Fear is an issue that often comes up in my Bahá’í-inspired life coaching business. We’re all human and therefore we all have fears. That’s the way God created us, and we know His work is perfect! Some of us fear death, others fear being alone, and others fear social situations. If you can think of it, there’s someone somewhere that’s afraid of it. But fear is a normal part of life!
The lives of the Founders of our Faith clearly show that to be fundamentally assured does not mean that we live without anxieties. (Quickeners of Mankind, p. 117)
Fear is what protects us and keeps us safe. There are times, though, when fear can hinder us and stop us from enjoying life and experiencing new joys.
When your fear starts to limit what you do in life, you need to conquer that fear. Does your fear of flying stop you from traveling to visit family members or prevent you from taking the vacation of your dreams?
What about socializing with coworkers after work? Have you turned down social invitations simply because you were anxious about not knowing anyone in the group? The Writings of the Bahá’í Faith clearly tell us we need to deal with our fears:
…the fears and anxieties that distract their minds…are among the formidable obstacles that stand in the path of every would-be warrior in the service of Bahá’u’lláh, obstacles which he must battle against and surmount in his crusade for the redemption of his own countrymen. (Shoghi Effendi: Citadel of Faith, p. 149)
If your fears are stopping you from taking advantage of the new opportunities in your life, then it’s time to regain control of your life and disallow your fears from paralyzing you. After all, you can’t live in a bubble! It’s time to start living your life instead of watching life passing you by.
To help you gain control of your life, here are a few tips on how to get over your fears:
- First, identify your fears. Get a piece of paper and write down exactly what you’re afraid of. It doesn’t matter how long the list is, whether it has one thing or 15 things on it. And it doesn’t matter if these fears sound irrational. No one needs to see the list other than you. This is about you taking control and getting over your fears.
- Next, figure out why you have the fear. Try to remember a specific incident that might have caused the fear. Maybe your fear of flying intensified because you’ve been on a turbulent flight. Or maybe your fear of dogs stemmed from being bitten as a child.
- If you’ve blocked out these memories because they’re too painful to remember, a professional can help you reach those memories and decipher their meaning. A professional can also advise other forms of treatment, such as hypnosis or the emotional freedom technique (EFT). A life coach can help you set goals to overcome your fears.
- Remember that reliance on God is the strongest and safest weapon which a Bahá’í can carry. Meditate on Bahá’í Writings such as:
Rest assured in the protection of God. He will preserve his own children under all circumstances. Be ye not afraid nor be ye agitated. He holds the scepter of power in His hand, and like unto a hen He gathereth his chickens under His wings . . . Now, friends, this is the time of assurance and faith and not fear and dread. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, Vol. 8, No. 19, p. 241.)
Now the hard part begins: overcoming or conquering these fears. Be patient and be prepared to do some work because, just as the fear took time to manifest, it will take time to conquer.
Take Baby Steps
In the movie “What About Bob?” there was a therapist who had a patient who was afraid of everything. The therapist used the “baby step” approach with this patient, which simply means taking small steps, one at a time, to gain more confidence and eventually overcome the fear.
What would your baby steps be? It depends on your fear.
- If you’re afraid of social situations, slowly start going to different events. Start with small groups, perhaps in very open environments, then transition slowly into larger gatherings. The purpose here is to prove to yourself that there’s nothing for you to fear.
- Socialize with a small group of friends you already know. Polish your social skills among people who already know you. You have less to lose and won’t feel as if you must say the right thing at all times.
- If you’re afraid of dogs, take this same approach by visiting a friend who has a dog. Small dogs are much less intimidating (although they might bark more frequently). If your friends don’t have dogs, ask your local vet’s office or animal shelter if you can visit.
- Fear of flying is much more difficult to conquer because of the expense, but you can look into hypnosis. Also, some airports or flight schools might have classes in airplane simulators that help you feel like you’re in an airplane. That type of plan will take more research but will open the world to you.
And don’t forget that:
The source of courage and power is the promotion of the Word of God, and steadfastness in His Love. (Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 141)
By facing your fears and finding a way to overcome them, you will open up your life to many more opportunities. Take control of your life and take action!
How have you faced your fears? What has been helpful? Post your comment here: