A man making an angry face with his hands.Fear is sneaky. It creeps up on you and finds ways to interfere with your progress. It stops you in your tracks even when you don’t expect it. It justifies and makes excuses, diverting you away from your true path. And the worst thing about it is, you don’t know it’s even happening to you.

Don’t let fear trip you up! If you let it, fear will diminish your hope, your drive to succeed. Read on and find out whether fear is preventing you from living your best life, and some ways you can stop fear in its tracks.

1. Do you allow your decisions to be influenced by how others may react to them?

We, humans, have a natural need to be accepted by others. To that end, we will often go to any lengths to prevent rejection, including not try at all. We allow worries about what others may think to fester within, till that worry takes over and controls how we think, how we behave and what we say. Being constantly on the defensive in this way is not healthy for you or your relationships.

Rather than letting your actions be controlled by your fear of how others may react, it is time to renew your personal convictions and stand up for who you are. It is time to stand up for your own integrity and make your own decisions.

Decide what you really want and why you want it. Set an intention to pursue this with integrity and create realistic goals. When you do this, your goal becomes a real thing to you, something that you know you can work towards.

Courage does not mean absence of fear. Courage means action in the face of fear. It is action that will ultimately defeat your fear of rejection and create the life you want.

2. Do you avoid sharing your opinions with others?

Approval seeking or saying the things you think other people want to hear is fear-based and will trip you up. Fear of criticism is just as damaging as fear of rejection and will hold you back and stunt your progress. It will affect your actions and your decisions if you let it.

Do you often hesitate before you speak, not sure whether you are saying the right thing? Sometimes choosing your words carefully is important, but hesitancy in conversation can give the impression of holding back, or not being completely genuine. Appearing deceptive (whether you are or not and whatever the motive) will negatively impact your relationships.

It is important to remember that everyone deals with fear, but not everyone will let fear control them. You should not either. Instead, renew your courage and speak your truth. Those who speak their truth are not any braver than you. They respect and value their own ideas and opinions enough to allow others to hear them. Your peace of mind will ultimately stem from your willingness to share your truth with others.

3. Will you avoid trying something new or different?

If worrying about whether an idea will work prevents you from even trying, then you are allowing fear of failure to take you over. This might be because you think the thing you want to do is too hard or challenging.

You might not even recognize the problem as fear-based, as it can manifest in different ways, including procrastination or self-sabotage. So, you put it off, get caught up in doing something else before thinking ‘oh well, I’ll start tomorrow’. But tomorrow never comes.

Negative self-talk will trip you up, as you start telling yourself that you aren’t good enough or they are better than you and will do it better without you. Our faith in ourselves, as well as our self-esteem, takes a nosedive, thus further crippling us with fear and preventing us from trying.

Replace negative self-talk with positive. Correct yourself every time you catch yourself in the act. “I Can” “I Will” instead of “I can’t” or “This won’t work.” Leave yourself positive affirmations to find around the house, like on the fridge door. Then every time you see it, repeat the affirmation out loud three times. This works much better than you might think, so give it a try.

Seeing and repeating your positive affirmations every day will begin to have an incredibly positive effect on you. You will begin to believe in yourself more and your self-esteem will soar.

4. Do you allow peer pressure to prevent you from doing the right thing?

We all want to be accepted by those around us, but how much of ourselves do we sacrifice in the process? Not wanting to be viewed as ‘stepping on someone else’s toes’ often means we live by someone else’s standards instead of our own. We are not being true to ourselves or standing in our own integrity.

With so much emphasis on peer pressure, we sell our souls rather than suffer the disapproval of peers. When faced with a choice between right and wrong, our fear of ‘not being accepted’ takes over and we conform rather than risk rejection. Our true principles become an inconvenience to be set aside in favour of conforming and being accepted.

You can fix this today, by setting an intention to stand up for what is right. A good way to do this is, when the need arises, allow yourself to feel and process the fear. Counterintuitively, allowing yourself to feel fear rather than trying to suppress it, will help you to find the courage you need to do what is right, instead of what is easy.

Another good thing to try involves a little ritual. Write down everything that comes to you about your fear. Allow yourself to feel the fear as you write. Decide that you are going to let go of your fear, as you tear up the sheet of paper. Find a safe way to burn the pieces and as you watch the flames engulf your fears, feel them dissipate. Know that you can now move on and are now ready to do the right thing. 

5. Do you find yourself settling for second best in life?

Do you decide against applying for that promotion you want, because “I’ll never get it anyway?” Do you settle when it comes to your relationships or your health? “This is my lot, and it isn’t getting any better.” Once again, fear of rejection is rearing its ugly head and stunting your progress.

Or do you feel the need to be in control of every detail, micromanaging everything? This can be a sign that you are suppressing or avoiding your fears. Thinking that you must micromanage everything is also a great excuse to settle, as you are ‘busy enough already’.

It just isn’t realistic to settle and does no one any good. You miss out on opportunities to improve your life, but also, the added value you could have contributed to your own life and others is lost.

Learning to push gently along the boundaries of your comfort zones, will help you to no longer settle for second best. It is time for you to learn to take sensible, measured risks in life. Begin with small risks and wait till you see just how good it feels when a risk pays off and you reap its rewards. When you’re ready, you can push your boundaries a little further.

It’s time to stop worrying about disappointing others and step into your own power. So, push your boundaries out a little and take a few risks, then begin living a more exciting and rewarding life.

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