We are humans, and we live with fear. We fear the unknown because it’s unfamiliar. We have bright hopes for the future, but we tend to let our fears lead us down the wrong path. Fear may be the most difficult universal concept to grasp. We confuse false fears and real fears. False fears are the ones we create in our head. Real fears are legitimate fears. I think it’s normal for people to have both types of fears, but I think we need to start acknowledging how our false fears can dictate, and eventually destroy, our lives.
Quite honestly, I am still trying to conquer my false fears, but maybe my progress thus far can partially clarify how to handle false fears.
What constitutes as a Real Fear?
Tornadoes, heights, spiders. Tornadoes should be feared. A tornado is a giant spinning vortex of terror. Tornadoes are a real fear because no one has control over tornadoes. They can destroy your house within eight seconds, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. The same goes for heights. The fear of heights mostly stems from falling from that height. That is terrifying. I wouldn’t want to fall off the Sears Tower either.
If you have a fear of heights, hurricanes, tornadoes, whatever, those aren’t the kind of fears that you can conquer by experiencing it. Experiencing our fears is most useful for odd fears that come from some traumatizing event. For instance, if you are afraid of olives because they remind you of dead people, you should probably hold a jar of olives and realize that those aren’t dead people in the jar.
But you wouldn’t want to jump off the Sears Tower or experience a tornado to conquer those fears. I guess you could go skydiving. That may fix your fear of heights.
What constitutes as a False Fear?
False fears are the fears we create in our head. The fear of never finding love, the fear of not getting hired in your field, the fear of living an unfulfilling life. These are the false fears that can not only consume our mind but ultimately destroy our life. Often, we are so afraid that we never leave our doorsteps. We are afraid of starting a life of our own, so we stick to a routine for fifteen years.
Let’s look at moving to a new city. Some people handle it well where they have no desire to move back home. Others move back home after a year or two because they weren’t comfortable. But you will learn most about yourself when you are uncomfortable. When you move to a new city, you test your people skills. You can learn how to be independent. Moving to a new city, or even going away to college, drastically pushes you out of your comfort zone. But leaving our comfort zone is how we learn how to handle difficulties. But it’s easier to be comfortable than it is to face difficulties.
Sometimes our false fears come from what we think is possible. We like to believe that we can start our dream career, but the fear of not achieving that goal stops us from even trying. We can become so consumed with our false fears that when we take a step forward, we put our entire lives on hold until we get some validation. These are the types of fears we must conquer.
I have a stupid fear that my perfect man won’t ever find me. I spent days just waiting for him to appear, and I stopped living my life. I didn’t even listen to my advice. I found myself consumed with doubt and fear that I was just waiting and waiting and waiting for some validation that has yet to come. Letting false fears dominate our minds makes for a depressing life.
Dealing with False Fears
Conquering false fears is one of the most difficult tasks. Our dreams stem from hope, and our fears arise from the thought of not achieving that dream. We don’t want to get too excited because the let down will be that much worse.
That is why we need to have faith. We need to strive to achieve our hopes and dreams. We need to try converting fears into hope. We need to learn how to balance our fears and our dreams. We’re so afraid that we won’t accomplish our dreams that we take steps to avoid that failure.
Every day I have to remind myself that my fears are false fears. They won’t go away by me waiting for validation. The fears only get worse when I try to dismiss them. Sometimes I am so afraid of my dream not happening that I completely disconnect from it to prevent the pain of failure. That doesn’t work either. So now I am back to listening to my advice. I will live my life and do what I want to do. I will listen to my intuition because she is wonderful at leading me down the right path. I will have faith that it will turn out the way it’s meant to without my constant intervention.
And whenever that false fear creeps in, I use the Liane Cartman tsst technique. It seems to be working so far.