Franklin D. Roosevelt, the great American president, once said, “the only thing to fear is fear”. He who was himself so great a conqueror of disability and pain (Roosevelt was disabled by polio) brings us, in these words, face to face with one of the great enemies of human happiness, efficiency and success.
If we want to battle with fear and conquer your fear – then we are indeed well on the way to securing the richest blessings life can offer. And let it be said right away that fear can be fought, and can be conquered by us all.
Our fears vary tremendously from one person to the next. Some are vague and indeterminate. Others are all too painfully clear and real. Some are of an intensely personal nature – fear of some particular individuals or our own domestic life. Some are wider, and may indeed embrace the whole of mankind – fear, for example, of atomic warfare.
Whatever our fears may be, they have much in common, and the method we apply to conquer our fear or the strategies we apply to face them and conquering them is broadly the same.
Here then are five ways to conquer your fear:
Face your fears:
who say glibly “Put your fears behind you” do not understand very much
either about fear, or about human
nature. To try airily to dismiss your fears is not only well – nigh impossible
but often also highly dangerous. The effect of the attempt may be only to drive
the fear more firmly into the subconscious.
Rather, own aim should be to bring
fears out into the open, where they can be examined, and seen for what they
are. This is not to suggest that by facing fears they will automatically
vanish. It is here that we meet the next step in fighting fear.
Assess your fear first before starting to conquer your fear:
When fear is faced frankly and
openly, recognizing the fact that we are afraid and refusing to pretend that we
are not, then we are in a much better position to see exactly what is the
nature and force of our fear.
Some fears will indeed seem to have
been not worth worrying about. I remember waking up in the middle of the night,
when a child, with the dread sense that a bat was flying wildly about the
bedroom. Fortunately, a light switch was close at hand. The bat was in fact
only a moth.
That is typical of many of our fears.
Imagination magnifies our fears until we examine them in the cold. We examine
them in the cold light of reason. This is why worries and anxieties, which seem
so formidable at three o’ clock in the morning fall into a more reasonable perspective when we face
them the following day. This process of assessment of trying to see our fears
for what they really are, may have the effect of dispelling them altogether.
Some of our fears will be real
enough. Our examination of them will only lead us not to dismiss them but to
take appropriate action.
Share your fear to conquer your fear:
Once the reality and nature of
certain fears are recognized there is often a good deal to be said for telling
someone else about them. One level of this process of sharing is that of some
Those who are ministers, doctors,
psychiatrists or social workers know from their own experience how mere
listening can be of tremendous help to those whose minds are haunted by fears.
Many a fear seems to lose its grip because it has been put into words publicly.
This sharing may need to be on a
different level from that of mere friendship. At times expert guidance and
professional help are needed. For example, some people carry about with them a
secret fear that they are suffering from some incurable disease. Sharing is
required here but at the level of expert medical advice. The fear may be
groundless but only a medical expert can say something authoritatively. A fear
shared is a fear halved.
Disable your fear before you an conquer your fears:
Ralph Waldo Emerson truly said: “Do
the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain”. One man tells now for
months after passing his driving test, he never ventured in his car into the
centre of the city where he lived. One day he had two calls to make at opposite
sides of the busiest part of the city. The obvious thing was to go through the
city from one point of the other. Time was short and this was an additional
spur. But over all this was a sudden realization that once he had done it he
had conquered his fear not only for that once but for all time. So it proved.
To do the thing we fear to do, and to
do it now is the surest way of disabling and disarming it.
Replace your fear with confidence and, positive thoughts:
Nature abhors a vacuum. This is true
in the mental realm as, well as in the physical. True, for rest and relaxation
our minds need to be cleared of tense, irritating, disturbing thoughts. But the
process is better thought of as one of replacing rather than of emptying.
Disturbing thoughts are to be driven out by filling the mind with thoughts of peace
This is what is sometimes referred to as “the
expulsive power of a new affection”. The mind can only normally cope with one idea at a time. Thus, if a
thought strong, positive, confident enough can be put into the mind, it will
drive out weaker, disturbing thoughts and take possession of the mind.