Nix a phobia with exposure therapy. Imagine the situation, bring yourself closer to it and force yourself to stay there. You'll see that you're not in danger and the anxiety will fade.
Giving exams and not knowing a single answer, that's my biggest fear. Just as I was about to write this feature, I had my worst nightmare. I was sitting for the Maths papers and my mind was blank—I didn't know a single answer. Thank God, I woke up! Like me, most women are tormented by all kinds of emotional demons: of being alone or not succeeding. Well, it's time to face your fears and walk away—free. "Fear dragons are the mental obstacles we create for ourselves, thereby limiting our achievement and stunting our self-confidence. They are the things you've convinced yourself you can't do because you're too young, old, fat, or not smart enough. And they're often so huge and terrifying, they overshadow any possibility of personal growth," says motivational guru Doug Hall, in www.eurekaranch.com. Here, we short-list five common fears and tell you how to overcome them.
Imagine a world where nobody likes you. Scary, right? Thing is, the more you think people don't dig you, the more convinced you'll be. You also end up isolating yourself from everyone around you. So, starting now, feel good about who you are. "When you fall in love with yourself, other people will too. When you have a clear vision of your greatness, it becomes visible to everyone around you," says Peter Colwell, author of Spell Success In Your Life. Look around you and look hard. Yes, we want you to realise that no one is perfect. Insecurities are part of the game, and life goes on. Think about your friends. Even if they're not as funny, cool or clever, don't you still adore them? As for others who think you're not worth knowing, too bad for them. You stay happy, girl!
Wearing a Bikini
A woman's wardrobe is incomplete without a sexy two-piece. But be honest, how many of you have actually worn yours? Once you wear it, all you see are the bulges, cellulite, stretch marks, pimply skin and other flaws. "Last year, I was all set for my Goa trip and bought the sexiest bikini ever. But when the time came for me to put it on, I didn't have the guts. I felt so self-conscious," says Vaishali, 25, store manager. Tsk, tsk, what a waste. It's time to stop obsessing about your imperfections and feel more secure in your skin. "The sad truth is that we hardly ever really look at ourselves in the mirror. Instead, we see the image of our fears—of how others perceive us, of not being someone else: someone thinner, younger and prettier. Simply look away," says Cosmo expert Irma Kurtz. Focus on your assets, not your faults. You may not have the best figure, but your skin could be like velvet; you may be flatchested, but your gams could be gorgeous.
People You Love Dying
Sometimes, late at night, you lie awake thinking about all the people you care for. What if one day, without a warning, they were to die and leave you? What would you do without them? How would you go on? Just the thought of losing someone close can leave you feeling helpless and dejected. Think of all the people who've gone through a terrible tragedy, and see how they've gone on in spite of the pain. They still laugh, go to work, watch funny flicks, and shop with their friends. Life is unpredictable, and you never know when a misfortune might come your way. When it does, take your time to grieve but at the same time, don't be afraid to move on. "When I lost my only brother in an accident, I was devastated. I would keep crying and didn't know how to deal with the pain. One day, a friend took me aside and told me that instead of crying, why not think of all the happy memories, all the good times that I shared with my brother, and feel happy. It really helped me and today, whenever I meet someone who has lost a close one, I pass on this advice," says Monika, 27, writer.
Butterflies in your tum, sweaty palms, shaky knees. Addressing a crowd can be a nerve-wracking experience for most of us. According to the Book Of Lists, speaking before a group tops the list of people's 10 biggest fears, beating out the fear of heights, insects, dogs, and even the fear of death. Well, guess what? It doesn't have to be so stressful any more. Write down what you're going to say, and focus on two or three main points. Everyone loves humour, so you can even try telling a funny story to connect with people. "It's important to know your material well. If you're not familiar or comfortable with it, your nervousness will increase, so practise your speech and revise it if necessary," says Deepak Menon, president, Toastmasters Club of New Delhi. Still not convinced that you can pull it off? Join the local Toastmasters Club in your city. Log on to www.toastmasters.org for details.
Nothing is more depressing than the thought of being alone—forever. Of never finding that special someone, and growing into an old, single maid. "I'm terrified of never finding the love of my life. I see all my friends getting married and I panic. I'm freaking out because I'm not getting any younger," says Meneka, 28, air hostess. Fear of staying single can make a woman desperate. "And nothing scares off men faster than desperation. Chase that ancient fear of being left on the shelf back where it belongs, to the era when women were seen, and saw themselves, as objects of use and convenience. We can be choosers now, not simply chosen," says Kurtz. So, instead of focussing on finding a man, concentrate on other areas like your career. Value your friendships, but most of all, your own company. There's nothing more attractive than a woman who's independent—a fun, fearless female who's not afraid to live life on her own terms.