Overcome Fear: Building Confidence and Trust

The key to overcoming fear is not seeing yourself as powerless, even in the face of unavoidable calamity. Otherwise, you might as well find a quick way out of such a ruthless and painful existence.

It is helpful here to differentiate between powerlessness and empowerment. To feel powerless is a common human experience because there are some things you obviously have no control over. However, even in situations where you feel such impotence, you can still empower yourself to take positive action and choose a positive direction. Each and every human has a choice in how they respond to suffering.

Suffering is unavoidable. But you can choose your attitude. You can choose to see the unconditional meaning in all of the suffering your experience. Even in the extremely difficult situations you face, you have the opportunity to grow spiritually, taking difficulties as a test of your inner strength. You can find inner strength by looking to some future goal, which allows you to rise above the sufferings of the moment as if they were already in the past. Suffering ceases to be suffering the very moment you find meaning.

There is opportunity in suffering. You have the opportunity to accept the challenges you are faced with, to be proud of your struggles and suffer bravely. The decisions you make are your responsibility and you chose how to interpret your suffering. You can chose to find meaning in it, to use your suffering by turning a tragedy into a triumph, by seeing a hopeless situation as a growth experience. Yet, if you choose to obsess and worry about past and future misfortune, you’ll most certainly create a life filled with discomfort, anxiety, fear, and frustration.

If this way of thinking goes unchecked, it snowballs and you become plagued with negative thoughts and emotions. Eventually there is no room for your natural state of peaceful mind. If, on the other hand, you turn your mind in a different direction, you create the space for peace to emerge. It is not unlike tending a garden, where you diligently pull the weeds you don’t want and water the plants you wish to grow.

Some ways you can begin to trust your judgment would be to:
• Give yourself credit for making successful judgments in the past. You can build on your past successes. Your mind may be quick to criticize your mistakes, but very slow to validate your success. If you cannot acknowledge your own achievements, you look to others for approval. This means you give control over what is a success, control over your self worth, over your confidence to other people. When you look to others for approval, they control your confidence. You cannot build on you success and develop confidence. Instead, you can choose to say, “I did that. I got it done and I made it happen.” That is not conceit, it is not “smug self satisfaction.” It is confidence. It is validating your efforts to face a difficulty and get through it the best you can.

• You can replace your self-critical thoughts with more realistic ones, such as: “My judgment is good enough that I got though this. I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. My mistakes only prove that I am an imperfect human. I am loveable and worthwhile regardless of the outcome. It would be nice if others recognized my efforts. But that is only a preference.”

• You can remind yourself that “imperfect judgment, a mistake, is not the end of the world. You have made many good decisions and have made mistakes before. You are more than the sum of your success and mistakes. Your performance will vary from day to day, hour to hour and you can separate your performance from who you are as a human. You are not worthless even if make mistake. Doing badly never makes you a bad person — only imperfect. You have a right to be wrong. You can separate the rating of your behavior from the rating of yourself. You have put up with disappointments all your life; you can tolerate this one too. Not getting your way is disappointing and inconvenient, which you deal with on a daily basis, In order to achieve pleasant results, you often have to do unpleasant things. Yes, it is a pain to do this now, but it will be much harder if you do it later.”

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Shared by: Aaron Karmin, LCPC, Contributing Blogger

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