Suppose you are facing an interview board and cannot answer because of fear. How would you feel? You may experience physical trauma, fast heartbeats, sweating, dizziness, etc. This is what fear does to us. This raises another question - How do we conquer fear? One wants to take a big leap, but one can’t approach the ledge. What does one do? Many of us long to overcome fears and limiting beliefs, because we think that these are obstacles in our way. Fear is an omnipresent part of our lives and we all wish it were not so, for a successful life.
The truth is one won’t necessarily “conquer” every fear one has. Fear keeps us in the background. Fear forms a barrier between us and our goal. It convinces us we can never accomplish our dreams, tells us to keep quiet, and separates us from our achievements. Fear freezes us in our tracks and limits what we are willing to try.According to psychology, “Fear is an emotional response induced by a perceived threat, which causes a change in brain and organ function, as well as in behaviour. Fear can lead us to hide, to run away, or to freeze in our shoes. Fear may arise from a confrontation or from avoiding a threat, or it may come in the form of a discovery.” Fear manifests different kinds of phobias too. For example, fear of failure (Atychiphobia), fear of snakes (Ophidiophobia), and fear of suffocation (Claustrophobia), etc.
Fear is not a bad thing. It acts like an early warning signal for our protection. But there is a big difference between the healthy fear that tells us to step away from the edge of a cliff and a constant fear that keeps us from living our life. Some fears are there to protect us. Most humans and animals are innately afraid of snakes as they are dangerous. If one has a fear of snakes, one really does not need to conquer that fear. But one just has to learn to accommodate fear. People who are afraid of flying don’t usually end up becoming pilots. If they do manage to make peace with their fear, they may be able to get on a plane whenever they need to, but it doesn’t mean they feel no anxiety or discomfort. The ability to accommodate is usually good enough. So far, though we may not have control over everything, however it’s about letting go. Where we have the ability to change a situation, we should act.
The source and the cause of fear are not always known to us. Fear is a mere feeling, therefore it depends on us whether we choose to be afraid or not. For example, fear of what other people will think. It is a common fear that everyone has at least once in his or her life. We always have a feeling that if I couldn’t achieve something in my life, I won’t be accepted by others. This fear continuously pushes us to feel insecure in society as it distracts us from what we want to be. Society limits our goals. The collateral damages may hurt our self-esteem and destroy us from within. Those limitations may or may not be present as you go along. You might not be able to pack all of them away in a box. But chances are you can still achieve and become all those things you dream of. Instead of thinking of yourself as deficient, think of all you want to do, achieve, and become.
Fear creates barrier to achieving success but there are no overnight solution. It will take time and patience to get over. That’s totally all right. One shouldn’t push too hard beyond their limits. In order to overcome fear, we have to accept the fact that failure is part of our lives and we all failed at least once in our lives or maybe many times. But this is not a sign of weakness. One has to remember that failure is the pillar of success. The more you’ll try, the stronger you will get. Confidence will bring achievement. As fear produces stagnancy because it causes us to battle against ourselves.
So, the next time you feel limited by fear, insecurity, inhibition, shyness, or any other quality you perceive as negative, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t think there’s something wrong with you or that you need to change. Well, maybe you do need to change—but if so, it’s not necessarily because of those characteristics. Choose your weapon to help you out. Accept and acknowledge and fight however you can. Sometimes there’s more than one way to win, and more than one path that will lead you to your destination. However, if you still feel that you are not capable of conquering your fear, your parents and family are there to guide you.
Anika Ibnath Prema, a student of English Department, IUB