Fear, Unchecked

silver laptop on brown wooden table

Thirty-plus years ago, in his 1989 publication, “Getting Unstuck,” Dr. Sidney Simon discussed ten ways fear blocks change, and today that information bears repeating. You see, nothing blocks change quite the way fear does, and when its power is greater than your power to push through it, fear is devastating. We can see evidence of this every day in the news. The power of fear, unchecked, hasn’t changed.

Fear persuades you to do less than you are capable of doing. It triggers internal defense systems and fools you into thinking that you have perfectly good reasons not to change. Fear, particularly fear of making mistakes, causes indecisiveness and stops you from knowing what you really want. It warps your perception of your life and what you can do to make it better. Fear masks reality.

Fear keeps you from asking for help when you need it or benefiting from the emotional support offered to you. To calm your fears, you develop unhealthy habits and behavior patterns. Fear makes you give up one step short of your goal. And finally, fear keeps you from taking the risks necessary for growth.

Fear can control your life if you let it. But you can push through it if you can relax physically and mentally, and develop the habit of taking well-chosen risks – small ones at first, then bigger ones. Affirmations and visualizations are a significant help, as well. If you get into the habit of vividly seeing yourself achieve success in areas of your life that are important to you, you can overcome the paralyzing effects of fear and move confidently into the well-lived life you deserve.

What fears do you have that are preventing you from positive change? Actually writing out your fears makes them somewhat smaller and easier to look at and deal with. It gets them out of the realm of your head, and onto the finite space of a piece of paper. Once they are down on paper, what steps, even if they are small ones at first, can you take today, or this week?