How to Overcome Your Fears

Oct 09, 2022

Summary:

In this training, I share with you an understanding of how and why humans experience fear plus how to take steps to overcome even your biggest fears.

We explore:

  • What is fear (the science) and why do humans experience fear?
  • Where do our biggest fears come from?
  • A personal story of one of my biggest fears and overcoming it
  • How to take steps to overcome your fears

Full Transcript 

Introduction

Beautiful humans, welcome to another episode of Become Unlimited with Jonathan Perez, where every week we discuss what it really means to live an unlimited life. And this week, I want to talk to you about fear, how to understand it, so you can ultimately overcome it. I always say that you can't overcome something or you can't master something unless you first understand it, and that's something that has been massively impactful for me in my life, because a lot of times, I would want to do certain things or overcome certain things, but I didn't have the knowledge, I didn't have the understanding to truly be able to really overcome it and master it. So, what I want to do with you in this video is share with you an understanding of fear and how it manifests in our lives and the purpose of it, and where it comes from. And then, ultimately, how you can also overcome it, so you can master it and not let it hold you back any longer.

What Is Fear and Why Do We Experience It? 

So, let's begin with understanding fear. All of us as human beings have, programmed very deeply into our subconscious, which science says is about 95% of who we are, we have a program that is called "the fear instinct" or "the survival mechanism," if you will. That is meant to keep us alive, that is meant to scan the environment at all times for any perceived threats that might threaten the survival of our body, or of us, ultimately. So fear, any time it's present in your life or you're feeling it, what that means is, it means that your survival mechanism is online, meaning that in some way, shape or form, you are in the fight or flight response. Now that comes from something that is called the sympathetic nervous system, and that's part of our autonomic nervous system. And what that simply is, it's the part of our body, of our brain, of our nervous system that ultimately serves us in scanning the environment for any perceived threats, so it then can send the appropriate response and chemicals into the body for us to fight, run away or hide from some perceived threat, and that ultimately manifests as fear, so that you can prepare to run away from the thing. It's a signal that there is some threat in the environment, and that's the sympathetic nervous system, again, part of the autonomic nervous system doing its job to keep the body alive, that's all it is. So then the perceived threats in our environment, eons ago, used to be the T-Rex chasing us or the saber-tooth tiger chasing us, and nowadays, of course, it's very much, very different.

And it might mean taking a step into an unknown place in your life, it might mean the emails from those people that keep triggering you in the same way, it means being afraid of what people think of you. And people are so afraid of so many things nowadays, but what's happening here is that those are only perceived threats, and what I've learned in my experience is that the more I begin to face those perceived threats or things that I used to think were real threats to my survival, the more I began to face those, the more that my nervous system, that my body began to understand that there actually wasn't really a threat, it was all... That's why I keep using the word perceived, because it's just perceived threat, it's not a true threat. Now, a lot of that has to do with the way that we were raised, the things that we saw as children, that programmed into us the things that we are subconsciously afraid of. So, one way to think about that is, people are afraid of, for example, public speaking. Where do they get that from?

Where does that come from? There's many explanations that we can go down, but point being that at some level, they might have experienced something as a child that then programmed into their subconscious, into their nervous system that speaking in front of people is not safe, and if you speak in front of people, you might die. That is ultimately the belief, the underlying belief that is then manifesting as fear and holding the person back from becoming, let's say, a great public speaker. Now, that can be many other things, I give the example of public speaking, because that's the one that I have to overcome. I'll give you the example. I remember in college, I took the most introductory class of public speaking, and they simply asked us, they said, "Hey, just bring a couple items of food and just walk us through the steps of how you would make something." Very straightforward. And I remember very clearly when I was in front of that class, maybe about 20 to 30 people, I was stuttering, I could not speak, I was sweating bullets, and I literally felt like I was about to pass out, to die almost, essentially. I was about to pass out. I felt, "Woah, I need to stop doing what I'm doing, because I just feel very nauseated and I don't feel well." And the body was signaling to me through the manifestation of fear that there's something very wrong here, and this might result in ultimately death. That's the way that it manifests. It's very dramatic, but it simply wants to protect you, it wants to keep you alive. But what I did not have during that time was an understanding of what fear was, an understanding of how that manifests, an understanding of my nervous system and how that survival mechanism kicks on and puts me in that fight or flight or hide mode, and then how I can begin to override that and teach my body that there's not actually a threat.

So now that I have that understanding that I'm sharing with you, we can face things in our life that we know are likely not going to hurt us, like for me, standing in front of a crowd now, I can work with that and I worked so much to overcome it, and the way I do that is to actually face the thing that I feared the most. Now, you've probably heard of this many other ways, in different places, that in order to overcome your fear, face your fears. And there's a lot of truth to that, but what I want to suggest to you is to do that in small steps, because if you do too much at once, it actually almost creates a traumatic experience and it creates even more fear and it becomes a little bit harder for us to actually overcome it.

How to Overcome Fear and Master It

So I'm going to pause there with the understanding and then move into how to overcome it, because it's very straightforward in a sense. Now, it's not easy. It's simple, but it's not easy. But the most simple way to understand how to overcome the fear, then, when you know what the fear response is and where it's coming from, is to know, "Okay, how do I overcome fear? Well, I know first of all, that when I experience fear, it's simply coming from a place or a perceived threat in my environment that my body thinks might cause some harm to me." Alright? "So if I fear then maybe, let's say... Some people actually fear driving, fear of driving, and they actually are afraid to hop in the car and go drive somewhere. Now there's nothing wrong with that, it's not about judging anybody here, but I just want to give that example of how you might overcome that. And this might be, for example, a lot of teenagers who've never driven in their life, and they're wanting to master driving so they can get out there and do stuff.

So, to overcome it then, do you think it would make sense to say, "Okay, get in the car and go on the highway right now, so you can overcome it." Especially if they've never driven before, it might not be the smartest idea. So, how might I begin then? Okay, well, if we want to overcome it and begin to teach the body and our nervous system that it's okay, that we're actually safe and that we can override that survival mechanism, we would say, "Alright, let's get in the car and let's turn it on first," and then the body might get agitated, you might get agitated and you feel that, and then you begin to breathe and just notice the experience happening, and then the car is on and then the body starts to realize, "Oh, we're still alive."

Okay, step one. Step one of however many steps it takes, okay? It takes a lot of patience here. And then step number two might be, "Okay, step two, let me turn the car on. Car is on, I'm going to put it into gear." Whoom! You feel the response again, you feel that fear and all the thoughts coming in, and then you just notice, you just observe them and you stay there, and then eventually, the body, if you just allow that experience to subside, the body says, "Oh, we didn't die. We're actually okay, and the car is in gear, and the car is on. Interesting." Step number two. Then step number three, you put it into reverse and you back up to the street very slowly, stepping on the gas a little bit. Again, the experience begins to happen, fear manifests, you allow the experience to happen, you let it subside, nervous system in the body says, "Wow, you didn't die, we're actually okay."

Alright, can you see now how we're progressing here and overcoming it? And then step number four, you put it into drive and then you slowly begin to step on the gas and you start to go 10 miles an hour, 15 miles an hour, just down the street. And then maybe you hit the break and you stop, and because the experience is happening and the fear is happening again. And then in that moment, you just have the experience, you're with it, you let it subside and the nervous system and the body says, "Wow, you actually put it in drive. You drove a little bit and you didn't die. Everything's okay. Alright."

So there's no reason to bring on the fear response then, because now we know that there's no real threat here. And I want you to notice that this is how we begin to train ourselves to overcome the things that we fear, by facing them, small steps at a time, to train ourselves that it's okay, that it's safe. The next step then would be to put it into drive and then to go out onto the actual street with other cars potentially, at your own pace. There's no rush here, we have to work with our experience. And then I want you to know and imagine that over time, if you keep doing this and you keep doing this, you override the fear, you overcome it until you master it, and next thing you know, this person is driving on the highways, on the freeways, without any thought of fear, fully comfortable. Why? Because they've trained their body and their nervous system to understand that there is no real threat to their survival. So I want you to translate that example of driving into anything else that you might be fearing at this moment in your life. What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of doing? Because ultimately, there's something inside of you that's saying, "Hey, don't do that because you might experience pain," or, "You might die if you do that." Ultimately, that's the ultimate fear, but if you can begin to slowly face it and overcome it, similar to the example I just gave you with driving, I promise you that you can truly master fear by training yourself to know that there really is not anything to fear, and that you can overcome that survival mechanism by training your body and your nervous system.

Recording this video, being in front of people, speaking, was not possible for me at one point because I was so afraid of what others thought of me, and I would feel the fear manifest and I would just shut down. But I slowly began, just like the example of driving, facing it and facing it, and ultimately, I can feel relaxed, calm and awake, knowing that there truly is nothing to fear. So I trust that you can translate this and apply it to any area of your life where you feel you're being held back by fear. Recognize what is the fear, and how can I begin to expose myself slowly to teach my brain, my body, my nervous system, that there is nothing to truly fear here, and that I can overcome it? And I promise that you will begin to master fear and a new level of confidence, of energy, of empowerment will come online for you.

Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for watching. Send me a DM on Instagram, @jonathanperez.life, with what resonated, or if you have any questions, I would love to connect. Thank you for tuning in. Until next time, much love.

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