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Fear: What Scares You?

Happy October! In honor of this spooky month, we at K&S Therapeutic Services are focusing on fear. Take a moment to consider what scares you. What's the monster hiding under your bed? Is it fear of commitment? Intimacy or abandonment? Fear of failure, or maybe even fear of success? No matter what scares you, do you ever notice that you allow yourself to be controlled by that fear? It can be easy to slip into making choices rooted in fear in order to avoid whatever it is that scares you.

The truth is, fear can be useful, and sometimes we are right to be afraid. As human beings, we have certain instincts for a reason. Fear, anxiety, panic; these feelings can indicate that we are in a dangerous situation and need to escape. But sometimes, certain experiences or traumas can alter our instincts and therefore get in the way of us being able to use fear effectively. But how can you use fear to your benefit instead of allowing it to rule your life?

To use an example, let's look at how some of us behave when we experience a fear of intimacy. Have you ever entered a new relationship and suddenly felt like you wanted to run away from that person? Not due to any concrete reason, but just an instinct to run? As we become closer with another person, our vulnerability increases, which for many can incite fear. Choosing to leave that new relationship is an example of how we can let fear dictate our behavior. True, it might be emotionally safer in the short term to leave that relationship and avoid the possibility of being hurt. But think of all the loving, wonderful experiences you would miss if you choose to run away instead of being brave in the face of possible heartbreak.

None of us want to miss out on some of the best parts of life just because we are afraid. Why don't you use the month of October to build some mindfulness around your fears and how they influence your decisions? Take ten minutes today—put down your phone, turn off your television, put both feet on the floor, pay attention to your breath, and ask yourself, “What scares me the most? What have I avoided because of this fear? What am I missing out on because I am too afraid to go for it?” If you struggle to find an answer at first, try again tomorrow, or reach out for help. Talking with a therapist is a great way to explore your fears, and K&S Therapeutic Services can provide a safe space in which to do so.  

With a little practice, you can quiet your mind and begin to listen to yourself. You might be surprised with how much you learn, and once you can identify what scares you, you can begin challenging yourself to make different decisions and stop avoiding! Don't forget—it's impossible to be brave if you don't feel some fear, so accept your fears and push forward. I bet you'll be glad you did.