“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Fear is an unpleasant but necessary emotion. It alerts us to the presence of danger. The definition of fear originates from the Latin “metus” and means restlessness and fear, which are biochemical or emotional responses to something.
Our body’s biochemical response to danger involves sweating, increased heart rate and high levels of adrenaline. It is a signal that the organism gives us to escape or fight against this danger. The emotional response to fear depends on the individual. Some feel good about the adrenaline produced when faced with dangerous situations. Others, however, avoid these episodes at all costs. Therefore, fear of the unknown is perfectly normal; it is not normal to develop a fear so intense that it paralyses you.
One of the reasons for being resistant to change is the fear of failure. Changes are frightening because, within the comfort zone, we know what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, the fear of things not going as planned remains the second biggest villain when changing your life. When we think about “making mistakes” or “failing”, we consider only the final consequence, but we never think about learning from these experiences. After all, all knowledge is valid and essential in building our values and personality.
Fear of change is nurtured from our intrusive thoughts – that cause anxiety, destroy self-confidence and make the individual think about bad things and facts. From our thoughts, a series of stimuli are triggered to feel fear or not in a situation. We must be aware of our thoughts and how we verbalise what we want.
Is staying aware of our thoughts easy?
Honestly no! It is a daily exercise in awareness, self-knowledge and, above all, an urge to produce a different and better reality every day.
From the moment we allow fear, negative feelings and thoughts to control our lives, we also enable pessimism to manage our actions. Negative thinking will be the fuel to attract changes in your life, resulting in a complex and painful Curve of Change. The pessimistic frame of mind must be vehemently broken out of your reality to overcome the fear of change by repudiating this state of mind and going through introspection.
How to react and fight fear in the face of changes?
1 – Changes are necessary: The world evolves, and you need to understand that changes are part of it, that they are required and that they can also mean growth.
2 – See the evolutionary side: Change can mean professional and personal evolution, as it brings with it the need to adapt and absorb new knowledge. This will help you deal with challenges that arise daily and will give you preparation and more serenity.
3 – Think of getting it right, not failing: Failures are part of the natural course of life. However, some people only cling to them and forget to see and appreciate the successes they made. Don’t think you will fail, but believe you will get it right. Trust your potential, and if you have negative thoughts, ask yourself if they are grounded.
4 – Talk to other people about the changes: Dialogue and exposing the anguish to others is vital to understand the changes and deal with them. Talk to people who have been through similar situations and listen to their experiences. This will help you clarify your ideas and outline action plans.
In some cases, seeking help from a psychologist can be an essential step, as the professional will help you gain a complete perspective on the entire situation. In this way, you can work on goals to overcome the fear and ensure that this feeling doesn’t stop you from moving forward.
“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom—how great is that?” — Soledad O’Brien