Fear – definition – a distressing emotion – whether the threat is real or imagined, the feeling or condition of being afraid.
Fear occurs within all of us. It is a state of mind that can cause us to use our imagination to create a worst case scenario that debilitates our actions.
I have found in my own experience with FEAR, there are variations. We have created phobias, and that list is to long to event try to list them here.
Over the years on the journey of healing myself, I have had to research what fear is, and why it caused the issues it did. I also learned that I could overcome any of the fears that I had. And there were lots of them!
When I was young I discovered a lot of the fears that I had were passed on to me. Either my parents, other family members, friends, teachers, coaches, they all had a perception of certain things that caused fear for them. They then passed this on to me. As a young person with little experience I was influenced by others opinions and that fear was now mine.
Fear of letting others down was a major fear of mine. I had the experience many times and the results of someone saying “You have really let me down”, was crippling for me. I was so focused on trying to make everyone happy or at least proud of me, that most of what I did was for others.
I have learned that I cannot control how others feel about my performance, my efforts or execution of a task. They will react how they will react. That does not mean that I do not try to the best of my ability. It simply means I do it for my satisfaction, to my values and standards that I have learned to hold high.
I now know that how I feel about what I have done or not done is more important for me. If I know that I did my best is all that I can control.
There will be times that others create fear for you. As a parent there are lots of fears of how my children will succeed or fail. As a husband, I do what I can to be a good teammate in creating a stable and safe place for our family. I do not control all aspects of what happens in life. I know that I will do my best and face any difficult situation that arises. As the famous bumper sticker says “Shit Happens.”
When we are striving for success there is often some form of fear that occupies our minds. We know as athletes that we can fail. Young athletes struggle with this the most. It is a difference maker. I see it as a major factor to achieving their dreams. If an athlete can consistently overcome the fear of failure and disappointment, they create a resiliency that will propel them forward. If they do not, it can lead to the death of their dream.
Fear of being hurt, fear of letting others down, fear of failure are all major factors. Are they real? Or man made? I mean all of these will occur, it is sport after all. It is being realistic and knowing that as an athlete, these are the areas I need to be prepared for, and that is the greatest opportunity to become self confident and mentally stronger. If I want to succeed then I must be able to overcome all of the fears that I have.
I was battling anxiety, stress and depression. I did not know I was, however, I did know that something was wrong. I hide it all. Or at least I thought I did. I fooled myself into thinking that I could put on a face and keep these afflictions hidden.
It was this fear that caused years of pain. I sabotaged, I ran, I lied, whatever I had to do to trick myself into thinking that I was fooling everyone around me. BIG MISTAKE!
When we are struggling with our health, mental or physical, it is always best to face that fear. To talk about it. To let those around me know. I have learned that if I can do that, I can get the support, or maybe a perspective that can help me understand that I can overcome the fear that is stopping me.
My father was diabetic. He avoided going to the doctor for years. It became worse and he lost his leg. Then he had to start dialysis. For over 12 years he and my mother went on this journey. A roller coaster of doing well, not doing well. He will live and can get a transplant, to he may not make it another 6 months. My dad had to face so many fears. The last years of his life were some of the happiest I had ever seen him. It was only because he faced his fears and started to live the way he wanted to. He knew how his story would end, he accepted that and reduced the fear so that he could live his life, regardless of the immanent ending. His courage inspired me to take a good look at my fears and overcome them. I mean if he could, why couldn’t I?
Fear is a man made emotion, it is use of a mindset that is not healthy in most situations. You can overcome any fear that may be holding you back. To live your life as you want to.
The beginning of overcoming the fear is to share with someone that you are experiencing fear. Start to develop some strategies of how you will face it. Use the courage, develop resiliency, and most important, grow the self confidence so that you can do, be, and have all the things that you want our of this life!