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What's Hiding in Your Mind?

By Iain Legg

Would you consider yourself to be a fearful person? Most people would probably answer no to that question, yet fear is one of the most common hindrances that people struggle with today. The reason for this discrepancy may surprise you: fear can easily disguise itself as seemingly logical beliefs, thoughts and feelings so you may not even realize it's there.

Rather than using the word fear to describe their feelings, many people might choose words like doubt, concern, worry, anxiety, uncertainty, hesitation, apprehension, procrastination, distrust or unease.

Ultimately they mean the same thing as fear. There is a thought, feeling, belief, or possible outcome that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened and you will instinctively avoid things that make you feel that way. Here are some common fears that could be hiding in your mind:

Fear of Failure
If you have ever held back on a goal or avoided taking action that would lead to a positive outcome, you may have been fearful that you might fail. Fear of failure can be subtle because our minds can come up with endless excuses why it's not a good time to take a risk right now, or how the odds don't seem to be in our favor, and so on.

Fear of Success
It's hard to believe that anyone could be afraid of success (isn't success usually a good thing?) but it's far more common than you might believe. Most often it's not the success itself that people fear, but rather all of the responsibilities and uncertainties that come along with success. If you worry that you won't be able to handle these things, you will resist putting yourself in a position where you would have to face them.

Fear of Rejection
Fear of rejection is usually related to low self-esteem, but may show up in subtle ways. You may lash out at others when a possible rejection is imminent; sabotage relationships so you can be the one who rejects the other person instead of them rejecting you; or you may simply withdraw from social interaction to avoid the possibility of being rejected at all.

Fear of Not Being Good Enough
This is another fear that is connected to self-esteem, and it often affects everything you do in life. You may avoid making changes to improve your life; settle for a dissatisfying job that pays less money than you are capable of earning; or continuously sabotage your goals. If you don't believe you deserve to have better life circumstances you won't allow yourself to create them.

Once you have identified one or more of these fears, you can begin diffusing them with mind and body techniques that will calm your emotions, relax your body and get your thoughts flowing in a positive direction again. For most people this will be an ongoing process because our minds become conditioned to respond to fear stimulus and it will seem to happen automatically for some time. However, getting into the habit of addressing the fear in new healthy ways should set a new pattern to minimize the conditioned responses and even eliminate them over time.

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