Everyone is afraid, even just a little bit, but usually far more than we admit. We’re afraid of the unknown, of death, of failure, of realizing that we’ve been living incongruent to our deepest needs and wants in life. At our core we all have people we admire and wish to emulate, we all imagine versions of ourselves that we wish we could be, we all dream of lifestyles we wish we had, and we all hope to live a life that we’re profoundly proud of, but rarely do most of these things come to fruition in most people’s lives.
In this article I’m going to talk about why you should stop ignoring the feeling of emptiness that everyone holds inside them and instead shine light directly onto your deepest insecurities, fears, and baggage holding you back from your best life.
It’s Time to Be Real
We as humans are highly skilled in rationalizing anything and we can be extremely stubborn when it comes to admitting our failures. Allowing yourself to admit, accept, and clearly analyze your past failures can be very painful and uncomfortable, which is why people will go to great lengths to avoid those uncomfortable truths.
The thing is, in order to grow, improve, learn from our mistakes, and change ourselves we must first allow ourselves to admit our mistakes, to be okay with and find peace with the fact that they happened, and we must be able to look with open eyes and an open mind at where we went wrong. This is how we learn and change. In order to do this, though, we need to drop all of our defensiveness and completely let go of our ego and our attachment to our social image.
As soon as we let go of our ego and drop our facade, what we’ve truly wanted all along tends to come rushing back to us. We forget what is truly important to us for a long time until we finally allow ourselves to see and accept reality.
When we remember what was truly important to us, we can begin to identify areas in our life that we want to improve, who we want to be, and what things we want to experience.
A simple example could be an adult who is terrible at speaking publicly, but because he is so ego attached he gets defensive and is unable to accept criticism and admit that he could use some help and improvement. So instead he continues to delude himself and neglect his professional development.
Overcoming Your Fears
The reason why we go to such lengths to avoid facing the reality of ourselves is because we fear vulnerability and we fear failing at our attempts to learn from our failures and we fear the self-responsibility that we must carry. Once you’ve realized that your failures have no bearing on your self-worth and instead see them as opportunities to learn and improve, you can finally begin taking steps to overcoming your fears.
Step 1: You must acknowledge and accept that for anything that you want to improve about yourself, you must purposely target and attack your weaknesses. This means scheduling times throughout your week DEDICATED to working on what you want to improve. Improvement never comes from hoping or wishing for it, something must be done about it.
Step 2: List out absolutely everything you can think of that you wish was better about yourself and your life. Now list out rough ideas for what you can do to improve those things. For example, if you want to improve at public speaking, set aside 30 minutes 3 times a week to speak off the cuff on a random topic or even consider investing in a coach.
Step 3: Schedule in your personal growth commitments and stick to the plan. Set measurable goals for each week to improve on and utilize methods of getting feedback on your performance. For example, continuing with the public speaking example, you could set goals to be more charismatic, to have a more projecting voice, to be funnier, or to be a compelling story teller. And to keep track you could record yourself and watch yourself so you could see clearly where you want to improve and change. This process is initially very uncomfortable, but after awhile it becomes addicting as you see the improvements in yourself.
Step 4: Pay close attention to your emotional state and your physical responses to situations that you find yourself in. Whenever you find yourself nervous, overthinking, and hesitant towards something, ask yourself: Why am I nervous? And ask yourself, if this were your last day on earth would you still act that way?
This could be about speaking up, approaching a stranger, being authentic, or going after what your heart truly desires. If that “thing” wasn’t a big deal then you wouldn’t be nervous. The reason you’re nervous is because it matters to you and because you know deep down it’s what your heart craves. Use your fear as a compass. Everything you’re nervous about, move towards it. What you’ll find is that in those moments where you do take action in the face of fear is when you feel the most alive and enthusiastic.