Do one thing every day that scares you. – Eleanor Roosevelt
“Life is short” is perhaps one of the most popular sayings in the history of human existence. Yet, despite all the times we have heard it and even said it ourselves, many still find it hard to maximize their time on earth. So what’s holding you back from experiencing life to fullest?
The time we have on earth is more than enough to enjoy life to the fullest. However, the problem that begins is that instead of building a better life NOW, many people choose to procrastinate moving forward.
What’s more? More often than not, the reason behind this procrastination is fear!
There is no denying that to get the most out of the short time we have on earth, we must resolve to do so from the present moment. Fear is the worst enemy that takes us away from present moment.
If we let fear continue to hold us back, we will look back one day and realize that the time we had is gone, just like that.
Time never sends a reminder or a memo to let us know that it is moving on and getting late. Instead, we just look at our lives one day and realize how far spent time is.
At this point, some people look back and are proud to have built better lives for themselves, while other people only look back with constant regrets and empty wishes, imagining what would have happened had they lived their lives better.
The Complexity of Fear
Fear is what’s holding you back from a better life. It is the most dominant and most assertive emotion responsible for 99% of every major decision in the world.
Even though there are many types of fears, below, we examine some of the kinds of fears most capable of holding us back from having better lives for ourselves.
○ Fear of the Unknown
One of the most common types of fear, fear of the unknown leads a person to inaction as much as any other form. While some form of fear may cause us to make a rash decision or take the wrong move, fear of the unknown leaves us not taking any action at all.
For instance, those who fear the future because they have no idea what it holds will always play it safe. Instead of making proactive decisions they procrastinate, telling themselves, they’ll do it when things become more transparent.
Life will always be mysterious, and being afraid of what’s coming because we don’t know what it is will only hold us back and stop us from taking a significant step that could change everything for the better.
○ Fear of Embarrassment
Another popular type of fear, fear of embarrassment, is the same as the fear of being judged. This, too, tends to make us play things safe and be reactive instead of taking proactive actions.
Fear of Embarrassment is a very common feeling that everyone goes through in their daily lives. It usually happens when we feel we did something wrong and that we may be judged either by our peers or by our own critical voice. This fear can cause anxiety, stress and affect the way we lead our lives.
The idea of being embarrassed can be seen as a warning sign for danger. This fear can also lead to irrational thoughts and self-doubt. Having these thoughts can impact one’s performance in various situations.
This is what separates the winners from the mediocre in life. Winners are fearless of being judged stop them from making a significant decision.
○ Fear of Being Powerless
The fear of being powerless is perhaps one of the singular forms of fear common to almost everyone on earth. This form of fear performs its most harmful act when it stops us from making decisions and taking actions because we believe that we do not have the power to.
So, in addition to being afraid that we don’t have the power to achieve what we want to, we also believe that we can never have this power in the first place because society is set up against us to ensure we don’t.
This creates a vicious cycle that leads to an endless loop of failure. To break rid of the cycle, we must first get rid of the fear causing it.
The world may be rigged against us, but we will never build a better life for ourselves if we keep being afraid of it.
How Deep Introspection Can help to overcome Fear
One of the most effective tools is introspection of what’s holding you back from overcoming this fear. Even more remarkably, when it comes to overcoming the specific types of fear highlighted above, there are only very few actions as effective as deep introspection.
○ Can Help Discover Mental Blocks formed by fear
Introspection involves looking inward and analyzing our mental and emotional processes. Doing this thoroughly and truthfully helps us identify our worst enemy (fear), understand why they are happening, and their effect on our lives.
Most importantly, introspection can help us identify once and for all the particular mental blocks stopping us from overcoming this fear and acting as a barrier to other breakthroughs in life.
Of course, once this is identified, the process of overcoming fear is well underway and pretty much almost complete.
○ Can Help to Identify Initial Triggers
When fear takes hold of us, it can be difficult to remember our initial triggers. Introspection is the best way to identify these early triggers. By taking note of the times when anxiety began to peak, you can avoid those triggers in the future.
When anxiety begins to peak, it might appear irrational and out of control. This is because sometimes, our brain overreacts to an event that just triggered a feeling of fear or worry. It is important that we identify what has caused this overreaction so that we stop fearing the event itself and feel more in control of our emotional response.
It can be challenging to determine what experiences have triggered your fears actively or passively – but introspection will show you this information better than anything else
○ Helps in finding new perspectives
Introspection can help people find new perspectives on things they might not know anything about. It helps them to understand the world around them in a different way.
This kind of introspection is possible through reflection, which is a conscious act of reviewing how one thinks and feels about something, especially when faced with emotional conflict. Introspection is one of the most important skills that people can learn to improve their lives.
It helps people discover what they are passionate about and what they are missing out on in life. It can also help them find solutions for their problems by identifying the root cause of these problems.
Tools for Deep Introspection
As we have seen above, introspection offers so much importance that it is always an advisable route every time we’re faced with fear. Yet, some people fail to gain any new insight from introspection, and this is because they’re doing it wrong.
Below are a few tools guaranteed to help get rid of what’s holding you back in life and increase the level of our introspective skills for a long time to come.
○ Self Reflection Questions and Exercises
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle
One of the best tools to employ during introspection is asking self-reflective questions. To get a complete and more effective result, these questions and exercises may cover as many aspects of life as possible.
Below are few categories to consider:
> Beliefs & Values
Our beliefs and core values affect our outlook on life more than many of us realize. Even though they never seem like that on the surface, deep down on the subconscious, they guide us and act as a roadmap towards threading the rugged terrains of life and gain confidence.
This is why, to overcome fear with introspection, we must first examine these core beliefs by asking self-reflective questions.
For example, we should ask ourselves questions such as:
- What are my basic principles in life?
- What motivates me to keep going for success?
- What matters to me the most?
- What beliefs do I hold so dear and so true that even when everything collapses around me, I will never stop holding on and believing?
Getting the answers to these questions straight in our minds will bring us a step closer to knowing ourselves better. We can also look into Shadow Work Prompts to introspect oneself better. Of course, once we know ourselves better, we can become better equipped to deal with challenges and overcome our fears.
Another category of self-reflective questions and exercises to consider has more to do with our talents. Almost as important as our values and beliefs are recognizing our strength and ability.
This is where talent comes in. Talent may not be the ultimate decider of success or overcoming fear in life, but it does give us a platform to start.
Talent helps us to gain a good starting point. Those who play to their talents automatically have the edge over those who seek to continue on a path in which they have no prior strength at all.
To understand more about our strengths, we must ask ourselves questions such as:
- What are my biggest skills?
- Which of these am I the proudest of?
- Which of these am I the most comfortable with?
- Which of these require further work to master?
Understanding our present talents helps us to consolidate them. It may even allow us to acquire new ones.
During self-reflection, it’s okay to realize that we have no exceptional talent that stands out above the rest. This may be precisely what pushes us to overcome our fear and use the various resources available to us out there to acquire new skills.
> Traits & Qualities
Lastly, to master self-reflection, it is essential to ask ourselves questions regarding our traits and qualities. Mind you, traits and qualities should not be confused with beliefs and values.
While our beliefs and values are principles of life that we hold true in our minds, traits and qualities are more visible on the surface and are usually what people see about us, what we reflect to the world.
Traits and qualities are decided, to an extent, by our beliefs and values, but they are not entirely dependent on them. It is also possible to have a set of beliefs but display some particular traits that are so far away from those beliefs.
This is why performing deep introspective exercises on our traits and qualities is an absolute must to achieve success over fear. To do this, we must ask ourselves questions such as:
- What are the first traits I want other people to think of about me?
- What are the first traits I think of about myself?
- Do my actions reflect this trait?
- What are my strongest qualities?
- What aspects do I have to improve upon?
All of these, among others you eventually think of, can go a long way in realigning our beliefs with our character, helping us overcome our innate fears.
Apart from self-reflective questions, meditation is another method of ensuring deep and practical introspection. Meditation in its own way is powerful in quieting the world’s noise and focusing on a singularly important aspect of our lives to clear the noise.
A particular meditation technique that we always recommend is the mindfulness meditation technique.
In practicing mindfulness, the aim is to always focus on all passing thoughts. The goal is not to judge and analyze but to be mindful of the thoughts as they pass through our minds.
Doing this has a way of tuning out the outside world, making us focus only on the singular thoughts in our minds. By focusing on these thoughts, we get to know ourselves better, and overcoming fear becomes easier.
○ Keeping a Detailed Journal
Lastly, journaling is another underrated method of introspection. When many think of introspection, they do not think of writing things down.
Journaling is a powerful tool for personal growth. The act of writing allows you to reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It can help keep you grounded in the present moment. Writing down your emotions can also allow you to identify patterns in yourself or your environment that are sabotaging you or your goals.
Cultivating a proper journaling habit with consistency helps us get our thoughts and fears neatly down in a place without us knowing it. Going through this journal can help build new ideas and reveal things about ourselves which we never even knew about.
Of all introspective techniques, journaling is without a doubt one of the most important.
Overcoming our fear is a tough challenge, but it is not an impossible one. Considering the years of pain and regret that await those who fail to identify and overcome their fears in life, cultivating the discipline required to do this should be a process we all should be moving forward with.
Thankfully, this process can be mastered through deep introspection.
Deep introspection helps us identify triggers and mental blocks and places us on a path towards discovering new perspectives in life. All of this can go a long way in helping us remove our fears forever.
To achieve this, though, the entire introspection must be done right. And to do it right, we must, among other things, ask ourselves the right questions, meditate, and always keep a journal.
No one wants to look back in life with regret and painful wishes. The journey towards happiness begins now, and it starts with proper introspection and self-reflection.