If you are scared of something, learn more about it

I love things that are counter-intuitive. Going toward something that scares you is definitely one of those things.

Here’s one of my favorite mottos: "If you are scared of something, learn more about it" - because it takes things one step slower. You don't even have to go towards it, you can just learn more about it.

Learning about something is painless. (Well, except for the psychological reactions the information can trigger but that’s just an opportunity for curiosity.) 

  1. Collecting data.

  2. Taking notes.

  3. Increasing awareness.

These are all steps that can feel more manageable when the mountain ahead of you feels daunting.

You might be clear on where you want to go. You might even be clear how to get there. But your meaning making - the messages you are telling yourself about the process and the end result - might be blocking you from getting there.

Your system is telling you that something feels unsafe and it is wired with one and only one task: survival. So while there is a part of you that wants to move past the wall of fear to the possibilities on the other side, another part of you wants to keep everything exactly where it is.

To stay safe in the familiar.

  • Notice those feelings

  • Honor their attempts to keep you safe

  • And then figure out one small step you CAN take without feeling overwhelmed

Learning more about a subject can be exactly that first step.

We know that different forms of exposure therapy are extremely effective in coping with many different kinds of fear. The version in our head is usually much scarier than real life. (Again, that protective part trying to prepare for even the most remote worst case scenario.)

Exposure therapies rest on this notion that once we take small manageable steps in the direction we know is healthy for us (but scary) then we increase our comfort and are ready for yet another step.

This applies to your journey. Think about what overwhelms your life right now - what would allow you to feel free if I could magically take it away. Now get curious. Learn more. See what it means to act. And take the step in the direction you want to go. Reward yourself and self soothe again. Now take another step. Keep going toward and forward!