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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