The Many Faces of Fear

Arguably, fear is our greatest motivator, de-motivator and influencer of decisions and behaviours. In many ways, it shapes our existence. For better or worse. We are constantly doing and not-doing things because of fear. And while some of our fear is conscious (I don’t like spiders, therefore I’m not crawling under the house), most of it operates and influences at a subconscious level. That is, we do things automatically which we don’t necessarily realise are rooted in fear. And while some fears are rational, healthy and positive (I’m too scared to walk home alone late at night), others can be irrational, unhealthy and negative (I’m too scared to explore my passion for music because I might suck).

See if any of the following manifestations of fear resonate with you and if, per chance, you have a light bulb moment (or ten) don’t panic, don’t throw a pity party and don’t beat yourself up. Self-loathing is pointless and destructive but self-awareness on the other hand… much better. Acknowledge what is (and isn’t) and commit to doing what’s required to create shift in your world.

Procrastination. Constantly putting things off can be a sign that we’re scared of change, hard work and/or discomfort.

Over-thinking. Analysis paralysis. We over-think because can’t control everything in our world and we can’t be certain of other people’s intentions, actions, reactions or thoughts. We are constantly dealing with unknowns and they make us nervous. If not, paranoid. We like certainty but in an uncertain world, that’s not always possible.

Self-doubt. What if I’m not talented, smart, pretty, thin, sexy, funny, qualified, rich, tall, young (etc.) enough? Some people will waste time, talent and opportunities (year after year) because they suffer from acute ‘I’m-not-good-enough-itis’.

Avoidance. We avoid things that we know we should deal with because of fear. Fear of failure, rejection, embarrassment, death, pain… and much more.

The need to belong. The thought of being alone can be terrifying. And sometimes, in our desperation to belong to something or someone, we attach ourselves to individuals, groups or organisations that we should avoid. And by the way, before you’ll be ‘good enough’ with anyone else, you first need to be good enough (healthy, functional, stable, secure, rational, content) on your own.

People pleasing. The term ‘People Pleaser’ is a euphemism for emotional and social doormat.

Compromising. Some compromising is necessary. But that’s not we’re talking about here. We’re talking about the other kind; the kind where we compromise our standards, values, beliefs, self-worth and even our own happiness. People pleasers are great at it.

Addiction to comfort. Wow, this is massive in our culture. And sadly, it’s one of our biggest barriers to growth, learning, empowerment and physical health. So many people are scared of anything that takes them physically, mentally or emotionally out of their comfort zone. Pity; it’s where the great stuff happens.

The need to be right. Or, closed-mindedness. Anyone spring to mind? Some people’s compulsion to be right stems from their fear of not being the smartest, most powerful, most ‘right’ person in the room. Which ultimately comes back to their desire to control, manipulate and/or impress. We also see this need with people who have inhabited a certain political, cultural or religious mindset for a long time when they are confronted with a different philosophy, opinion or paradigm.

Lying. Not all lying is a by-product of fear but a lot of it is. We often lie because we’re scared of what people will think, do, assume and say if they really know what’s going on beyond the public facade.

Obsessing over our physical appearance. Surely I don’t need to explain this do I?

Light bulb? :)

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Cathy S December 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I opened the metaphorical fridge and a light came on!
What inspires you to continue to write like this Craig? What prompted you to begin in the first place? Did you have friends and family that spurred you on, that helped you to step out?

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Craig December 29, 2013 at 7:30 am

Hi Cathy, I share the messages that are important to me and think might be valuable to others. My business partner (Johnnie) actually ‘built’ this site for me about 8 years ago as he thought I might enjoy blogging. He was right. :)

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Cathy S December 29, 2013 at 11:13 am

Johnnie sounds like a keeper :)

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Cathy S December 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Another question, if I may Craig. Why is it that it seems some people are more able to push past their fears than others?

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Craig December 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

That’s an entire article Cathy but on some level to comes down to emotional and psychological leverage.

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Cathy S December 29, 2013 at 11:15 am

Sounds like an interesting article. Will look forward to reading it! ;)

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Blossom December 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Compromising; “the kind where we compromise our standards, values, beliefs, self-worth and even our own happiness.” Light bulb moment, (and yes, I tend to be a people pleaser!).
Cheers to a “better” 2014.

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Craig December 29, 2013 at 7:32 am

Good for you Blossom :)

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chebbieanne December 28, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Can some one actually be afraid of being too successful? I was pondering this thought today and although it seems non sensical it sort of made sense. Do we need something to be afraid of and if none of the usual stuff applies then we go with this one. The alternative thought was if you actually enjoy the struggle, the self discipline, the physical work etc do you just not want it to end. I don’t mean in the the whining self pity sort of failure to reach goals way but more in the self satisfying overcoming challenges way to strive towards the goals continually whilst not letting yourself quite get there.
Of course had I not worn those three inch high heels and walked the city streets for eight hours yesterday, leaving the balls of my feet a mass of blisters the size of lunar craters, I may not have had the opportunity to sit in quiet contemplation today unable to move around much. Maybe I needed some off legs recovery days this week to emotionally prepare for January 1st.

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Craig December 29, 2013 at 7:35 am

Chebbieanne, maybe we’re afraid of what we think ‘success’ might bring with it… jealousy, resentment, unwanted attention, pressure, expectation, people trying to take advantage… hmmm… :)

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chebbieanne December 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Thank you. Sometimes a light bulb moment is more a star burst. When I asked what success means to me I realised that is not the issue but rather what my success means to others. When Aristotle wrote the “Aim of Man” he discussed the highest good. This became a core belief for me. The belief you should lead those you care about but you cannot leave them behind has been my sticking point. Work in progress indeed.

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berni December 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm

yes….very insightful………we are practically all the same aren”t we…….thanks craig once again for confronting us with all of the above……..again it’s commitment to achieving a NEW result…and I am like the tortoise..not the hare…getting there…and pleased so far

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Geoff Jowett December 30, 2013 at 10:44 am

In Brazil bro
Solo tour.

Adventure. !! :-) )

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Craig December 30, 2013 at 11:15 am

Giddy-up Geoffro. :)

Jealous. :(

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