Conquering fear is the beginning of wisdom - Bertrand Russell

Most of us have felt it at one time or another. That sense of being overwhelmed or feeling of dread as we face a task, situation or problem.  Then, due to feeling this way we procrastinate facing or doing the things that we perceive as creating that sense of dread. It becomes a vicious cycle since procrastination only makes the “pile” of overwhelming tasks or situations grow larger.

So what’s an overwhelmed person to do?

I used to experience these feelings of overwhelm and dread but not any longer.
Let me share with you how I managed to conquer such negative emotions.

My sense of dread seemed to be especially associated with the position I held with the company I worked for at that time. I nearly always felt inadequate to the tasks before me and therefore hesitated to perform many of them or procrastinated. I realize now that I was experiencing the kind of fear that leads to paralysis.

Then one day I heard a discourse on overcoming fear. I will never forget the statement that turned everything around for me: The feeling of dread or being overwhelmed usually stems from the belief that we are not competent or capable of successfully meeting the challenge at hand. This belief leads to a sense of powerlessness, fear and eventually paralysis”.

Hearing this statement was a true “ah-ha” moment for me. I realized almost instantly that I had permitted the opinions of others, people who were not my friends and who were more than likely speaking and acting out of jealousy over my position and the things I had accomplished, to influence or mold how I perceived myself. Conjoined to this realization was another incredible awareness. I realized that what others think or say about me was not accurate, and more importantly, not relevant.

When I realized the profound truth of the words that I just heard I could see at that very moment that I was a very capable person and adequately qualified to deal with the situation and tasks that only a few moments before gave me that overwhelming sense of dread.

When feeling that sense of dread and fear it is so important to see the situation as it truly is and not through the eyes of self-imposed inadequacy. Permitting the negativity of others to dominate your spirit thus not permitting the sense of competence and capability you would otherwise possess is self-destructive and can lead to paralysis.

Discarding the false belief that you are not capable of successfully dealing with the situation frees you from feelings fear and dread. You move from feeling trapped by such feelings to transcendence. Once this occurs, you are able to see more easily the strategies, ideas and actions you can implement to successfully address those things that were within your capabilities all along.

Go ahead! Try it! Transform your dread into success. You are capable. Don’t let negative personalities lead you to believe you’re not. When you find that sense of relief that transcending these brings, you will wonder why you ever permitted yourself to feel that way in the first place.

Jeannie Higginbotham, RN, BSN