Fear is a basic human emotion. Everyone experiences fear at least one point in their lives. But if you’re like me, or basically anyone else on the planet, it’s probably a lot more than once. While fear in and of itself is not inherently bad, after all, its primary purpose is to keep us alive by making us avoid dangerously or “scary situations”, it can be bad when you overindulge. Thanks to the advent of modern conveniences and medicines, many of our primal fears are null and void. But what scares us now is not just simply fire or huge animals. We fear just about everything as a society. It’s time we stop letting fear run rampant and take back control of our lives!
What is Fear?
Fear, by definition, is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. Fear is a basic human instinct designed to protect our well-being. It can take many forms, but there are only 5 basic types of fears that all other fears stem from.
- Fear of extinction– fear of annihilation, ceasing to exist, or death.
- Fear of mutilation– fear of losing any part of our physical bodies, having our physical bodies’ boundaries invaded, loss of any natural function.
- Fear of loss of autonomy– fear of being immobilized, paralyzed, having a situation out of our control whether physically or emotionally.
- Fear of separation– fear of rejection, abandonment, not wanted or respected by others.
- Fear of ego-death– fear of humiliation, shame, loss of ones’ lovability.
From these 5 basic fears, we fabricate our other fears around us that directly impact the way we act and react on a daily basis. As mentioned before, fear is not necessarily a bad thing. There is a difference between good and bad, healthy and unhealthy fear. Possessing a healthy amount of fear is what keeps us safe and productive. But what happens when we allow fear to overcome us on a daily basis?
What many people have now coined “stress” is in actuality, not stress, but fear. When we become prisoners of stress or fear, our quality of life severely suffers. It leads us to make poor decisions and leads us to unhappy results.
5 Signs Fear is Running Your Life
If you think you may have an issue with fear dictating the path of your life, before you can do anything to fix it, you must first recognize it. As always, the first step is identifying you have a problem. Here are 5 signs that fear may be running your life on a daily basis.
One of the most obvious signs that fear is running your life is if you have a perpetual quest for perfection. Perfectionism stems from the fear of failure, rejection, or criticism. In order to avoid “not being good enough”, you perpetually self-sacrifice in the name of trying to be perfect. We believe that if we do everything perfectly, we’ll receive the love and accolades we desperately desire.
Settling is another red flag of fear. You may desire more, but the fear of taking risks prevents you from upsetting the balance of the way things currently are, even if you’re not happy. Whether it’s settling for a job you don’t like, a relationship you’re not happy in, or even just not daring to venture outside of the known, settling is not being a realistic person, but one full of fear.
Inability to say NO
Another sign that fear is, in fact, running your life is being afraid to use that two letter word that most one-year-olds know, “NO!”. Being incapable of expressing no is a classic fear based action. Whether you don’t want to upset someone else or you don’t want to appear cold or shrill, not being able to say no hurts no one else besides YOU.
I can relate to this specific sign of fear more so than any other. Becoming paralyzed in a situation is one of the most glaring signs that fear is behind the wheel and not you. Not making a decision on a tough issue out of fear of making the wrong decision is just as bad if not worse than not making a move at all. You’ll always have other people and things dictate your life for you, and that always leads to regret, no matter how you slice it.
You’re Always Sick
Sometimes the signs of fear running your life aren’t just theoretical. If you’re constantly experiencing fear or stress, it not only takes a toll on your mind but your body! If you’re constantly finding yourself calling out of work or experiencing health issues, odds are, allowing fear to control your life is the culprit, not a flawed immune system.
So, is fear running your life? If the answer is “Yes”, it’s time to do something about it. It’s never too late to turn it around. But how can you overcome fear?
How To Overcome Fear!
Luckily, fear doesn’t have to be the driving force behind your life if you don’t want it to be! There are multiple ways to take and keep control of your life!
Accept Your Flaws
The first thing you can do is to stop taking yourself so darn seriously! It’s not that bad! We’re ALL human. That means no one is flawless. The faster you learn and accept that there is no such thing as being 100% perfect 100% of the time. What’s important is that you’re doing the best you can with what you have. Cut yourself some slack!
Dare to Dream
Why allow fear to stomp all over your hopes and dreams? Rather than feeling unworthy or incapable of achieving your aspirations, why not flip the script and rather than focusing on why, ask why not? You deserve every opportunity to find your own success in the world, stop selling yourself short.
A great way to combat fear/stress is by engaging in mediation! This physical act of actually altering the way your body is responding to stress or fear is a great way to prevent it from overwhelming you. Learning how to practice breathing and staying present in the moment can take the power out of fear.
Trust the Process
The natural enemy of fear is faith. The saying goes, “Where there is fear, there is no faith.” Rather than overanalyzing everything and feeling like everything is going wrong, look at it as a “work in progress.” Rome was not built in a day. Believe that every experience is a stepping-stone on the path to destiny and know it all works out in the end. There is no possible way to operate based on fear when you KNOW it’s all going to be okay.
Lean on Others
Lastly, a great way to overcome fear is strength in numbers! By surrounding yourself by supportive and healthy relationships you can find the fortitude to push through and make positive, proactive decisions. When things can get tough, having friends and family to lean on is the key to overcoming hardships.
While it can be difficult to overcome fear just know, it can be done. The longer you live in the darkness and uncertainty of fear, the longer you will remain unhappy and unfulfilled. Fear does nothing for you but leads you down the wrong path. It’s time to step up and take control back!