By Nicholas Smith, LPC

One of the biggest hindrances humans commonly face is fear, yet no other time in history have we been more safe. Compared to 100 years ago or currently in many other countries, Westerners have never been more protected from disease, famine and war. We don't worry about a bear attacking us as we stroll through the Forest Preserves nor does it cross our mind that our car will ambushed by bandits. We don't think about being murdered because of conflict between our clan and another. We in the modern western world have so much technology, security, experts, and opportunities to help us live very comfortable lives, yet now more than ever, we are overcome with fear.

At times, fear and anxiety rob us of desire and push us to focus primarily on our faults. This fault-focused lifestyle promotes disinterest in everything that doesn't feel safe, yet it's often expressed in ways we don't typically imagine it would. For instance, one who is struggling with their physical fitness might dismiss physical achievements such as; running a marathon, climbing El Capitan, or completing an Ironman as a useless waste of time. Other achievements such as going back to school for mental gratification or seeking out counseling for emotional stability are perceived in the same way.

Fear isn't always hostile towards things that better ourselves. It can also be completely debilitating. This sort of fear is always repeating, "You never can ____." "That would be impossible for a person like you." It's the voice in your head that encourages you to never take a risk, never change the status quo, to turn off the alarm and pull the covers back over your head.

A third way that fear can manifest is through control. We can have the tendency to imagine the worst case scenario for many of life's situations. Children growing up to be delinquents, spouse cheating on spouse or becoming financially unstable. To avoid the worst case scenario, some overcompensate with control; enforcing strict and rigid rules on a child, becoming untrusting of a spouse or penny pinching to the detriment of a social life.

What is your biggest fear? Are you able to identify it? What sort of steps are you taking to overcome it?

There is no better time than now to change the course of your life, and it starts with putting fear in its place!