Newborn babies have only two fears: loud noises and falling. All of your other fears are the product of memory, the learning you glean from past experience.

Here's how I think it happens: as you get older, you extrapolate the idea of falling. Falling off a bike becomes synonymous with falling from a job (getting fired). Falling from stability (not being able to pay the bills). Falling out of favor (being rejected, ridiculed, embarrassed). Falling out of love (and into loneliness).

One of the most common recurring themes in dreams involves falling: off a cliff, off the roof of a tall building, even from the sky. Waking up terrified.

The pain of these fears is so uncomfortable, you're willing to invest a lot of energy trying to avoid repeating old hurts. But in your drive to protect yourself, you'll overcompensate and fall (pun intended) into these two mind traps: over-generalizing and exaggerating threats.

Mind trap #1: When you over-generalize, you'll superimpose the present situation over a previous experience. When one person betrays your trust, you'll assume that every future partner will behave the same way. All relationships are identical.

You can also over-generalize the link between vulnerability and pain. You'll conclude that emotional openness always leads to heartbreak. So to avoid a broken heart, you'll create the fear of being vulnerable in any future relationship.

You'll succeed in avoiding the painful experience of rejection and betrayal, but at the cost of the greatest joys humans can experience: deep connection and lasting intimacy. Which brings me to...

Mind trap #2: When you exaggerate a threat, the pain associated with the fear is way overblown. While the end of a relationship is sad, life without the possibility of love is meaningless. Every relationship teaches you how to love. So learn what you can and move on.

Trying to avoid pain by eliminating every danger is ultimately futile; a misguided use of your energy. Painful experiences fade into the background only when you choose to act from your true nature, which is love.

Shifting from fear to love is a gradual process of remembering, forgetting and then remembering again. For a few moments, a few days, or longer, you remember that you are a loving being, and your greatest power is love.

Then some old thought pops up, you forget who you are, and you find yourself scurrying around, trying to avoid fear.
At the root of every fear is a desire to fill unmet needs for security, comfort, esteem, and love. In this sense, fear is a confidence issue. Put another way, the more self-assured you are, the less you're impacted by fear.

As you move through these cycles, this technique is invaluable: As soon as you’re aware that you’re acting from fear, simply notice what you’re doing: listen to your tone of voice, and feel what's happening in your body. To become more aware, train your mind to be fully present in this moment.

Harvard professor Dan Gilbert has found that aimless thoughts occupy our minds 46.9% of the time. Another study has shown that up to 80% of our thoughts are negative, so it's easy to see where these unguided thoughts often wander off to. When you're more present, your mind won't wander into negativity.

Search your heart for the deepest truth you can find. When you anchor your thoughts in your truth, fear loses its chokehold. You'll notice it without being caught up in it. You've heard this before, but are you doing it consistently throughout your day?

Today's Coaching Question: What keeps you from practicing being more present in the moment?

Author's Bio: 

Judy Widener is a Certified Life Coach and author of Power For A Lifetime: Tools You Customize to Build Your Personal Power Every Day Of Your Life. You can sign up for Discovering Your Values, a 5-day e-course at no cost at Her passion is assisting her clients to discover what is most important to them, then to create more balance and satisfaction in their lives. She offers a comprehensive program that teaches clients simple ways to build their personal power and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams. Judy has coached more than 600 people over the past 13 years. Her website is