Love Self

Waiting for a Feeling? Part 2

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If you chose to face your fear wisely, then I send my congratulations to you. If you are still afraid, that is okay. When I said that courage comes once you face your fear, allow me to add a disclaimer. It doesn’t always come at one time. Sometimes it comes in small doses. When I was in college, they made me take a public speaking class. Being an introvert, I was not thrilled to stand up and speak in front of thirty or so students.

I had given presentations in grade school, and I disliked it then as well. But somehow this time it felt different, as the whole purpose of the class was giving me exposure to standing in front of people and speaking. This time around, I’d say I disliked it more than ever. I’ve heard it said that public speaking was one of the biggest fears people have. In fact, people who are great at it often make a lot of money. Since I was already working in the business world, I had many encounters with coworkers. As my responsibilities grew in the company, I saw the class as a beneficial thing to grant me much needed exposure to face my fear.

It was awful in the beginning. I got up in front and fumbled around with my words. Not only that, but my body language was totally inappropriate, and my eye contact was horrendous. It felt like those occasions when you know deep inside if you make eye contact with someone, it will bring about an undesirable action from the other person. With that in mind, eye contact was avoided at all costs. Even though I was embarrassed and disappointed in my performance, the next week I came back to do it all again. The same fear gripped me, but it seemed a little less this time.

The process of repeatedly facing my fear for weeks in a row led to the strangest thing happening. Somewhere along the way, my fear began to shrink at a faster rate. After getting through the encounter several times, I began to see it was not nearly as bad as I made it out to be in my mind. In our minds, the imagination runs wild if not kept in check. We plaster our brains with the question, what if, and it drives us into the depths of fear.

When your mind has new evidence to contradict what it previously saw as frightening, fear begins to lose its grip on you. By the end of the semester, speaking in front of people felt completely different than fifteen weeks prior. At my job, I later presented my ideas and projects with more confidence. I was already confident in my ability to do great work. However, when I lacked the confidence to openly share my ideas, others were not as confident in accepting them.

If you are trying your best to face something difficult, keep at it. It takes work and perseverance to overcome something that scares you. But when you do, it builds confidence in ways that not much else can. Part of life is experiencing hurt and then dealing with the pain that comes afterward. If we are not careful, the pain can be so strong that we chose to avoid what caused it in the first place. The possibility of what could be is then lost from that moment on. Don’t give in to fear like that. Instead, show it who is the boss!

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