5 Ways to Face the Fear Monster

Where do you find the courage to do those things that scare you the most?

I’ve been thinking about that. I talk to women every day who push themselves to face all kinds of difficult situations.

Sometimes those situations are incredibly serious, even life threatening, like getting clean and sober in the midst of an advanced addiction, or getting away from a dangerous spouse or partner.

Sometimes those situations don’t look like such a big deal on the surface – like filling out a job application, getting through a tough class, or telling a friend the truth about a problem in their relationship. But they are every bit as hard for the woman facing them – sometimes maybe harder.

Yet I see women – and girls – facing these things and more head on, every single day. They usually come in telling me what they can’t do – then they go off and do it anyway, whatever their personal ‘it’ is. :)

So how do they do it? How do any of us do it?

The answers are as varied as the women they come from, but here’s a few common things I’ve noticed for starters.

Maybe one of these will help you.

1. Make a Decision.

This, before all else, is the absolute first step. Before you can do much of anything about what frightens you, you must first make the decision to face that fear. Have you ever had a dream where ‘something’s’ chasing you, but you’re afraid to turn around and find out what it is? Fears are like that. They’re often unnamed and invisible, yet we can ‘feel’ them behind us, lurking, ready to pounce at any moment. Making the simple but powerful decision to stop in your tracks, turn around, and look that monster in the face is the first act of courage. What is it? Are you tired of running? Ready to do something about it? That decision is in itself is the first step towards shrinking that monster down to a manageable size.

2. Take the First Step.

Once you’ve reached the point that you absolutely can’t stand it any more, and you’ve made that decision to Do Something – then what? In 12 Step groups they often talk about “what to do when you don’t know what to do”. One of their sayings is to just “Do the Next Right Thing”. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You don’t have to know what in the world you’re doing or where you’re going. Sometimes all you need to do is the Next Right Thing. What tiny, tiny baby step can you take? Think of one – just one really really really small step. Start there.

3. Arm Yourself.

It’s often said that information is power. It’s true. Half the time that unknown monster that’s chasing you is a pack of fears that stem from a simple lack of information. Dealing with illness? Make a detailed list of questions and make your doctor sit still long enough to answer them. Need to get someone out of your house? Do some research and find out what your legal rights are. Ready to have that tough talk with your daughter? Read up on how to talk to teens, or get some advice from a youth minister, coach or counselor first. Do your homework. Learn. You’ll feel better, and there’s power in that.

4. Talk Yourself Through It.

I can’t tell you how many things I’ve gotten through just by talking myself through it. And there are lots of ways to do that.

  • Just say it. (Note: You don’t have to ‘believe’ it.) “I can do this.” “I can handle this.” “I can learn.”
  • Repeat a mantra. “I am competent and capable.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “The universe provides all that I need.”
  • Put it behind you. “This time next week this will be behind me.” “It’ll be okay. We’re gonna make it through this.”
  • State your intention. (and say it like you mean it). “I’m bigger than you, little monster. Stronger than you. And I will win this fight.”

5. Find Strength in Numbers.

Ask a girlfriend to go with you. Join a group. Seek the support of like minded people. Who else is fighting the same battle? There’s a reason why Relay for Life, 12 Step groups, and citizen activists on all kinds of issues band together. We all fight better with a friend at our side. Whatever you’re dealing with, there’s a friend, neighbor, coworker, family member – someone right close by who’s dealing with the same thing. Find her. Help each other.

What have I missed?

What are some other key steps for fighting through fear?


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