link it to some previous experience?
The abrupt end of a relationship can start a fear of rejection. Critics received at an early age may generate a fear of speaking in public or fear of developing a social life.
Go as deep as you can in this process.
Self-knowledge can free you not only from your fears but other mental conditions as well.
If you need support to go through this exercise, don’t hesitate to search professional counseling.
Use reason to understand the motives
When involved emotionally in a situation, it’s difficult to evaluate it with a cold mind.
Still, it’s necessary to assume the position of an “observer” and analyze the circumstances from a third person perspective.
If instead of being your relationship that ended it was a friend’s.
What would you tell them to support their healing process? How would consider the impact of the breakup? What would you do to help them get out of it?
What about the critics? What can you take away from the experience to transform it into a life lesson?
Face your fears
While you may do your best to overcome fears, they may not go away altogether.
Fear is somehow part of us.
It can be caused by economic uncertainty, health conditions or a new challenge ahead.
The difference is how we live our life in spite of it.
You should never put yourself in a harmful and dangerous situation for the sake of fun. Life is a precious gift and should be used wisely.
But whenever possible, face your fears in the eye.
Leave the painful baggage behind (now that you know it better) and allow yourself to grow.
Let go of things that don’t serve you anymore.
It’s your turn
While talking to other people can help you overcome the fears holding you back, the only action will make a difference in your life.
Develop a system of awareness that will counter strike any negativity generated by fear.
Many times just the fact of making yourself conscious of the surroundings may be vital to avoid the loop of negative thoughts.
Even the smallest terror can grow into something more. The earlier you deal with it, the easier it’ll be overcome it.
Note that I am not a medical doctor or a psychologist. I write about my experiences and how I learned to deal with the situations life presented me.
There aren’t 2 of the same people. What worked for me, may not be the best solution for you.
Use the information shared here (and found online) to improve your well-being.
Still, don’t neglect to search for professional assistance if necessary. Only a qualified person can evaluate your case correctly and point out the best solution for you.
Please, download the workbook Overcome Fear to get clarity about your struggle. It’ll surely help you get started and have an idea of the next steps.
Today is a day to remember, but not to celebrate. The losses go beyond the victims and their families. We all lost.
We can’t let fear dictate our feelings and attitude.
For the little ones all over the globe, hope has to prevail. It’s not easy, but it’s our only chance to survive long term. This planet is beautiful, and life is a blessing. We cannot let it be wasted away in the darkness.
Meditate, pray and let go of your fears. Shine bright and bring light to those in need.
Remember everything vibrates. May you be a source be of positivity and hope.
Make a difference! If every single one of us does our best to spread out feelings of peace, equality, love and understanding, we will be contributing to making this planet a much better place to live.
How do you deal with fear?
Also published on Medium.