Another confused but popular piece of advice.
It goes like this: "FEAR is False, Evidence, Appearing, Real".
The idea is, to have you challenge your perceptions and take action. Perhaps the only thing holding you back is fear itself. Again, this advice is usually well-intended. I've seen it advocated by well-established psychologists through to pop gurus.
But hold on! let's check! (we should always check). What if there is a real danger appearing real? We could be taking bold, decisive action when instead we should be, treading gently, assessing and managing the risks and making changes to develop the situation safely.
It's hard to put all that all into a snappy acronym though right?
So, let's redesign this popular but flawed advice into something more ecological, behaviour and thinking that's more sustainable and realistic.
If you feel fear, the feeling of fear is real! And it should be honoured and attended to, not ignored. Fear is part of keeping you safe. But what your fear is based on, may or may not, be accurately perceived! The way that you are thinking about the world or relating to the world may be distorted or unrealistic, leading to an unnecessary feeling of fear. On the other hand, there may be some real risk you need to be alerted too. The feeling of fear may be an appropriate signal.
So, use the feelings of fear to alert you to check. Check your thinking, check the world. What's the fear connected to? What are the real risks and what might be an overreaction? What needs to be changed or modified to safely proceed. How can you develop and take action carefully?
By checking in this way, you identify what may have *seemed* risky at the time but through checking you realise you'll be OK.
Checking in with the way you are using feelings of fear means you can do things more successfully in the world while at the same time managing risks appropriately. At the same time, you can learn to use and manage your feelings more generally, more skilfully over time, instead of ignoring them.
I'd love to know what you think? Has this post been helpful? How do you deal with fear? Drop your thoughts in the comments.
To learn to disappear the fear of public speaking and presenting consider our Never Be Nervous: The Psychology of Confident Presenting
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