Overcoming FEAR (False Expectations about Reality

Inspire a Fresh Beginning
There are many popular acronyms for the word "fear" but my favorite is "False Expectations about Reality."  This acronym is powerful because it reminds us that many of our worries are about future events that will never come to pass.  False expectations about future reality are obstacles to success.  They sap our energy and take our focus away from actions that would help us realize our dreams.
According to Psychology Today, each of us has between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts per day.  When the majority of these thoughts are negative, they can shape our mood, motivation and ability to succeed.
Here are some of the false expectations that used to run through my mind – do they sound familiar?
  • I'll never find a loving relationship that will last.
  • If I don't work harder, I'll lose my job.
  • Someday I'll end up homeless.
  • There's no use trying because I'll fail.
  • I won't succeed because I'm not good enough.
Motivational experts say that we need to stop false expectations from looping through our minds if we want our dreams to become a reality.  Once you become aware that these thoughts are not based on reality, you can begin to work on replacing them with positive thoughts and plans for actions.  Although we can't always control our moods, we can definitely control our thoughts.
To overcome false expectations that have become obstacles, you must first identify them.  Do you have persistent negative beliefs that are keeping you from realizing your hopes and dreams?  It may help to track your negative and fear-based thoughts for a few days to see how often they occur.  One way to do this is with a thought journal where you take stock of your negative thinking at the end of the day.  Pay particular attention to the number of times you focused on problems rather than solutions.  Also try to identify the triggers that set your negative thinking in motion.
Not all fear is based on false expectations.  Some fears are real and are based on circumstances that are grounded in reality.  These fears can force us to make decisions and take action.  How to differentiate between false expectations and real worries that are based in reality? Evaluate the probability of a fear coming true in the near future and decide if facing it will bring you closer to realizing your dreams.
Once you have a better understanding about your negative thoughts, replace worries about the future with positive thoughts that are based in the present.  For example, instead of thinking you will never be able to lose weight because you can't give up the fattening food that you love, begin to think of yourself as a healthy person who has a healthy diet and enjoys exercise.  It may seem silly to think this way when it's not true, but positive thoughts can have a powerful influence on the subconscious.  Over time, your new way of thinking will begin to control your actions and create a new reality.
Making lists of the good things in your life is another way to begin thinking more positively.  You'll find it easier to stay motivated when your thinking is inspired by positivity.  If you do encounter failure, learn to see it as a bump in the road rather than a roadblock.  It may slow you down, but don't let it stop you.
I was able to overcome many of my negative thought patterns by reading some of the literature about positive thinking.  The Power of Optimism by Alan Loy McGinnis was an important book for me.  Other authors who cover the subject of positive thinking include Martin Seligman, M. Scott Peck, Dale Carnegie and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (who many credit as the founder of the positive thinking movement).
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Catie Watson is a freelance writer from Huntington Beach, California. Catie's life experience provides her with a rich source of inspiration and expertise. She has studied fashion design and worked as a costumer in theater and on films. She is also a software engineer and was part of the team that developed the original attractions for EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World. Catie has published dozens of online articles on subjects as diverse as technology, fashion, design, family, business, fitness and camping. She has completed copy writing assignments for online stores, contributes to several blogs and has been published in magazines, including Runway and HERLIFE.


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