Life Skills - Six Keys to Conquering Fear

in Courage

My husband, Ed, and I had the privilege of touring Gettysburg Battlefield recently. It was ... indescribable. The words "awe-inspiring" don't begin to convey the feeling we had as we stood on the Confederate line. Across the fields - one mile of open ground - were the hills of the Union defense. And it was across those fields that Pickett and his brigade charged into enemy fire on the third day of the battle. The date was July 3, 1863. By dawn on Independence Day, Union troops had prevailed and the Battle of Gettysburg was over.

Courage - "action despite fear" - led those brave men into certain death. Commitment to their cause, whether right or wrong, drove them forward over the fallen bodies of their comrades. When the final day ended, General Lee and his army retreated, followed by the remainder of the Union troops. The civilians of Gettysburg - and volunteers from around the area - were left to deal with the wounded, dead and dying.

More than 52,000 men plus 5,000 horses and mules lay scattered across the 25-mile-wide, three-day battle site west of Gettysburg . Local citizens found their own brand of courage as they tended the wounded and buried the dead. Burials were still taking place just before President Lincoln arrived to dedicate the new National Cemetery nearly four-and-a-half months later.

The dictionary defines courage as "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear". I'm not sure that's true. Courage leads a person to act despite fear. With courage, we can learn to "do it afraid".

Courage takes many forms and intensities. Many of us are afraid to speak in public or fly in a plane. Others have never enjoyed a cruise vacation because they're afraid of water. Still others are afraid to start a business of their own, or learn a new skill. We tend to avoid situations that make us feel inadequate, uncomfortable or fearful.

Yet courage is exactly what you need to become your best self. It takes courage to follow your dreams. Life requires you to continually grow: learning, doing, becoming more than you are now, so that you can have more than you have now. The Universe rewards those who face their fears and move forward.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "you must do the thing which you think you cannot do".

What's holding you back? Your limitations and fears are self-inflicted. Fear is a subjective emotion. It's based on pre-conceived ideas and limitations you place on yourself. Often you are totally unaware of how those 'limits' have formed.

Millions of people fly daily, take cruise vacations, and speak in public. They run businesses and take classes. They do successfully the very things you fear. To live a free and successful life, you must learn to face your fears and conquer them.

Here are six steps to help you gain victory in your life:

1. Use your imagination. See yourself (from the safe haven of your sofa) doing the thing you fear. Create an image in your mind. Replay it often. Your subconscious doesn't know the difference between 'real' and 'imagined'. As you continually re-imagine the scene, you are building confidence and eliminating fear.
2. Use your voice. Tell yourself aloud that you can do/learn/be whatever you are focusing on. Words are powerful. Use them to create a new reality. Encourage yourself often.
3. Keep a journal. Record the victories and blessings in your life. If you have been successful in any area, you can be successful in others. Re-read your entries for inspiration and motivation.
4. Be grateful. Recognize the blessings in your life. Gratitude draws from the Universe more things to be grateful for. It's a wonderful cycle of blessing.
5. Discount the negative. Ignore the mind-chatter that tries to tell you 'no'. Use the previous steps to become yes-minded.
6. Take small bites. Develop a plan of baby-steps to help you face your fears. Break your BIG DREAM into small tasks. Do something every day that contributes to your goal. Then celebrate your progress.

Take courage and toss away fear. Dream big, step out, and savor the victory. You can do anything you set your mind to, if you apply courage and commitment.

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Ruth Seebeck has 1 articles online

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Life Skills - Six Keys to Conquering Fear

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This article was published on 2010/04/03