Small Steps to Help You Act in Spite of Your Fear

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Small Steps to Help You Act in Spite of Your Fear

Post by diamonds on Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:02 am

Small Steps to Help You Act in Spite of Your Fear

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” ~Nelson Mandela

My dog, Elvis, is a sweetheart and a scaredy cat. When our vet found
him, he was roaming free with a wire collar embedded in his neck and a
raging case of mange. It took her thirty minutes to chase him down and
three months to nurse him back to health.

When we first adopted him, he was afraid of everything: bikes,
strollers, loud noises, sprinklers, and people. The only things he was
never wary of were other dogs. Through a lot of patience and love, Elvis
has come a long way. He is no longer afraid of people or bikes, but he
still hates sprinklers and he’s always on guard.

This past spring I took Elvis on a walk at a local state park. It was
a beautiful day, sunny, high 70’s with a light breeze. We had a great
time traipsing through the woods. When we came around the corner at the
bottom of a hill, the river sat gleaming in the sun before us. Elvis
stopped, sat, and refused to get any closer.

I knew he needed to get his bearings, so I paused and let him absorb
what lay before him. I spoke gently to him and tried to persuade him to
keep going.

He dug his paws in and started to maneuver his shoulders into this
Houdini twist that allows him to slip out of his harness. I stopped and
we turned around. Because of his fear, Elvis never got to see or smell
all the wonderful sights and aromas awaiting him at the river’s edge.

People are like that too. We traipse happily along in our routines, always doing and experiencing the familiar.

As soon as we have an opportunity to expand our horizons, to see a new place, meet a new person, or accept a new job, our fear kicks in and we stop. We hold back; it’s too scary.

We don’t know what lies before us. All we know is it looks big and scary, and we fear all the unknowns.
If we could just take that leap, act on faith, and move forward despite
our fear we would learn (just as Elvis would have) that while it is new
terrain, it is still dirt and grass.

It is still trees and sunshine and a beautiful breeze, only this breeze carries the scent of water.

It’s new and it’s different, but the only thing that makes it scary rather than a grand adventure is our fear.

Unfortunately, one of the only ways to overcome fear
is to act in spite of your fear. Just as you can only learn if you can
trust someone by trusting them, you will only learn to be brave by being
brave. Here are some things you can do to alleviate your discomfort
with fear:

Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to sit in the moment
and adjust to your new experience. Just as I tried to comfort Elvis by
letting him absorb what lay before him, let yourself pause. Make
yourself pause. Take things at a relaxed pace.

Breathe deeply. Take long inhalations. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on your breath
and be in the moment. When you are focused on your breath, the
sensation in your chest and belly, you don’t have the attention to give
to the fear.

Speak encouragingly to yourself. Remind yourself of other times you were afraid and it all worked out. Remember all your successes. Have confidence in your ability
to handle whatever happens. Believe that there are no mistakes, only
lessons. Whatever the outcome of your action, you will have certainly
learned something.

Plan to take action, and then do it. Think about
what steps you are going to take. Write out your task list. Think about
where you want to be ultimately and what small steps you need to take to
get there.

Write them down in order. You wouldn’t expect to be able to fly an
airplane without learning how. When they say, “take the leap,” they
don’t mean just fling yourself into something without any forethought or
preparation. You need to be educated about your new endeavor so that
you can be the best you can.

Spend some time in reflection. What have you learned so far? What was new to you a few days ago but now seems familiar or at least not as difficult? What small steps
have you already accomplished? When you break a large goal down into
smaller steps, you learn as you go, and you realize that maybe this
whole thing is not as scary as you thought.

Fear is not always a bad thing. Fear saves us from dangerous
situations. If we had a scary experience in the past, we learn to
associate that setting with danger and feel fear when it is replicated
in anyway. Our fear ensures our survival.

Elvis survived a horrible puppyhood. Naturally he was afraid. He had
survived by avoiding people and situations that could potentially hurt
him again.

The only way he learned to overcome his fear was by taking
action-going on the walks, passing by the biker, sniffing the stroller
when it was parked somewhere, and being treated with loving, gentle

When you take small steps, allow yourself to pause, speak kindly to
yourself, and take educated action, you can learn to act in spite of
your fear.


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تاريخ التسجيل : 2011-03-05

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