Several key ideas for how to properly manage dysfunctional fear.
Fear is probably the emotion that most conditions us and that is behind many of our problems and habitual limits.
We have very common fears of loneliness, of losing, of taking risks, of not feeling loved, of rejection or suffering. Fear is also behind feelings such as guilt, insecurity, anxiety, anguish or even anger. However, the problem is not fear … but your way of managing and understanding that fear.
Fear is a useful emotion that serves us mainly to survive. When you talk about “negative emotions”, you are not really referring to the emotion itself but to how to manage and understand that emotion. It serves to protect you and be clear about your limits, and it is even common to educate children using fear as a strategy so that they are safe.
The problem is when fear tries to protect us from a situation that is really not dangerous and is only limiting your life. If you live with that kind of fear, it is a dysfunctional fear.
What is a dysfunctional fear?
When your way of understanding and managing your emotions leads you to dysfunctional fears (or anger, guilt, stress, anxiety, etc.), it means that those emotions are not helping you to grow, to know yourself better and to live with more well-being, but rather They are only limiting your life.
Dysfunctional fear is the basis of the vast majority of problems. Anger is a form of active fear (when you cannot avoid what scares you, you react with anger to try to be in control). Guilt is also a form of fear (since you fear the consequences for yourself or your self-image). Suffering, anxiety or anguish are also forms of fear (which create a more unpleasant physiological state for you … it is fear taken to a higher intensity).
How to overcome dysfunctional fear?
In certain moments of our life we want to live a process of profound change because there are situations or experiences that are repeated and are usually unpleasant, as if we were living in a circle from which we cannot get out.
This can happen to us both in personal life (family, couple, in relation to self-esteem, etc.) and in the professional field (in relation to ventures, projects, with the work team, etc.). Whatever the problem, dysfunctional fear is always behind those problems.
In the last 10 years I have accompanied as a psychologist and coach people from several different countries in very deep change processes. Sooner or later, whatever the process, people had to face certain fears in order to overcome them. However, the key was not to overcome those fears as if they were enemies (since they are part of oneself), but to understand their emotions in more depth and know how to manage them in a more functional way.
This is not something that can be achieved in a few days (with books, talks and other resources that are interesting but do not help to achieve a real change by themselves) but it is something that can be achieved in a series of weeks or a few months through a deep, committed and with the company that allows you to broaden your point of view and better understand that fear so that your emotions are on your side instead of against you.
This is really an emotion management process (also called “emotional intelligence”). It is not about following advice or tips, but about living a process of change where your emotions come to the fore and you know how to understand and manage them. Your fears, in reality, are only giving you information about yourself, and when you understand it, everything that happens to you will change.
An emotional training process
I invite you to visit empoderamientohumano.com, the online personal development school that I created to accompany people who want to live their change process with an expert company and from home and with freedom of schedules. At school you find a free program called Get Excited to Take Your First Steps, and also a 3-month deep change program.
How does a change process work to overcome fear? This personal evolution follows these steps:
1- Learn to understand your emotions
This is how you find out how you manage them now: in this phase it is about getting to know yourself better and answering key questions that help you deepen your emotions
2. Design an action plan that helps you manage your emotions differently
This is reflected in changes in relation to what you do, interpret and feel. From this moment you discover the relationship between your emotions and your beliefs, your way of communicating, your personal relationships, your work or your self-esteem.
3. Manage relationships
Finally, you learn to manage your emotions in a more functional way so that fear is far behind, and you internalize it in your life so that this change lasts forever.
In a few weeks the changes are already felt and after 3 months the fear is still there, but it no longer dominates your life. That’s the key: don’t fight your emotions, but understand them and have them on your side. Emotions are nothing more than your travel companions and the fundamental energy on which your behavior is based.