Does fear immobilise you? Or does it motivate you to act? Maybe it causes you to run away and hide!
Lots of blokes are heroes or aspiring heroes. For many a would-be superhero there is generally little room for fear and certainly little room to express fear.
Fear is one of those well hidden emotions.
Blokes like to see themselves as strong, fearless and courageous. Unfortunately this may set us up for failure when our unpredictable lives sometimes create worry or anxiety.
Many men struggle to accept fear. Consequently they push down their feelings leading to a heightened sense of anxiety, anger and frustration.
Fear, from time to time, is a necessary emotion that alerts us to the need to look after ourselves.
Men are not immune to this.
What do men fear?
Whilst many guys are reluctant to admit their fears openly, in my experience men’s fears are associated with a variety of things including:
Losing what you have
Not measuring up
Can fear prevent growth and change?
Sometimes fear can hold us back. Below are some ways this can happen.
We set easier goals and do less than we are capable of.
Our defences fool us into thinking we have good reasons not too change.
Our observations of life can be distorted in terms of how we can make it better.
We don’t ask for help when we most need it or could benefit from emotional support.
We prevent ourselves from being assertive therefore we settle for things instead of pursuing what we really want and need.
In calming our fears we get stuck in unhealthy habits and behaviours.
We give up just short of our goal.
We avoid taking risks.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these?
How to manage fear
Facing fears in our daily life requires strong emotional awareness and skill.
For example, learning to slow down and process fear is a great challenge for blokes in particular who are more tempted to jump into problem solving or fixing too quickly.
Here are a few ideas.
Give the feeling of fear a word (or three!), or any image or descriptive terms that make sense to you.
Fear may also be combined with other feelings. For example look out for anger or anxiety when feeling scared.
The task is to describe these feelings. What do they sound like in your head? Where do you feel it in your body?
Remember, your fear is an important emotion. It’s a signal to look after yourself.
Accepting fear does not mean you have to like it. Recognise that fear is normal and necessary for change.
Remind yourself you can get through this and you will be stronger for it. Try not to abandon or reject yourself. Let someone know what’s going on for you.
If fear, worry or anxiety is very strong, count to 10. Breathe and be calm. Take some deep breaths and breathe out slowly.
Developing slow, calming breathing helps to regulate the brain.
When you have stepped through these first steps you are more likely to feel calm, focused and clear enough to begin to make sense of what you need to do next.
Focus on what you can control and decide what action you want to take.