Face your Fears, Boo

Ah, Halloween. The swan song of Spooky Season.

Today I am writing about something very on-theme: fear. We’ve all felt afraid. None of us probably liked it that much when it was authentic fear… even though there’s lines around the corner for rollercoasters and scary movies, because sometimes there just isn’t enough fear in our lives.

But that unlooked-for fear, the fear that is a real reaction to a life event..? That seems more intrusive and difficult to deal with. Still, there are ways to overcome fear.

Here’s what I find to work best for me right now:

Know Exactly What it is You’re Afraid Of

What is it that’s spooking you? This question may seem goofy, but sometimes I find myself addressing something that isn’t the real root of my fear, then having to start all over again. Sit with yourself for a moment to make sure you actually do have the root cause, THEN you can go about addressing it better.

Accept the Feeling of Fear

This is the hardest step for me. I don’t particularly enjoy feeling afraid–shocker!–so I don’t like accepting it into existence. I feel like I would rather push it out of my head, maybe deal with it later. The thing is, any time I don’t deal with the fear well at the time, it always compounds.

An extreme example I have is about 8 years ago I had a very bad plane ride. On the plane ride, I was the chaperone to a bunch of other girls (all close to my age, actually, so I felt I had to try to look very brave for them.) I didn’t deal with my feelings of being afraid of our near-crash. Instead, I pretended I was the “this is fine” meme, and in doing so, forced myself to still be dealing with that experience 8 years later. Like I said. A dramatic example, but illustrative, I hope.

Sit With Your Fear

Let yourself feel how your body is reacting to being afraid. If you can, be curious about it. “Oh, hmm, my heart is going faster.” “Ah, my hands are sweaty.” Whatever it is. Your fear just wants to be acknowledged. Let yourself feel the physical sensations without trying to control them much. There will be time for acting, soon. >:)

Enlist Support

Reach out to people. Everyone has felt afraid. Hopefully, your people will be ready and willing to share in your experience. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, try therapy. There’s never been a better time! Telehealth is so easy! Appointments on zoom!? Omg, I’m so there. (Even if meeting a therapist on zoom doesn’t sound EXTRA appealing–it was a selling point for me–it is still a worth-while thing to do if you need some extra support.)

Once you’ve done all of these things, then you are ready to act. You will feel better able to face your fear, whatever it is, armed with personal insight and friends at your shoulder.

Sounds unstoppable to me.

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