Fear and Anxiety. Powerful words, powerful emotions. Everyone has experienced the effects of fear in their life. Fear, big and small, can leave us feeling paralyzed, helpless, and powerless. No one wants to live a life defined by fear. Yet in this world of wars, violence, heartache, and pain, fear and anxiety must be confronted on a regular basis. When we fail to challenge the effects of fear in our life, we start to see our present and future shaped by the choices we make- choices to avoid the things we fear most in life.
Nelson Mandela said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” These are discerning words from a man who a took on racial segregation and discrimination in South Africa. Mandela saw firsthand what is created when choices are made, again and again, out of fear and anxiety.
Choices made out of fear maintain that which we fear the most.
We make decisions every day that maintain our fear and anxiety. Usually, in the name of “safety.” We may call this wisdom or taking precautions, but the reality is that we are often simply avoiding the potential for pain. We are using avoiding, defending, and criticizing to keep ourselves “safe” in our identity and in our relationships. When decisions about identity, purpose, and relationships are made from the place of fear and anxiety, the result is usually destructive. Over time, decisions made out of fear result in loss of relationships, less joy, less hope, and MORE ANXIETY than before. The cycle needs to stop.
So, what is the key to stopping the cycle and refusing to be defined by fear?
Taking risks that challenge our stagnation.
Safe and purposeful exposure to our fear and anxiety is a primary tool for overcoming it. When we take risks, we often find that our greatest fears do not happen and we gain a greater sense of control. Fear tells us to avoid, defend, and distance ourselves resulting in missing out on many great things in life.
It is far better to pursue what we hope for because it is better to risk and fail than it is to remain a slave to our fear.
So, do you want to live from a place of courage? Start by identifying the things you hope for and what is holding you back. Learning what is fueling fear and anxiety is the first step in finding hope and courage. If you would like help in your journey to overcoming fear and anxiety, then please contact me at www.nathanaelreadmft.com or (530) 953-9363.
Nathanael Read, LMFT
448 Redcliff Drive, Suite 213
Redding, CA 96002
Nathanael Read, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, practicing in Redding, CA. He currently specializes in marriage therapy and couples counseling, working with couples in conflict or distress, and individual counseling for those affected by depression, anxiety, and trauma. His passion is to help clients DISCOVER HOPE in their lives. Contact Nathanael with questions or to set up your FREE 15 minute Consultation to learn how you may benefit from therapy today.