Reframing Your Fearbehaviors emotional emotions fear opportunity positive reframing restrain thoughts Jan 03, 2020
Re-framing Your Fears
One of the big emotions we deal with on a regular basis is fear. As it relates to our emotions, fear can manifest itself in a couple of different ways. Either fear is the emotion we are feeling that prevents emotional control, for example fear of crying in a business situation, or fear itself is the emotion we are feeling in a given moment, for example fear of public speaking.
Whichever we are dealing with, the important thing to remember is that everything you want is on the other side of fear. If you’re like me, you’ve heard that saying before and maybe it didn’t really sink in in a productive way. But recently I’ve revisited this topic and taken a different view of managing my fear.
When you are held back by fear, for any reason, you are missing out on what is happening on the other side of that fear. What fear does, is hold you back from taking a next step or action. This fear, even if you don’t always recognize it as fear, is forcing you to stay where you are comfortable, and because of this, you don’t experience what could be if you allowed yourself to move forward, despite the fear.
When it comes to fear, I realized that fear is a perfect opportunity for reframing. We can retrain our thoughts to understand that fear is excitement and our body’s way of gearing up for a challenging situation, instead of something to be prevented or avoided. Imagine if you are in a difficult situation and your body starts to react with what you have believed to be fear…your palms get clammy and your heart starts to race, or maybe you’re blushing or sweating…you should consider these signals as your body preparing to do something difficult or preparing to be brave, instead of as something to be afraid of.
I encountered this situation recently with my son. We were visiting a restaurant on the top of a hotel in Downtown St. Louis. As soon as my son stepped off the elevator he felt a bit of panic and immediately said, “I can’t, I’m scared”. After some discussion with both my husband and I, we were able to explain to him that his body was reacting that way because it was preparing for something exciting. We told him he wasn’t afraid, he was preparing to be brave.
My son eventually became more and more comfortable with the location, even stepping closer to the windows and walls to take a better look at the view. On the way home from the restaurant, a 30 minute drive, he talked nonstop about how amazing that restaurant was, how much he enjoyed the view, and what a great trip it had been. This reframing of fear into excitement and bravery helped him to see the good that was waiting for him on the other side of his fear.
More often than not, many of our emotions can be re-framed into a positive take on the same situation. This little bit of re-framing allows us to open our minds to new possibilities and see what we had a difficult time imagining was on the other side. Every time I have pressed through the fear I have found the result to be worth the risk. In fact, I have found a positive correlation between the level of fear, and level of reward.
Even more so, in my personal experience, I have learned, that when I face big fears, the small fears become easier. I also build up a tolerance and confidence level to continue facing big fears. I strongly encourage you to think about what you fear and how you can begin to take steps to reframe that fear and face it as an opportunity for excitement, bravery, and personal growth.
What rewards are you missing out on because of fear? When you’re afraid, how does your body prepare you for the upcoming activity? I’d love to hear your stories of overcoming or re-framing your fear.