“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” ~Nelson Mandela
The world can be a scary place.
As we go through our daily lives, we face many challenges, and often these challenges can bring about fear. We may fear the loss of something, or perhaps the lack of fulfillment. We may experience fear when going on a job interview or a first date.
The greatest challenge with fear is that it can hold us back from achieving our goals, but it doesn’t have to.
Over the past six months I have let one fear hold me back from achieving the one thing I feel I wholly deserve. I’ve had a fear of not meeting my soul mate.
After being single for nearly six years, I felt a sense of loneliness and a desire to build a relationship with someone.
I turned to online dating last fall, a method I tried for over eight months. I was able to meet many people and enjoyed dinners and walks with potential mates, but nothing ever developed past two dates with the same individual.
After many dates that didn’t lead to anything long term, I felt deeper fear, sadness, and a loss of hope.
I came to realize that my desire to meet the person I would potentially spend my life with had manifested into a fear that drove away any hope of building something real and lasting.
Dating began to feel like a chore, and it became unenjoyable. For love to happen, I had to overcome my fear and enjoy the time I spent meeting new people.
I believe in the power of intention. But in setting forth an agenda, we must learn to let go and have faith. Things may not happen when we want them to, but often a delay is the result of greater things at work.
Wayne W. Dyer wrote in The Power of Intention, “if we focus on what’s ugly, we attract more ugliness into our thoughts, and then into our emotions, and ultimately into our lives.”
Intention is related to fear because if we can trust our own intentions and allow our minds to focus on the potential positive outcomes, we will face less fear in most situations.
It’s easy to let fear play a part in our daily lives. I’ve had many opportunities to face my fears lately, but I knew little about overcoming them. Alas, I learned several key facts that have broken down my fears and allowed me to focus on achieving my goals.
These five techniques will help you overcome fear in your daily life:
1. Start small.
Fear comes in many shapes and sizes. Facing it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.
My fear of living life alone created immense challenges. “I’m going to grow old alone,” I once said. Deep down, I knew this wasn’t true, but my mind had saturated into a restricting fear around the worst-case scenario.
I broke down my anxiety into smaller, more manageable pieces. Instead of wondering how I could meet my soul mate, I thought about how I could make new friends instead. By focusing on meeting new people, I have increased my odds of reaching my goal without the anxiety and pressure of finding “the one.”
Instead of focusing on the end result, I can now focus on more manageable goals.
No matter how large or small your fears may seem, scaling down to a more manageable size will be beneficial. Slowly step out of your comfort zone and begin moving towards your goal.
2. Have faith.
While achieving your goal may not happen on your preferred timetable, it is important to have faith that time will bring success. Trusting that achievement is not only possible, but probable will help soften your fears.
Think back to an event in your life that may have seemed bad at the time but allowed for certain circumstances to occur that brought about a greater and more wonderful event. That’s proof that the world is not against us but is indeed working with us.
3. Write it down.
Making a list of your fears is a great way to work through them.
Writing in a journal has been very helpful for me to overcome my fear of not meeting my soul mate. I have written about particular dates I went on and how the meetings made me feel.
I’ve found it useful to write down a fear and then describe on paper why I feel I have it. This task has been essential in helping me chart my progress and list what I have learned in the past.
Writing has allowed me to accept that things are evolving, even if they don’t seem that way—which brings me to the next important technique for overcoming fear: acceptance.
4. Accept what develops (or doesn’t).
When I was using an online dating service, every first date felt like a blind date. Profiles only went so far in explaining other individuals’ personalities. I had to accept the fact that the first date might not lead to a second and that he might not be “the one.”
I had to accept that I couldn’t force a relationship, nor could I force the timing of true love.
The Dalai Lama said, “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”
5. Let go.
Letting go can be one of the greatest challenges to overcoming fear. At times, we hold on to something because we feel it empowers us; however, holding on only weakens us.
Once we have accepted what may or may not develop, we need to detach ourselves from the outcome. Letting go of our fears allows us to focus more on the present moment and less on the fear itself.
After following these techniques, I no longer have a fear of spending my life alone, because I know and trust that there are great things ahead. Now I can enjoy meeting new people and going on dates without fear.
Photo by Geraint Rowland