3 Fears that Hold Us Back (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 257)
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
— Francis Chan
Fear can be both healthy and dangerous. In one regard, it is a critical response to physical and emotional danger. Without this type of fear, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate dangers and threats. But the other type of fear is the kind that holds us back from reaching our goals. It causes us to avoid opportunities that are good for us and avoid situations in which we feel people will think ill of us. Overcoming fear is a skill anyone can learn.
Here are 3 fears that often hold us back and why we shouldn’t let them:
1. The Fear of Change
We live in a fast-paced, rapidly evolving, progressively transformative society. But too many people fear what is on the other side of change. Change often comes when we least expect it yet when it is most needed. Change is more often than not, very uncomfortable, even painful. It induces consequences and results. It urges us to either rise to a challenge or shrink back because the effort to make something different would be too much.
Whether we like it or not, change is a necessary, inevitable part of our every day existence. But many people fear change and that results in an internal battle between what is and what should be. Fearing change causes one to remain stuck and stagnant with things they way they are. Even if it’s a bad situation, people are content to stay right there because doing anything else would incur too much effort. Thus, many people miss out on very good opportunities because they have immunized themselves to change.
2. The Fear of the Unknown
What if I don’t get to my destination? What happens if I fail the test? How will my friends see me if I’m not married by 30? What if I don’t get into the college of my dreams? What if I don’t like my new location, my new job, my new partner? What if? Why? How? All of these questions that bombard our minds when we set out on a new or challenging venture target the unknown. They make us feel uncertain, because, well, everything that is in the next minute of life is uncertain and unknown. And there’s really nothing we can do about that.
We are quick to judge and fear the unknown. But the unknown is where all our dreams and goals and achievements lie. You never know what is on the other side until you venture out in that direction. You never know how good you are at something until you actually start doing it. The unknown does not cause fear. Fear arises from our thoughts and is nothing more than a mental, and sometimes emotional, obstacle that we create for ourselves. What we don’t fear, we conquer. And it is in not knowing that we discover the things we were meant to accomplish.
3. The Fear of Incompetence.
At one point or another in all of our lives, the idea will cross our minds or the words will roll off of someone else’s lips that we’re just not good enough. That we’re not worthy of doing something great. That we’ll never be who we dream of becoming. If you feed into that negativity, you will eventually grow to think that you are inadequate. And when opportunities present themselves to you, you will reject them out of fear of inadequacy. Many things never get done because people feel they just aren’t good enough to do them.
People who feel incompetent in their abilities tend to overcompensate for these fears by trying to be a perfectionist. Internally, they feel they aren’t good enough so they attempt to be absolutely good at everything they do which in turn leads to anxiety and leaves them feeling dysfunctional. They never live up to their own standard of achievement because they are continuously plagued by the thought that they don’t measure up to being as good as someone else.
“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will.”
— W. Clement Stone