FEAR; Control it or it will control you!

Fear is one of the most prevalent human emotions and is capable of dominating your behavior or actions.  Fear literally has the ability to paralyze you.

Less dramatic, fear has the ability to control your daily behaviors and or actions.  Fear has the ability to prevent you from making changes in your life and can stop you from taking initiative.

Have you ever walked into a social environment and seen an attractive person sitting across the room?  Perhaps the person even looked your way and smiled.

All things would indicate the person is attracted to you as well.  How many people would walk across the room and introduce themselves or strike up a conversation?  Chances are, not many.

In fact, the percentage of people willing to walk over and introduce themselves is very low.  Why is that?  Short and simple… FEAR.  In this case, fear of rejection.  We are afraid the person will reject our initiative.  Because of that fear, chances are greater that we will not walk across the room and put ourselves out there.

Most of us can relate to this type of fear.  Most of us have been in similar situations at some point.  What we need to understand is that fear is a learned behavior.  In order to be successful in life or to bring about change, we must learn to control fear.  Being afraid does not define your character, but what you do in the face of fear does.

When my first son was eight months old I was sitting on the floor of my living room watching him play.  He was standing and holding himself up against the couch across from where I was sitting.  He turned and looked at me, and without hesitation took his first two steps toward me.  Unfortunately for him, I was about six steps away.  As a result he fell.

He whined for a couple of seconds then got back to his hands and knees and crawled back to the couch he had come from.  He managed to stand up, again propping himself against the edge of the seat cushion.  My son turned and looked at me and I saw the determination in his eyes.

He let go and headed for me again.  This time, to both of our surprise, he took six steps and fell into my lap.  We both giggled and I praised him for walking for the very first time.

My son, now thirteen years old and in middle school is scared to death to walk up and talk to a cute girl.  Although he doesn’t know why he is afraid, the fear now controls his behavior to the extent he won’t take the initiative.

What he fears is rejection.  Somewhere along the way, during his developmental process he learned the concept of fear.  When he was eight months old and took those first steps, he was fearless, despite falling after making a first attempt.  Now he won’t make the attempt at all, out of fear of falling (being rejected).  He learned to be afraid.

Chances are many of us are not happy with ourselves or our situations.  The range of topics this could include is very broad from being unhappy in relationships, financially, professionally, or perhaps our appearance.  Maybe we drink too much or have an addiction that is controlling our lives.  The list of possibilities is endless.

The sad reality is many of us will do nothing to change any of this.  Why? Mostly fear.  Fear of rejection, fear of failure or fear of change.

I speak to victims of domestic violence routinely and I always ask why they stay in abusive relationships.  The answer always boils down to the same response, fear of change or fear of the unknown (leaving).  Being in an abusive relationship, although not good, is familiar and that brings a certain level of comfort, despite being abused.

Getting out of that relationship exposes you to an entire unknown world.  Fear of change causes them to stay in the abusive relationship.  Obviously this issue is more complex than one paragraph but the premise is fear prevents them from making change in their lives.

We all face fear.  Fear is a normal and healthy emotion.  However, allowing fear to control us to the point of inaction is not healthy.

We will never completely eliminate fear, not should we try to.  We should however learn to channel fear and move forward.  There are only a few differences between successful people and non-successful people.  One of those differences is the ability to control fear and to step forward into the face of the unknown.

Many people never attain the level of success they desire or find happiness because fear controls them.  They are afraid to take a chance because they fear failure.  Using my eight month old son as a metaphor for life, if he didn’t take those first few steps, despite the possibility of falling, he would have never learned to walk.  And when he did fall, he stood back up, turned and walked again.  Only, the second time he walked twice as far.

Life presents itself in a similar way.  We all face decisions and situations in our daily lives and there will always be a possibility of failure.  Taking action and stepping forward is never a failure, even if it leads to temporary setbacks.  This is the only way we can grow and advance ourselves.

The only real failure is taking no action at all.  We can all attain success and happiness if we are willing to take chances despite our fears.

Being afraid does not define your character, but what you do in the face of fear does!

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