It is important to learn how to deal with fear because fear runs the world we live. I wish it was otherwise, but it’s not. What would be otherwise- love running the world we live. Unfortunately, it is not the case. We need to learn what fear is and how to deal with it, to be able to lead a positive, healthy and happy life.
My objective on this happiness blog is to try and answer every question that pertains to human happiness to the best of my ability and with as much research as I can. Every time I take up, I read a fair bit about it, and then put down the answer in my own words.
So, why is it important to understand how to deal with dear? Before answering this question, it is important to understand the meaning of fear.
What is fear?
As per the dictionary, fear is “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
Fear is an emotion we feel when something distressing is either happening or we imagine that it would happen. In most cases, fear is imagined and that causes us to feel out of control, nervous, and afraid, which are all consequences of fear.
There are several kinds of fear, for example, fears of ghosts, fears of dying in the sea, fear of failure, fear of being alone etc. Some of these are irrational phobias which may need medical attention. However, there are certain fears which affect the majority of human population, and in this piece, we would deal with those specific fears.
Before we try to understand how to deal with our fears, we should also gain an understanding of what happens when are crippled by fear.
What happens when we are afraid?
When we are afraid, we can’t function because the fear cripples us physically and mentally, taking away our ability to function. Some of the few things may happen:
- Mental and emotional paralysis
- Inability to work or operate
Some or all of these things are possible as an outcome of fear. Therefore, it is important that we learn how to overcome fear and anxiety. If we want to be happy, then fear and anxiety should have no place in our lives.
Having said that, life is tough, and all of us have our tough times. During those times, it is normal to feel afraid or anxious. Fear and anxiety are interconnected. It is normal to feel anxious when you are afraid of what might happen, and you are imagining the worst outcomes.
Now, we would look at different kinds of fears and how we can deal with them.
How to overcome the fear of failure?
Fear of failure is one of the most common forms of fears and almost everyone who has lived life a bunch of years has faced it. How do you deal with the fear of failure?
1. Redefine what failure means to deal with fear
Redefine what failure means. If you look at failure as failing once or a few times during your journey, you would find yourself struggling every time. However, if you redefine failure is giving up, and expect stepping stones on the way, you would find it way easier to deal with the fear of failure.
Failure is giving up.
2. Expect to fail on the way to overcome the fear of failure
Let’s say that you want to become a writer or a comedian or an entrepreneur. You could have the fear of failing as an employee in your organization. The fear of failure shows itself in every part of our lives. You could be scared to fail in your personal relationships.
The truth is that you would end up failing a lot on the way. Every failure is a stepping stone, and you are meant to learn something from it and grow. That is the process. Therefore, do not be afraid of the process.
3. Work so hard that you have no time for fear
Hard work leaves no time for fear. Work really hard. One of the reasons fears make place is because we leave space in our minds. Instead, be busy working on your goals and you would feel better. Hard work brings improvement and confidence, which helps in alleviating fear.
The fear of failure is ingrained in all of us. Some of us deal with the fear well, and some of us deal with it poorly but all of us have to learn to overcome this fear. If you want to achieve anything significant in life, you would have to learn to deal with the fear of failure and the steps above are a good starting point.
How to overcome fear of failure as a student?
I remember I failed in mathematics for the first time in standard 9th in my school. We had 3 terms and I had failed in both the first and second term. If I failed in the 3rd term too, I would have to repeat the year. Thankfully, I didn’t, and I didn’t have to waste one year.
Now, how can you overcome fear of failure as a student?
4. Confide in your teachers and parents about your fears
One of the things I did not do as a student is share my problems. I was extremely shy as a student, and didn’t speak anything for most of my student life. So, I didn’t share my problems. Unlike me, I would highly advise you to share with your teachers and parents about your fear of failing in the exams.
They may be able to help you with extra tuitions or help that’s needed to help you clear the exam you are afraid of.
5. Work hard on subjects you are afraid of
You don’t have to excel in all the subjects as a student. Make the best effort you can in to excel in subject you like, and pass the subjects you dislike, because that’s how the school system works. You need to pass all the exams, so you have a basic understanding of every subject. Work hard, and you would grow a bit. When you do that, the fear will dissipate or go away.
How to deal with fear of rejection?
Just like the fear of failure, the fear is rejection is a common fear, and a lot of people do not try to achieve their goals because they fear rejection. How can we overcome the fear of rejection?
6. Do not fear rejection because it is a given
Asking for what you want is a numbers game. Let’s say you want a date for Saturday night and you decide to ask girls out for a date, hoping to get a yes. 90 say no, and 91st could say yes, but you give up and not ask the 91st. So, you give up because of your fear of failure because of your past experience, and let go of the opportunity of having a date with the 91st girl who would have said yes.
Similarly, when you are looking for a job and you give up because of a few rejections, you won’t get a job. Or trying to find new customers for your product.
Stop being afraid of rejection.
7. When they say no, the reason is theirs, not yours
People say no, because they have their reasons. The negative answer doesn’t apply to you. Somebody asked me to attend an event the other day and I said no. He asked me if I thought that the event was a bad idea. I said no, it’s a good idea, but I am not available at the point.
People say no for their reason. It doesn’t reflect on you. By all means, ask for what you want.
How to overcome fear of the future?
Many of us fear the future. The reasons could be anything- an adverse situation, anxiety about what might happen, the past etc. It is a fear that drives people into future anxiety and could be debilitating.
Here are some suggestions to deal with the fear of the future:
8. Future comes one day a time
The good news about future is that it comes one day a time. It won’t be thrust upon you years in advance. So, do not allow yourself to feel crippled because of your fear about future. It could lead to unwarranted anxiety, which would take away your ability to work towards a better future.
9. Imagine and prepare mentally for the worst to overcome your fear of the future
It is highly likely that the worst would not come to pass. However, just to deal with your fear of the unknown future, imagine what the worst that could happen is. Let’s say that you are afraid of your future professionally. Imagine that you lose your job or your business shuts down. You would take a professional hit, but you would be able to restart and rebuild life.
Or worst, in any case, imagine that you would die. So what, is it a big deal? All of us would die one day, and it that be so, that would be so. Accept whatever the worst possible thing you can imagine and try to reconcile it in your mind.
10. Prepare for the future as much as you can
It is important from a future perspective to take care of certain uncertainties in case the worst comes to pass. Buy a life insurance policy so that your dependents do not have to suffer financially suddenly if something were to happen. Keeps some savings so you can use it, even you lose your job or your business. That would also help you in alleviating your fear of the future.
11. Live in the present to overcome your fear of the future
The most important thing to understand about the future is that you don’t live in it. Even if you want, you can’t live in your future. Live in the present. Embrace mindfulness so that you are completely present in the present moment, whatever you are doing. If you are planning for your future, be present in that moment. If you are eating, eating mindfully. Work hard on your present and the future should take care of itself.
How to overcome the fear of uncertainty?
The fear of uncertainty is akin to the fear of future because the future is uncertain. We don’t know what may come up, and hence we feel scared of uncertainty. Here are a few ways to deal with the fear of uncertainty in life:
12. Accept that there is uncertainty
Accept that uncertainty is one of the truths of life. Life is uncertain. We may make plans about the future and work toward them with a reasonable set of assumptions. However at the same time, we must realize that future is not in our control. They say life happens when we are busy making other plans.
So, the acceptance of the uncertainty would help in overcoming of its fear.
13. Focus on the process to overcome the fear of uncertainty
Of course, you have plans and you are working towards a set of outcomes to bring in some certainty in your life. However, no matter how much we try, and work hard, the results and the outcomes are not in our control.
So, in order to deal with uncertainty, and the fear of uncertainty, work like hell! When you work, you may not have the time to feel the fear.
How to overcome fear of death?
Another common fear that we have as human being is the fear of death. We are scared of our death and the death of our loved ones. How can we deal with the fear of death?
14. Talk about death with your loved ones to overcome the fear of it
Steve Jobs said in his remarkable speech that death is the single best invention of life. He passed away only at 56 years of age. As I write this, millions of people around the world have lost their lives because of the coronavirus pandemic in the last two years and the virus isn’t over. I had the virus in April 2021, but I survived. I could have died too.
In order to overcome the fear of death, realize that death is a real possibility and it could happen to anyone anytime. We don’t know how much time we have been given, and that is why it is important to live lives happily, for as long as we have been given. In order to overcome the fear of death, the best strategy is to live a life that recognizes that we could die anytime. Talk about death. Do not make it a taboo subject.
15. Face the fear of death
Just like for all other fears, you must face the fear, recognise it and accept it. Happiness and pain is not equally distributed, and anything is a possibility. So, recognize that we could die anytime and face that fear, and live your life accordingly.
16. Attack all your fears
It is simple as this. Either your fears will win over you or you would win over them. Fear is your enemy. Attack it. Go on the offensive. Stop playing on the defensive.
In Conclusion- how to overcome your fears
Do you realize that the world about us in run by fear? People are scared of losing jobs. They are scared of losing their loved ones. People are scared of losing their own lives. There is fear all around us and it is stopping us to live a life based on love. These are the two primary motivations in life- love and fear. Unless you learn to overcome fear, it will rule your life. Hope these strategies to deal with and overcome fear would help you live a more courageous life.
Thank you for reading.
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2 thoughts on “How to deal with fear- 16 ways to understand and overcome fear”
An amazing post with great tips as always. Anyone will find your post useful. Keep up the good work.
Thanks a lot, Joyce!