Overcoming Your Fears

Written by J. W. Van Dyken

over-fearFear. It cuts you like a knife; it immobilizes you like a straitjacket. On a daily basis, fear is a reminder that the world is not a completely safe place, and that it is not entirely as you wish it would be. Does reading about fear and its effects make you feel fearful? If so, you’re not alone. Following the three steps in the following acronym FUR, here’s how you can gain the upper hand on your uncertainties.

Facing your Fears

Confronting our fears is the primary resource that we have to limit their control. Though facing our fears is almost always the last thing that we want to do, this is often what we most need to do. Think back to the first speech that you ever made. Did you find it to be extremely stressful? Of course! This is nothing to feel guilty about, however, as the level of stress you experienced is only an indicator that you were growing personally.

In fact, the kind of stress that you experienced while facing your fears is an entirely necessary phenomenon. You cannot become stronger without directly confronting that which weakens you. As you continue to face the source of your fears, the stress associated with facing them begins to weaken, and you in turn become stronger.

Understanding and Unraveling

This step of dealing with fear involves confronting fears inwardly as opposed to outwardly. Many of our fears are complex and hidden, not immediately known to us or to others. We have learned how to hide them as a way to protect ourselves. Understanding and unraveling our fears involves taking the time to honestly assess our thoughts and behaviors in order to understand how they might subtly be driven by fear.

As with facing our fears externally, the anxiety involved with confronting fears internally can be intense initially, but over time will decrease in strength. As we confront and resolve our internal fears, we will in turn begin to feel more comfortable with ourselves.


Reassurance is another resource we can use to address our fears. It will be especially beneficial to those who come from emotionally deprived backgrounds. If you did not experience appropriate calming and reassurance from parents and care-givers throughout your earlier life, it is possible that you may experience a higher level of stress and fear in your adult life than would another person.

The undue stress that you experience can have an especially inhibiting influence on your life, leaving you feeling quite powerless. Thankfully, however, there is something that you can do. What is it? In a nutshell, it is to learn how to compensate for your parents’ failures.

How is this done? You will need to find a way to provide this missing comfort. Therapists will often encourage people who have experienced past abuse or neglect to devote a fifteen minute time period each day to reassuring and calming themselves. In this time period, they will encourage them to say the type of things to themselves that they wish their parents and or caregivers had said to them. As the person spends time each day calming themselves, the force of their fear will begin to lose its power.

While self-calming is a resource that will be especially helpful if you come from a deprived background, its usefulness will not be lost on you if you come from an idyllic childhood. We often unconsciously practice this technique with each other, making statements such as “Relax. Everything is all right. Really, there’s no need to worry about it,” when we see someone else feeling uncertain. If these types of comments are helpful on their own, how much more helpful could they be if you said them to yourself repeatedly, on a daily basis?

In adulthood, you continue to experience fears that are similar to those that were experienced in childhood and adolescence. You also continue to experience the challenges that you did not fully resolve in adolescence. In light of this, we can all stand to benefit from a little self-calming, realizing that each of us might not be as far removed from the challenges of adolescence and childhood as we might think.

While practicing the three principles of facing, understanding and unraveling and reassurance, be careful not to place a considerable amount of pressure on yourself to become free from fear. Instead, remember that everyone will experience fear throughout their lives. In light of this, we should also consider dealing with fear through humor and acceptance, realizing that our desires for peace of mind and confidence will always be greater than our abilities to attain them. Relax. Don’t fear the fact that there is only so much you can do!

Find peace today:

Afraid of death? You don’t have to be
Dealing with stress? Come talk to a mentor

One Response to “Overcoming Your Fears”

  • Antonieta says:

    This article totally resonates with my reality as I cope with fear and anxiety. Thank you for the helpful advise.

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