“How To Conquer Fear”
By Joan Gorham
Words From Our Heart
Deaconess, Mothers & Ministers’ Wives Ministry
We all want happiness and peace of mind—but fears creep in from so many different directions, distracting and upsetting us. Some fears are small (I’m afraid I won’t be able to hold my own in the meeting today) and others loom larger (I’m afraid I’m making a mistake by taking that new job or getting married). But to get rid of any size fear or worry, you have to find its CAUSE. Once it’s found, you have to do something about that cause to eliminate the EFFECTS. Attempts must be made to remove the cause. Here you can discover some methods for conquering your fear. They have proved helpful to almost everyone who has tried them.
ANALYZE EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE AFRAID OF
Any fear that is faced honestly and truthfully may be conquered, if the SOURCE of the fear can be determined. And quite often the source isn’t what you think it is. Let’s take a big fear, like getting married or taking a new job. The fear might not actually be of that situation, but of how it will affect your financial future—or whether it will last—or if that will really make you happy at last. Taking a hard look at what you are actually afraid of is the first step.
CAN SOMETHING BE DONE?
This famous prayer embodies a philosophy of life that has helped change the attitudes of thousands of persons for the better. So I quote it because this prayer may change your life. “God, grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change; the COURAGE to change the things I can; and the WISDOM to know the difference.”
FINING A SOLUTION
If something can be done to solve the problem, identify that action and then do it. Let’s look at our previous example—if your concerns are financial, sit down and really analyze your money situation. Take a look at the cold, hard numbers and calculate worst and best case scenarios. And possibly start putting a bit more in savings as a “cushion” against any future problems. Taking a PROACTIVE step is often the best way to COUNTERACT fear. But if nothing can be done, stop stewing about it. We must all accept the inevitable or face K-mental disaster.
COMPUTE THE LIKELIHOOD OF IT HAPPENING
Quite often, we create fears in our heads that seem overwhelming, but actually have a relatively small chance of occurring. Take a look at the chain of EVENTS that would have to happen for your fears to come true. Let’s pretend that your fear is that you will take the new job, but then be laid off and end up out on the streets, living in a box under the freeway. What are the chances of that actually occurring? Sure, you might lose your job at some point—it happens to almost everyone. But as a resourceful person, you will surely be able to find some way to make ends meet (although this fear might be a good wake-up call telling you not to live your life in debt!) Compare the likelihood of the thing you fear happening and you will usually find the chances of what you fear are REMOTE.
DO THE THING YOU FEAR
In order to gel rid of fear, we usually have to EXPOSE ourselves over and over again to the situation we fear. In our previous example, maybe your fear of the new job is that you will have to meet new people and develop new relationships. The best way to get comfortable with this idea is to do it again and again. Join some community or networking groups where you are continually asked to introduce yourself to strangers, participate in team efforts, and overcome your shyness. You’ll find your fear dissipating with each new hand you shake.
DEAL WITH PROBLEMS AS SOON AS THEY ARISE
Many of our worries arise from our POSTPONEMENT of decisions. Don’t vacillate. It is better to make a wrong choice than to tear yourself apart making and remaking the same decision in your head. Where there is indecision, there are doubts—where there are doubts, you have conflict——where you have conflict, you have distress. The longer your indecisiveness lasts, the more DTFF1CULT the problem seems to become. If you vacillate long enough, your state of anxiety can become chronic.
OVERCOME YOUR FEARS OF MAKING MISTAKES
Many of our fears are based on past mistakes. Instead of profiting from our failures and learning from them, we let the memory of them PARALYZE us. There is no recipe for infallibility. The trouble with most of us is that we want a sure fire guarantee that we will be right 100% of the time. There is no such thing.
Let’s look at the example of a new marriage—you might have watched a relationship go sour in the past or been divorced, and wonder why this one should be any different. The answer is that you are a completely different person this time, with wisdom and experiences you didn’t have before. And often, going into a situation with apprehension bring about problems that wouldn’t have existed if you had no negative expectations. Ask yourself. “What have Ito lose if I act as though I did not fear the thing I do fear?“ When you discover you have nothing to LOSE, you release within yourself the power of POSITIVE action.
Faith is the key to unlock the unlimited powers of the mind, the heart, and the soul. Have faith that you can win out over disasters and setbacks. Have faith in your ability to SOLVE problems that come up. Have faith in the ultimate REALIZATION of your hopes. Faith smashes fear.
DON’T EXPECT TO BE COMPLETELY WORRY-FREE
Some fears and worries have a rational basis while others are based on exaggeration and misinterpretation. But only a moron could go through life completely unconcerned and unworried every second of every day. Faced with a situation he fears, every human being either: (a) runs away from it; (b) faces it; or (c) retreats temporarily, gathers his reserve strength together and then attacks the situation again. You can’t successfully flee from fear. Running away from any situation or fear is foolish But we can, by our small daily actions, learn to TRIUMPH over small fears and so build up the king of courage that will help us face large emergencies successfully.
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