Many of our decisions and the choices we make are fear based. In today’s world generated by COVID 19, we can’t help but make most of our decisions stemming from our own fear of the unknown.
Let’s face it, we all have a little (or a lot) of control freak inside us. We loathe change. We want to oversee any changes in our life. We want to be our own boss as well as serve as boss to others when it benefits ourselves.
When we feel others are trying to control us, take things away, put our families in jeopardy, hurt our loved ones, change or make new rules, restrict us, or take options away from us, we automatically kick into the dreaded territory we try to avoid…the fear of the unknown.
This fear harboring about the unknowns of life, the future, and our choices can paralyze our ability to act. We can find ourselves embedded in an invisible cement surrounded in our own anger, resentment, and bitterness.
I have witnessed over and over again individuals in my office who refuse to admit and accept their fears. They don’t admit these fears and avoid confronting them. More times than not, the fear is based on the fear of the unknown. These individuals are terrified of letting go of their own control and accepting a new way of life – accepting the process of life and only controlling the things they are capable of controlling.
When we get more comfortable in embarking in the journey of self-awareness, we slowly but surely build our own self esteem. Understanding where our fear of the unknown comes from, embracing the journey, walking through the uncomfortable desolate junk, and confronting the junk leads to overcoming the fear of the unknown.
Venturing out can be terrifying. Look around! We are being forced to navigate in unchartered waters. We are all being forced to navigate not only for ourselves but the precious people who depend on us. Venturing out or creating change in our lives creates environments that we learn to become more skilled, knowledgeable, and comfortable in our fear of the unknown. This is where confidence is conceived.
How does a person overcome their fear of the unknown?
Ask where your fear of the unknown comes from?
Fear is a natural human instinct that exists to keep us from harm. It is a rare person who experiences no fear at all.
Those with few fears may have previously confronted theirs or grown comfortable with them in order to move past them.
After all, courage is choosing to stare fear in the face and act anyway. We all respect individuals like this but many of us don’t have the guts to do it ourselves.
Fear of the unknown may stem from an intimidating circumstance, situation, or memories of past attempts going badly. Making mistakes or not getting the results you were hoping for. It is basically giving up and not trusting your own judgement nor trusting a higher power.
Anxiety is carefully bread by our fear of the unknown. Most of the time our fears tend to be much larger in our mind than in reality. We spend a lot of unnecessary time, worry and angst manifesting the horrific things that might happen. Using an experience that went wrong and not trying again only proves to be an excuse for growth and self-awareness.
Okay, control freaks (me included): a fear of the unknown may be the result of feeling out of control. Feeling you have no control in a situation, event, or outcome. This fear will evoke anxiety, fear, and stress about all the potential ways that something could go wrong or you not getting the results you feel you deserve.
Take some time to do some self-searching…instead of surrounding yourself in unfounded fears.
Think about past situations that caused you embarrassment, grief, pain, or desperation. Examine them in a different light. You are older, wiser, more experienced, or hopefully have learned from these experiences. Recognize why you feel scared, negative, insecure, or uncertain stemming from these experiences. Know by recognizing and acknowledging these feelings you can change the way you think, and you can change your actions.
One must identify what it is they are afraid of and why they are afraid of it…
This root knowledge will help guide your future decisions on how to proceed.
Research and understand the real risks associated with your fear.
Our minds have the innate ability to expand, twist, and distort our fear of the unknown. Our minds create something greater than reality because of the intangible nature of the fear. We can make this fear as grandiose, gigantic, and horrific as we wish.
When we make the unknown known and understand the risks associated with it, we can ground ourselves, start over, and look at these fears and results in a different manner.
Many other fears are rooted in the unknown, and that makes familiarizing yourself with the unknown that much more powerful in dismantling your fear.
What is the thing that you want to do? What are the risks associated with it? What is the worst that can happen? What can you gain? What can you learn? What can you achieve?
We have been forced to have a chance to start at the end and work backwards on our fears. We are all encompassed in a bubble of isolation creating our fear of the unknown. Take this mandatory allotted time to search inside yourself to discover your fear of the unknown. Take notes. Embrace the feelings, good and bad. Accept your hesitations and reservations and make the necessary changes.
Other times it’s better to take small steps toward the much larger goal that you’re looking to accomplish. In doing so, you can build momentum and confidence as you build your skills and ability to handle the circumstances surrounding the thing that you’re afraid of.
Transition your fear into excitement.
Excitement? Are you kidding me? Nope, I am not. Excitement and fear come from a similar place. They provide a certain amount of stimulation and come with comparable physical sensations.
It takes a cognitive deliberate decision and effort to change your thoughts from fear to excitement. It is not an easy feat. It requires the desire to change as well as the motivation to do so.
We all know the all too familiar feeling of fear and anxiety. You know the feelings causing us to focus on the negative. The “everything that will surely go wrong”.
It takes breaking the internal voices in your head that you have played over and over again causing you heartache and pain. We must change our negative internal narratives to positives and break the cycle of self-damaging internal words.
This is the practice of mindfulness and meditation. It takes time, practice, effort and dedication to retrain your thoughts. It is worth it. It is worth tackling your fear of the unknown.
Be aware of the people walking alongside of you on your journey.
Negativity breeds negativity. It is transferred to one human being to the other. It becomes a bad habit and sadly, negativity can be easier than being positive at times.
Especially during these though scary times, when we have a million reasons to be negative, be careful and mindful of not going down that destructive rabbit hole.
“Misery loves company”. Remember this in your thoughts, actions, words and behaviors.
Surround yourself with positive people. If not in person, seek positive uplifting individuals on podcasts and educational materials. Surround yourself with healthy positive information. Turn media off when you find it to be repetitive or dragging you down to the pits of depression. You have a choice in what you read, listen to and watch on social media and television.
Sometimes people need to walk certain paths in stillness and alone to gain insight into yourself. Know this is normal and give yourself permission to do so.
Use the uncertain times we live in to find certainty within yourself. Take this time to embrace the time you have be given to grow and learn about yourself. This will only benefit the individuals in your life.
Don’t fear the unknown. Embrace it. Know this too shall pass and you may not be given this opportunity again.
It is important during this time to take care of your own mental health as well. I recently blogged about Overcoming Worry however if you are feeling stuck and need to talk, I would love to meet you! Email or call anytime to schedule a virtual session. (817) 701-5438 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CRT, CCDC, CACC | Counselor & Life Coach
Empowering individuals, families and communities to grow and heal through advanced approaches in Creative Arts Therapy, setting the standard for treatment, practice and training within the field.