Mark Twain said:
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."
Whatever it happens to be, overcoming a fear can be challenging, but when conquered, very liberating. Fear is an emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger and is usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight. It can be real, or imagined. It is certainly not always a bad thing. When fear serves as a warning signal for impending danger or a life-threatening situation, it is necessary and life preserving. If we didn't feel it in certain situations we wouldn't react appropriately and we'd put ourselves at great risk. If a fear is imagined or irrational, it can be paralyzing and hold us back from living life fully and productively. Many imagined fears, such as fear of rejection, looking foolish, or of failure are the types of fears we must learn to manage and overcome. If we let them control our lives, we would never venture forth or strive to become all that we can be. There are, of course, some fears that our having them, or not, doesn't affect our lives. For example, if someone has a fear of public speaking, yet has no need, intention, or desire to speak publicly; trying to conquer the fear is of no consequence. There is really no motivation, or need, to work on conquering it. If, on the other hand, the fear of public speaking will hold one back from progressing in their career, or getting ahead in any way, then it's time to work on getting rid of it.
Strategies for Overcoming Fear
1. Acknowledge the fear: Whether it's imagined or real, the first step in overcoming fear is to admit that it exists. We all have fears; it's human nature. Denying or ignoring them doesn't make them go away.
2. Analyze it: Where does it come from? Is it real or imagined? Can it be put in a different context? For instance if you think it through to its logical conclusion, what's the worst that can happen to you? Once you've determined what that might be, ask yourself if you can deal with, or overcome it. More often than not, once you go through the process of analyzing it, the fear isn't as scary as you originally imagined.
3. Face it: Allow yourself to feel it, and then do it anyway. Act in spite of your fear and treat is as a challenge for personal growth and an opportunity to become stronger.
4. Be persistent: Do the thing you fear over and over again. By doing it repeatedly it loses its power over you and you become less vulnerable to it.
5. Develop courage: Sometimes the answer may not be to conquer a particular fear; it may be to develop courage. If you focus too much on any one fear instead of trying to build courage, you may in fact, intensify it. By developing courage you build self-confidence and resilience. You also build a healthy approach towards facing all fear.