How To Overcome Your Fear
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Achieving lasting change and getting what
you really want in life takes a sustained vision of the future. That vision
serves not just as an ongoing source of motivation to get there, but it also
helps you identify and tackle the obstacles that have held you back until now.
These obstacles include the fear of failure,
such as doubts about your own worthiness for success. And if you're like most
people, your obstacles include a fear of achieving the very things you want.
"The fear of success is a very unique issue
that arises when you are genuinely creating change and moving forward in your
life," says Ti Caine, a hypnotherapist and life coach based in Sherman Oaks,
California. "The fear of success is very real, because the future is real --
we're all heading there -- and what we imagine for our future has an enormous
influence on us."
Caine insists that we are clueless about
how to deal with our fear of success, because these fears are rooted in a
future that we dont know how to work on. "Our culture is focused on
fixing the past. It's as if we are driving through life staring in the
rear-view mirror." Caine has developed a technique he calls Future
Visioning to provide people with an alternative, that is, a system for
creating a detailed picture of the future they want to achieve.
To create and sustain success, it is
essential to find and release your fears of achieving success. The more you
leave the task undone, the more your fears will control you. Its the monster in
the closet, says Caine, and it gets bigger.
Fears of success tend to cluster around
several issues. One of the core fears that arises from change is that success
will lead to loneliness. Women especially fear success, because they are afraid
that being powerful enough to create the life they want will render them
unlovable. Sometimes people fear success will mean being attacked by enemies or
besieged by others wanting money or other things from them.
Many women fear success at losing weight,
because becoming more attractive to others could jeopardize the love and the
life they have or create situations they do not know how to handle.
Some fears of success are easy to release,
because they will probably never happen, such as fears of losing everything and
becoming a bag lady. But some are real. When you change, the relationships
around you will be forced to change. Some friends will always cheer you on, but
others are steeped in jealousy and will denigrate you for moving forward.
"All fears of success would go away if you
totally took your power back," says Caine. In fact, our very deepest fear
is that when we really reclaim our power and succeed, we have to face the
realization that we had the power to change all along and could have changed
five or ten years ago. Change comes from choice, and we have always had
the power to change.
When we realize this, we will come
face-to-face with the realization that we caused unnecessary suffering to
ourselves and others along the way by our failure to change. We begin to see
that suffering is not a necessary part of life.
The common denominator to every problem in
your life is: you were there when it happened. Though realizing that you have
always had the power to change can be painful, this pain can be healed if you
learn to forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness doesnt come from the
outside but from the inside, insists Caine. If you don't know how
to forgive yourself, then you can't create empowered success.
A conscious act of forgiving yourself leads
to a sense of completion. With this completing, you can move on and not act out
your failure over and over again.
You need to understand why you held onto
being powerless for so long. There are payoffs for holding onto
less-than-successful realities and failing to change, real secondary gains to
be had, Caine points out. Some fundamental questions can help you understand
why; the biggest of these is, What do I hope to get out of pretending to be
- What do I get to avoid?
- Who do I get to punish or love?
- What emotion am I not willing to
release? (For many it is anger.)
- What guarantee am I holding out
- Am I manipulating with self-pity?
- Am I feeling better than or less
- What am I afraid of losing if I
Once you identify your fears and understand
why you held onto them, then you can forgive yourself. You can release your
fears by visualizing these fears coming true in the future, then creatively
destroying this image in your imagination. Or, you can write out your fears and
destroy the paper. (You can get help with the process at
Ti Caine's Future Visioning
website) Now, play out the movie of your successful future in your
imagination -- and you are on your way to a successful life.
Hara Estroff Marano is Editor-At-Large of
Psychology Today magazine and Editor-In-Chief of Psychology Today's
Blues Buster, a newsletter about depression. An award-winning writer on
human behavior, Haras articles have appeared in publications including the
New York Times, Smithsonian, Family Circle and The
Ladies Home Journal. She lives in New York City.