Fear is a tricky thing and navigating it can be difficult without a map. If you’re feeling apprehensive about the direction your life is headed, read on so you can begin to develop the practical tools that you will need to manage your fears, incorporate your faith, and take action.
The topic of fear comes up often — both in daily interactions and in scientific studies. The experience of fear is universal amongst species on earth — even an amoeba will move away from a stimulus and so in that way, fear unites every living being. How we react to the fear though, that is a personal experience.
Some people go into full-blown panic mode when they’re scared and behave in irrational ways. Some people think only for the short-term without considering their long term survival strategy. Some people just freeze in their fear and let it hobble them. All of these responses make sense to a point — they are biologically wired into us after all — but they may not be entirely useful in times of crisis.
During critical times in life, other people blindly trust that everything will be okay, perhaps refusing to believe the truth or the reality of the situation. Blind faith, with no plan in place, can also keep a person stuck.
Both fear and faith individually can immobilize us, not allowing for any rational thinking or planning to enter the picture. But it’s the element of rationality that is the true key to success and what is necessary for real survival and inner harmony.
My client Dr. Sherry had so much fear that it had paralyzed her. She knew she wanted to change something but couldn’t figure out exactly what to change. So she simply kept going to more and more courses with no plan as to what to do after. We started her coaching with doing the Be Honest assessment (I’ll tell you how to get that at the end) to snap her out of fear and into faith and impactful directed action.
What happens when you stay in fear? Think of it like steering a ship — if the captain doesn’t do anything or just hopes and prays that it will reach its destination, that thing is not going anywhere. There needs to be systems in place for getting it there bringing back to a personal scale, that system is our habits. Step one of the system is to assess where. Then, with coaching, a roadmap is built based on going from where you are to where you want to end up.
No matter what is going on in your life, your habits, the things you do every day, either consciously or unconsciously, are what gives your fear and faith the dose of rationality they need so they can work for you.
So how can you utilize both fear and faith?
Use it to take stock of your life.
Are you scared that you don’t have enough money/food/love? That fear can keep you stuck, not knowing what to do If you just think that everything will be okay and take no action, your faith will also keep you stuck. or you can identify it and identify the underlying habit changes that will guide you to the outcome you desire.
Identify the ways in which you’re holding yourself back.
For example, if you are worried about not having a partner, if you’re afraid you will spend your life alone, you can let the fear overwhelm you and do nothing, you can just believe that it will be okay and do nothing, or with a little bit self-distance, you can identify the patterns that keep you single in the first place. Maybe you are drawn to the wrong partners because you don’t know what it is you truly value in others. Maybe you don’t go out on dates because you just “know” that there are no good single people left out there. Maybe you are just waiting for the right person to magically drop into your lap and without any effort at all, become your one and only. Whatever your reasons and rationale, look deeply at the areas of your life that you find unfulfilling and ask yourself what things you do to keep it that way. It may not be a fun exercise, to take responsibility for the state of your life, but sometimes growth isn’t fun.
Realize that you can only control yourself
As much as we may want to, it is difficult to control the actions of other people. Of course, you can have emotions about another’s behavior, but like with fear, these emotions may cause you to act irrationally. For example, if those emotions take the shape of trying to get someone to do things the way you would do them, it may be a sign of an unhealthy dynamic or you may be causing yourself undue stress. This can be one of the hardest things to for people to accept — how little control over other people we actually have, how life events just happen without any respect for the fact that this is not a good time right now — but the sooner you let go of the fear of not having complete control, the sooner you can find peace.
The best thing to do may be to control the things you can — your actions and your habits — and use them to create the framework for your dream life.
Trust that you will be okay while taking the steps to make it so
As easy as it is to just hope and pray that everything will be fine, a truly successful and fulfilling life only comes to those that also expend some effort to make it so. Have faith that you can create the life you want, even have faith that that something larger than yourself wants you to have everything you need in life, but also make the life changes necessary to allow it to flow to you with more ease.
Know that change takes time but if you make small changes now, it can greatly affect your wellbeing weeks down the road.
You can take control of your habits so you can balance fear and faith and live the life you want. Here is a “Be Honest ” worksheet you can use to change habits for the most impact. Use this tool to assess the areas of your life that are not working for you. Using this sheet you will be able to clearly see the steps to take to get where you want to be. Pick one area and one simple action you can do daily for the next 3 weeks until it becomes a habit. Download the worksheet so you can start tackling the bothersome areas in your life today.