“Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it.”

John B. Putnam Jr.

         photo by Esra Gunaydin

Do you have any fears that affect your life and couldn’t overcome it? If yes, do you want to conquer them and liberate yourself?

Before reading the 1.st item below, please don’t easily say that “I do not have any fear”. Even this phrase could be a fear which is masked by denial and keep you away from confronting with your fears. Having a fear is not a weakness. The real weakness is riding a life as a prisoner of fear.

I’m writing this article since I realized that the vast majority of my recent experiences are revolving around the same origin that is fear. This issue came into me and around my life so many times that, I needed to turn within and organize my thoughts.

Here are the steps that I am using to fight my fears. I hope that keep the light for you as well.

1. Identify your fears

The first step in overcoming fear is to identify and accept it. Fear is such a thing that never put itself obviously as it is. On the contrary, it is stored behind a mask when it expresses itself on the surface. It creates a cover on itself and leak into our lives. Our mind plays tricks on us and stray the target. Then we assume that it is not fear but our “preference” or personality. Therefore it seems like there is no real fear to overcome.

If I give an example of my own life, everyone knows me as someone who expressed herself very well. Essentially, even though I can express my thoughts easily, in case of emotions I’m not so good. Especially in close relationships, my fear is maximized. As it can be seen, as if there is no fear rather it is personality. However this personality was not shape by itself. Some negative experiences and observations turn into fear and rooted deep in my mind. This fear masked itself by my personality and had a lofty mission of protecting me, imposed restrictions on not to express my feelings. This is obviously not a personality. This is fear; “if I express my feelings as they are, I am afraid of being hurt, being misunderstood and losing the love of the other party. If I show my feelings, I am scared of being abused”

Let me give you one another example. One of my close friends has extremely negative ideas about marriage. So much so, no matter how good his current relation is, when marriage comes into the agenda, his feelings are changed and he wants to run away from the relationship. On the tip of the iceberg, his logic says that “%50 of marriages doesn’t work, marriage kills the relationship, etc” However he has never married yet. In other words, these thoughts are not from his experience but fed from the outside. After talking more about this issue, we found out that there is a fear of losing freedom under the iceberg. This fear let him live an alone life both physically and emotionally. And maybe it left him deprived of wonderful experiences. But apparently there is no fear in his life; on the contrary there is someone who prefers a single life. And he called it as freedom.

Since the fear does not manifest itself obviously, in order to determine it you need to consider in depth and be honest to yourself. But do not worry, the fear is extremely easy to trace. Fear is often coil itself behind the fields which do not progress well and produce lots of problems. These might be emotional or financial fields of your life. If you want to measure the depth of your fear, look at your faith to develop this field. The less is your faith means it is as much as your fear.

Therefore, to be able to identify your fears, you should look at your life objectively. You should say “Yes, here is in my life doesn’t going the way I wanted. Until today, I thought it was because of others or my personality. But now I realize that the fact is my fear of ………”

2. Identify your paradigms

The second step needed to be taken to defeat fear is, to put your paradigms in the background of your mind. This is pretty easy and you can do immediately. Take a piece of paper and a pen and just write what comes to your mind about your fears item by item.  What are the thought patterns about your fear? Write them without thinking, just write them. Let the roots of your fear disclose themselves in a written way. No need to even set up a proper sentence. Add to your list the proverbs and idioms which empowers your fear. And also add the negative memories in the titles. If there is a story which influenced you very much should also be added into your list even if you haven’t experience it by person. Thus, you will be set forth the map of your mind about the fear clearly.

Recently I was reading “How to attract many now” which is written by Joe Vitale. The first step proposed by the author is, to put forward the thought patterns regarding money.  In order to do that, the method above is suggested. Until I applied this method for myself, I supposed I had no any negative beliefs about money. On the contrary I supposed that my relation with money is extremely good.  But after taking the paper and pen in my hand, I saw that how much negative mind map I have for money. And how many obstacles I put between me and the money.

So you need to put out your mind map about the fear clearly. This map will show you the way to defeat it.

3. Alter your paradigms

Now you have your mind map in your hand. That is the solution in your hand. You should pass over the items you wrote by one by and sort them according to whichever serve you or not. Change the items that no longer serve you with the new ones. The point to notice here is the new paradigm should be something you can easily accept and believe. Otherwise you may feel fool yourself.

For example, let’s assume that you afraid of loneliness and one of your paradigms is “No one can be together with me for a long time; sooner or later he/she leaves me”.  In order to change this, you can draw over it and write a new one like this “I give joy to lives of others whom I spent time together” or “I am worthy to love and being loved”

Now it is time to renew the old paradigms which were embedded insidiously and unconsciously in your mind and no longer serve you!  Write down your new patterns in a clean sheet. And read them every day until they are rooted in your mind and replaced with the old ones. One day you will say “what nonsense!” when you remind the old ones. That time you will be sure that the new ones are in service.

4. Defeat the fear first in your mind

This step is very important. Perhaps it is the most important one. It is not possible to realize something in real life if you cannot even imagine in your mind. Be sure that, everything you see around was a dream of someone at first. Therefore, something must be real in your mind at first before you can make it real in this life.

Imagine that you face with your fear in your mind. But this time you are not someone who is beaten by fear but who defeats the fear. For example, if you have a fear of heights, imagine that you are looking at the top of a high building. The first stage of imagination, you think you are tied up tightly and extremely in safe. After getting used to, gradually lose your ties. And finally you can easily look down without any tie. Then even exaggerate it and imagine you have wings and fly like a bird in the sky and feel the great pleasure you have.

5. Give Love to your fears

Yes I know, it sounds ridiculous but please don’t be prejudiced and sure that it has the key role in here. Do you know why? Because of everything in this life is based on duality. For example, black and white, day and night, light and dark, etc. In other words, if there is a thing, there is opposite of it too. The reason for the existence of something depends on the presence of its opposite. For example, if night was not existed, day was not exists either. I mean, if it was always daytime, it would be the only situation and we wouldn’t need to identify it particularly.

Many people think the opposite of love is hatred. But it is not true. The opposite of love is indeed “fear”. Look at the things you fear once again. You won’t see any love in them. You should dissolve your fear in your love. When you feel fear for an event, person or environment, send your love there. Do it even you don’t feel like loving them. Fear cannot live in somewhere where there is love, just like there is no dark in where is light. Love is antidote of fear.

Let’s turn back the very first example and consider my friend who is against the marriage because of his fear for losing his freedom. This person is indeed in a love relationship. You may ask how come fear and love exists together. The answer is very simple, because his real fear is losing his freedom, he sees marriage as a trap and he thinks he will be confined and limited when he gets married. So he grows a big fear against it. Instead of experience such situation, he sentenced himself a deep loneliness and turns his back to love.

Fear of confinement and limitation cannot get along together with true love. That’s why fear is over there. When love is sent, the fear is dissolved. The eyes which were closed by fear are opened up and they can see the truth. It is the understanding of human freedom is sourced from the soul of the man and cannot be prevented by anyone else except himself. The largest prison is the fear of prison. You can imprison the body but never the spirit. The poetry flowing from the spirits of people imprisoned by years are the best evidence for it.

6. Observe yourself

When you face with your fear, just wake up your observer within as well. On the one hand you have an awesome experience which you are confronting with your fears; on the other hand you are observing yourself. I mean, to observe your sensations in your body which are sweating, flushing, heat, cold, pounding, accelerated shallow breathing, etc. When you aware of your sensations, then you will see them are turned back to normal states more easily. You can claim the power coming from your essence and you will be more resolute and courageous against your fear.

Please note here that the repetition is essential for success. At first you can step back and defeated. Don’t let your courage to break down. As long as you observe yourself, you will be more determined and courageous next time. In order to have big victories, sometimes you may need to retreat a step.

For example, I have fear of insect for a long time. So much so, that fear makes my life really difficult. I know that this fear is absolutely irrational since a bug cannot beat me and I can easily kill it. When I analyze my fear which seems like fear of insect on the surface, I realize that there is fear of kill beneath it. Killing a living creature gives me remorse. When I see a bug somewhere in my home, I’m sweating, my heart is pounding, and I have a panic. I hesitate to take the bug killer spray but on the other hand I cannot let it live in my flat. My state of fear continues even after killing it. If I didn’t observe myself, perhaps I could never aware of the fear of killing in deep inside.

7. Do not hesitate to ask for help

Whether you are willing to overcome your fear but you don’t see any progress yet, do not hesitate to ask for help. This help may be professional, or maybe from a friend, family, books, etc. You can even pray and ask for help from God.  No matter where the help comes from, the first thing you need to do is “ask for it”.

For example, when I realize that I couldn’t progress enough with my fear of insect/killing, I did search this fear on internet. So in this way, I learned EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which is based on scientific research. You can find detailed information about it on www.EFTUniverse.com. The document in http://www.eftuniverse.com/images/pdf_files/eftquickstart.pdf thought me the basic application of EFT which helped me to overcome my fear.

Make sure that, if you have fear, there are also solutions. Even this article is written for helping you to find solutions.

8. Help others

What you give to this life is what you will get back. If you want to overcome your fear, help others to overcome their fears. It doesn’t matter if they have the same fear as yours. The important thing in here is helping others for their fears. Thus you will witness that the fear can be defeated. And this will increase your determination, courage and faith.

Believe me, this universe works in a miraculous way. What you give is multiplied exponentially and comes back to you. It never surprises me if you get a boost from the universe unexpectedly, as you are giving help others for their fear. This boost can be an inspiring quote or a song; can be an intense intuition, or a person who can provide help for you, or maybe a coincidence that can never come to your mind. The important thing is, in order to see and capture it you should be ready and open for it.

While I am writing this article, both I am helping you for your fears and I open myself to receive any kind of support to defeat my fears.

As writing my parting words, I want you to look around and observe people, your relatives and even yourself! There are too many people out there who live their life under the shadows of their fears, aren’t there? So much so, they normalize this situation and even don’t aware of it. They turn their back to the highest possibilities that life offers them and they only keep on complaining. Let’s do not be one of them. Don’t let be our life become a prison built from fears. Let’s do conscious and courageous choices and create a life of endless possibilities.

“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson



2 Responses to Overcoming Fears in 8 Steps

  1. Nikoya says:

    Yes, I could not agree with you more. Fear is a huge grip that can block happiness, success, and so much more. It is like a spider’s web – it entraps you from potentials and you may not even recognize that it is there until after you get caught.

    You make a good point when you said that even the denial of fear (because everyone naturally has them) can set you back, because then you’re not acknowledging your issues.

    I have made the decision in my life to always be honest with myself and eliminate fear. I have had to examine mental paradigms to change my thinking with money especially!

    Giving love and helping others is a great tip! Very insightful.

  2. Chris Barba says:

    Esra, you make so many amazingly applicable points in this article.

    The power of overcoming fear in your mind is essential. It is our mind that creates the fear and our mind that overcomes it. Understanding that the only limits and certitudes that exist are the ones our mind creates is a fundamental stepping stone to facing your fears.

    I really love ‘love your fear’ – this is such an unprecedented thought process!

    And when I was reading the observe yourself – it made me think of our emotional reactivity to situations and events. It is not the emotion that is particularly adverse, but our potential reaction that causes suffering. We will feel emotions and fears..that is natural – that is human, but it is the way we react to those feelings that will shape the course of our life.

    Great article – really helpful content.


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