man facing his fears“How to transform your fears into courage, one simple strategy!”

Fear and courage coexist together in a synergetic relationship. Which means they work together toward helping us accomplish our goals, hopes, dreams… or facing challenging situations. We need fears to ignite our courage and we need courage to face our fears. Fear and courage are like yin and yang, complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. They need one another to exist, their dynamic interactions helping us not only to be safe but, also helping us to develop, grow, and change. As fear may alert us of something new, unknown, or dangerous we need courage to keep ourselves safe, face unknowns situations, or take on new challenges.

When fear and courage are in a harmonious relationship, we know how to tolerate our fears and we engage with life. We do not let fears take over. Therefore, we take action, we go after our dreams, we accomplish great things, we take healthy risks, we face challenges, we cope with a crisis… We let our dreams, passions, hopes, aspirations to guide our actions; while fears become the energy behind our actions. We continue to evolve and bloom through our fears.

When fears take over our courage dwindles down; our fear-courage relationship is out of synergy, not working harmoniously toward helping us. Instead of living our life we avoid our life. Instead of facing our challenges we froze. Instead of creating our life, life happens to us without our participation. We lose touch with our natural propensity to let fears become our courage. We give in to fear.

Fears are a normal, just a part of life, coming and going throughout our life journey. We can’t avoid fears or deny our fears, unless we avoid life. We have to work with our fears in ways that is helpful to us. In fact, when we deny our fears, they are more likely to become to go out of our awareness, straight into our unconscious mind – then we are more likely to be controlled by them without our awareness. When we deny our fears, we are more likely to respond from a fear place and to engage in fear based responses – like being overreactive, get emotionally stuck, we paralyze, we avoid, we attack, we withdraw, we make bad decisions… Fears based responses keeps us away from engaging with our best parts, we can’t access our skills, talents, and strengths. These fear based responses can keep us small, hidden, not allowing us to become what we can become. Also, fears based responses turn into anxiety, depression, and addictions.

Here is an easy strategy to help you transform your fears into courage. This is a strategy that most people engage in naturally, without their awareness, when their inner fear-courage relationship is in harmony, working together.

Identify something small you really want to accomplish; however, it scares you.

Identify the steps you need to take toward accomplishing this goal. Sometimes you may not see clearly all the steps. So just start! You can keep adjusting your steps as you go through this process.

Allow yourself to feel each step in your mind, before you engage in each particular step

Identify any fear based feelings/thoughts (i.e. “I’m nervous” or “I can’t do this”). Also see if you may notice some courage based feelings/thoughts (i.e. “I’m excited about it” or “I’ll be ok”) mixed with the fears based ones.

Proceed to accomplish each step while YOU DO NOT not engage with the fear based feelings. YOU DO engage with your courage based feelings/thoughts, if you notice any.

Very important: Not engaging with fear based feelings/thoughts does not mean you deny them. You let them come and go, aware of their presence – which is different than denying their presence. These fear based feelings/thoughts are the ones we try to heal from and stop their automatic control on us. What we want, is to face them and work with them! You face them by making a note of their presence and while we tolerate them, we engage with and the steps (from number 2) toward accomplishing that one thing your really want but scars you. Choosing purposely to move beyond fear based emotions and thoughts, they will slowly or faster become less a part of who you are. Every time we work with our fears we heal, grow, become something more. Every time we deny our fears we continue to be what we have been, that is not working for us.

Practice, practice, practice!!! Find something new to accomplish that scares you and start all over. With each victory, each feelings of victory becoming a part of who you are. After a number of victories, all the good feelings associated with each victory will be stored in your unconscious or preconscious mind ready to serve you in future. This is the autopilot reactions you want to have in your subconscious mind: the readiness to turn your fears and into courage – a synergic fear-courage relationship. Eventually, transforming fears into courage becoming a part of who you are.
If you find yourself not being able to tolerate your fear based feelings/thoughts, feel overwhelmed, or if anxiety takes over you need to stop. If this is not helping you, I strongly recommend that you do not use this strategy own your own, most likely you need to work with a psychotherapist.

While strategies like this can be very helpful, I personally believe that the one-on-one psychotherapeutic relationships with a human being that is genuinely emotionally invested and is a trained professional to help you, cannot be replaced. Relationships have the power to transform us. The work you do with a psychotherapist is not just a strategy, it is a journey of self-discovery, connection, and transformation that occurs at multiple levels. It is an intimate, complex, and life-changing meeting of minds that cannot be replaced by one or more strategies.

Mihaela Ivan Hotz, Psy.D., LMFT
creativemindspsychotherapy.com

(310) 424-0292
9300 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Create Your Life! Don’t Let Life Happen To You!
Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Psy.D. LMFT

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