Do you ever feel controlled by fear? Like you can’t move forward because worry has a stronghold on you? Whether it’s real or imagined, fear can make you feel stuck, and that’s not a spot any of us want to be in. I, most importantly, don’t want you to be there. That’s why in today’s post, I’ll review what causes fear, the types of fear that exist, and provide 3 tips to face your fear.
Where does fear come from?
Before we jump into it and cover the types of fear, let’s first review what fear is.
The definition of fear is the following:
“Fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger. Whether it’s real or imagined.”
Simply put, this means that it is either very real or very much a story that we create.
Knowing the latter, we can rewrite the narrative and have a healthy mindset where fear isn’t controlling our lives.
The Types of Fear
This, we have to review since some fears in life are real and come from external environments or past experiences. I don’t want to discredit them since they happen, and while tips may help, therapy is also a great place to delve into and work through them.
The first type of fear is danger. When we feel threatened or that our lives are in harm’s way, to face fear is much more difficult. In this situation, it’s not in your head and is safety-oriented.
Any trauma from the past can stay with you long after the event has passed, leaving you with intrinsic fears. Whether it be one major event or repeating patterns, it causes fear.
This is the type of fear that is, well, imagined, and the creation of your own self-talk. This fear leaves us wondering about the future and has us speculating about events outside our control. It’s imagined fear that causes us the most problems.
How Fear Works Inside the Body
There are two ways that fear can show up, and identifying them will be the first step to face fear. Fear can result in emotional or physical symptoms. Let’s go through them below.
Fear can show up emotionally. This means that it takes the form of stress, anxiety, or disconnection. You may push people away or keep boundaries from letting people get too close to you. For example, I struggled the most with worrying about what others think or perceive about me. That was dominant in my past, and this fear kept me stuck. It wasn’t until I started to change my perception and thought patterns (which I’ll teach you today) that this fear left.
Fear can result in physical symptoms, too. In this way, you may notice a tightening in your chest or that your face gets red when triggered.
In either scenario, it’s important to note when either of these ways appears since it’s a tell-tale sign that fear drives the behavior.
To Overcome Fear, Identify It
The first place to start with overcoming fear is to identify the emotional and physical fears you have. Here’s what that looks like for different areas they manifest in.
Fear of Future
When you fear the future, you’ll likely experience physical symptoms along with the following emotional ones. Questions that show you triggered it are:
- “What if I do this, and it’s the wrong decision?”
- “What if I do this, and it doesn’t work?”
- “What if I attempt this, and I fail?”
Fear Around Relationships
This is a common fear that manifests in close relationships. Here are some ways it could show up:
- “What if my partner cheats?”
- “What if my partner isn’t attracted to me?”
- “What if I’m not desirable?”
Fear of Sex and Intimacy
These fears are around the way you are romantic with your partner. You will project these fears and anxieties onto your partner, causing problems when it’s really inside of you. Here are some thought signals:
- “What if I’m not good enough physically?”
- “What if I’m not wanted?”
- “What if my partner wants something else?”
Fear Around Parenting
While all parents worry and have fear from time to time about their children, there are ways it can progress to be unhealthy. The result is not being able to connect to your child emotionally. Here are a few ways this fear shows up:
- “What if I can’t protect my child all the time?”
- “What if my child thinks I’m a bad parent?”
- “What if I don’t live long enough to be there for my child?”
What Fear Can Teach Us + 3 Tips To Release Fear
Now that we’ve covered all the ways that fear can hold you prisoner, in your life, let’s go over how fear can be positive with my 3 favorite tips to face then release it. Ready? I bet ya are!
Take the fears. Write them out. Figure out what to do about them.
Tip 1: Get Out of Your Head
- Watch your “What ifs” As seen above, most imagined fear stems from these two words.
- Instead of asking “What if?”, ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen if I ____.”
- With this, you get right to the point and stop the cycle of thinking. In the end, your worst-case scenario won’t be as bad as you make it.
- From here, you can catch all your “What ifs?” and change the cycle.
Tip 2: Remind Yourself of Past Fears
- The next thing to do is identify the last 3 things you were fearful of and the outcome.
- Many may not remember at the moment, but when you do look back, you’ll say, “Hah! Some of these things didn’t happen!”
- Use these as evidence that whatever you’re worried about currently likely won’t play out how you imagine it!
Tip 3: Write a Pro-Con List
- Write out a pro and con list. (Y’all know how much I love these lists because it turns me away from an emotional suffocating place into a logical and rational place to decrease worry.)
- Write out all pros and all cons of the fear.
- Your anxiety and fear want you to think that there’s nothing good about the fear that you’re experiencing so that you can stay in this place. Going through this list will show that there are benefits to our fears, even if it’s just challenging us to think more about the fear vs. taking it as the truth.
Now that you have a few tips for the next time fear shows up, you can work through it and overcome it. I hope you take from today how to identify what you think fear is and what it actually is. This will help you let go of the fear once and for all.
A clinical sexologist and psychotherapist. From sex/intimacy, personal growth, and relationships, I am here to help you every step of the way.