What actually is fear?
Here are two spot-on definitions.
The Five Ways to Overcome Fear
Download the easy to print checklist here.
Fear is Merely an Emotion
Both definitions say that fear is an emotion, just like all of our emotions, whether we are happy, sad, afraid, or frustrated. These are all emotions and as adults, we know not to always act on these emotions. Think about a baby. When a baby is tired or hungry, what do they immediately do? They cry, they throw hissy fits and tantrums. They act out on their emotions in order to get results. As adults, we know it’s unacceptable to throw tantrums and cry when we are tired. So, why when it comes to fear, which is also an emotion- we tend to act on it? We tend to let it take over. Why do we let it paralyze us and keep us from achieving the results that we really want?
Fear is All in Your Mind
I love how the second part of the definition describes fear as “whether real or imagined”- meaning we are making this up in our minds! Most of the time the things that we’re afraid of are not going to happen and never will happen. Some say that a good acronym for fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real” and that’s a great acronym to remember. Fear is usually false. It’s usually not ever going to happen. It’s simply imagined in our minds.
Fear Does NOT Come from God
It’s also important to understand that fear is something that does not come from God. I’m a Christian and I fully believe this. It says, “Do not fear” 365 times in the Bible and that’s one for every single day. It also says in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God did not bring the spirit of fear- but of power, love, and a sound mind. So, fear does not come from God. It comes from the enemy; it comes from Satan or whatever you prefer to call him. The opposite of fear is love and the Bible says that perfect love casts out all fear. So God wants us to have love and a peace that surpasses all understanding; God doesn’t want us to be afraid, worrisome, or anxious about anything.
Fear is Meant to Deter You from Your Purpose
So fear comes from the enemy or from Satan and why is that? Why does Satan want to bring fear? Well, think about it. What is his main purpose and goal? It’s to keep us from receiving all of God’s promises and all of God’s blessings over our lives. So, he comes in and he plants fear in your mind, he plants these thoughts of worry and doubts to keep us paralyzed, to keep us from getting the things that God wants us to have, to keep us from reaching our destiny. He knows that fears are very paralyzing. Think about it. Have you ever seen someone in a dangerous situation- maybe being held up at gunpoint? What typically happens? They don’t do anything. They just stand there because they’re paralyzed with fear. They can’t even move or think. Now think about your own business. Maybe you’re trying to pick up the phone and call buyers, but you’ve been procrastinating out of fear. What typically ends up happening? Maybe you think about it, or maybe you stare at your phone. You try to practice what you’re going to say and then you probably never end up picking up the phone because you’re paralyzed.
It’s extremely important that we understand that fear is paralyzing. It’s an emotion and it doesn’t come from God. That way we can take steps to overcome it.
The Five Ways to Overcome Fear
So we are now aware that fear stems from negative thoughts planted in our minds. So, all we have to do is change our thoughts, right? Well, we all know it’s not quite that easy.
The formula is that thoughts -> feelings -> actions; which = results.
So, if you want to change the results, you have to first change the thoughts because the thought is where it all begins. But you can’t just fight your thoughts with thoughts or a negative thought with a positive thought. It’s really not that easy. In order to fight your thoughts, you have to fight them with words. So, the Bible says in Proverbs 18:21 that death and life are in the power of the tongue- which leads us to number one.
#1. Fight your fears with audible words. Say those words out loud!
Number one is to fight your thoughts with words and say those words out loud. It’s really important that you say them out loud; otherwise, it’s technically still a thought. Let’s say your thought is “What if I sound like an idiot on the phone to a buyer? That’s your negative fearful thought. Instead, you can produce thoughts like, “I am an amazing designer.” “I know this buyer’s going to love everything in my entire collection; they would be an idiot not to buy this line.” “I’m intelligent. I am well-spoken and I will make the most perfect phone call ever to this buyer.” If you believe in Jesus, you can add a prayer as well.
It’s important to understand that we can’t stop these negative thoughts; but at the same time, we can choose not to entertain them. So they might be coming into our minds, but we can basically choose to not accept it and say no that it is not for me. Instead, say “This” is what God says about me. “This” is what I know about myself. Whatever positive affirmations you believe- say those words out loud. Say them until they penetrate your mind and gradually replace your negative thoughts. Speaking audibly to our negative thoughts is one of the most effective ways to overcome fear.
#2. Ask God to Help You!
The second way to overcome fear is through prayer and asking God to help you. Prayer is so powerful and if you believe in the Lord, he will help you. He can help renew your mind. Ephesians 4:23 says, “Be renewed in the spirit of your minds” because God wants us to experience peace. Jesus is the Prince of peace and we are called to have the peace that surpasses all understanding; we are called to not fear, worry, or doubt. We can always lean on God and he can help eliminate our fears. Remember that there is power in prayer.
#3. Stay in the Present
The third tip for overcoming fear is to stay present! Have you ever noticed that fear only exists in the past or in the future? It actually never exists in the present. Think about what your fearful thoughts usually tell you. They’re usually telling you things like, “Remember the last time you did that? Look at what happened the last time you tried that.” Notice that these are all in the past. Other times our negative thoughts aim to predict the future. “What if this happens or what if that happens?” “What if you trip and fall and someone sees you fall and your heel gets stuck?” Notice fear always communicates in what-ifs or remember when’s! There are no fearful present thoughts. When we learn to quiet our mind, and stay in the present, we can overcome fear. It’s powerful.
Two Ways to Stay Present at All Times
One way is to literally acknowledge the fact that you’re having this negative thought. When negative thoughts arise; I like to reply, “Thanks for sharing, but that’s not what God says about me or that’s not what I know. Mock your doubts and replace them with the positive affirmations.
This helps you take control and remain present by acknowledging the fear and refusing to believe it.
Another method is to literally remain grounded in posture. This means planting both of your feet on the ground, breathing very deeply, remembering to breathe, and also speaking very slowly. When I am in meetings with clients, I literally won’t cross my legs. I will make sure that both of my feet are literally planted firmly on the ground. If I’m standing, I’ll make sure I’m not leaning to one side or the other. The adjustments really help us stay calm, present, and aware of what’s going on. Speaking slowly actually helps to de-stress you. By breathing, you’re allowing more oxygen into your brain- preventing any panic attacks from happening. For more on the impacts of our body language, I recommend this TED Talk, “Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are” by Amy Cuddy.
#4. Stop Worrying About What Other People Think of You
The fourth tip is- stop worrying about what other people think of you. We just went over the fact that thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to your actions, which equal your results. So, if you are letting someone else’s thoughts affect your feelings; you’re essentially letting other’s opinions affect your actions and your results. Why would you ever give anyone power over your life like that? Remember this Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “What other people think of me is none of my business and that’s the way I like to keep it.”
#5. Move TOWARD Your Fear and Take Action
Number five is to actually move toward your fear and take action. Fear is the only thing that gets smaller the closer you get to it. The more action you can take to get closer to your fear, the smaller it will become. Think about the original equation- thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions which equal your results. What if you could eliminate thoughts and feelings and just start with the action? Why do we need to worry about thoughts and feelings? I admit that this is easier said than done.
Think about what happened when Peter walked on the water to go see Jesus. He literally didn’t think about it. There was no fear. He was like, “There is Jesus, I’m going for it. If I have to walk on the water to get to him I will.” It wasn’t until he took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the storm, that he began to sink. Up until then, he was focusing on the action. Of course, Jesus saved him and he didn’t drown, but faith is very risky. Many people say faith is spelled RISK. It goes back to that original quote: “Faith and fear are the exact same thing- believing in something you do not know will actually happen.” The question is- which one will you choose to believe in? I’d rather choose faith and choose risks. I’d rather take action and move towards the fear, watching it get smaller the closer that I get to it. This way “false evidence appearing real,” becomes “face everything and rise!” Remember your fear is not your reality; you’re imagining it in your mind. Why not imagine something positive- something that is going to propel you forward instead of paralyzing you and hold you back? We have a choice every single day whether we will choose to be fearful or choose to have faith. And even if you fail, more is gained from wrong actions than inaction. So, take action and rise above your fear!
The Five Ways to Overcome Fear
Download the easy to print checklist here.
I named my company Fashion Angel Warrior because I strive every day to encourage my clients to be warriors, to overcome their fears. I am most inspired by my clients who feel the fear and do it anyway. Running a fashion business or any kind of business can be full of obstacles and uncertainty. If you or a fashionpreneur friend of yours needs encouragement; click here for a free download of the 5 Ways to Overcome Fear and Become a More Confident Entrepreneur. Print it out and pin it up in your office. Keep it handy for those times when your faith is running low and stay encouraged!
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