There are many things that can prevent humans from attaining what they need and want in their life. Probably the biggest obstacle that comes disguised in many "costumes" is fear. Fear can paralyze us, it can prevent us from making decisions, from taking any action, from asking for what we want, and from even realizing what it is that we truly value and need and want in our life. The following are the more common areas where fear shows up. A famous quote which is very helpful to remember when facing fears is, "Fear knocked at the door, and faith answered, and no one was there."
1. Fear of Failing.
This has traditionally been one of the things people say they are most afraid of when asked why they did not do something or try something. It is based on old ideas that everything we do has to be entirely successful (or even just successful) and that there even is such a thing as a real failure!
2. Fear of Success.
As with fearing failure, many people are just as afraid of succeeding. To them, success could mean more responsibility, more attention, perhaps more liability, and a continued pressure to perform at a high level. Many of us were taught to be prepared for failure and not for success, so we are therefore more afraid of it.
3. Fear of Being Judged.
We grew up wanting the approval of our parents and peers. This carries through to adulthood for many, and can create real problems if the fear that others are constantly judging us keeps us from doing what we want or need to do, and from going after our dreams and our goals. Judging others or ourselves is a waste of time and serves no positive purpose.
4. Fear of Emotional Pain.
This, like all fears, is one where we can only suffer or allow ourselves to feel pain if we give permission for it. Life is full of lessons, and within those lessons people make mistakes and errors and experience some kind of let down. That let down does not have to turn into emotional pain nor suffering unless we give it the green light to do so.
5. Fear of Embarrassment
Most people do not like the feelings associated with making mistakes publicly, usually because they allow themselves to feel ashamed, or they assume people view them as foolish. This again is a place where we have the choice to allow ourselves to live and to not be concerned with the judgments or opinions of others.
6. Fear of Being Alone/Abandoned.
For many, the fear of being alone keeps them in relationships (personal and business) even though they are abused and miserable. Others fear speaking their true feelings for fear their friends, colleagues, or loved ones will turn away from them or abandon them. Realize that we are never really alone, and that if people reject us or leave us because we are honest about our feelings, we are better off without those people in our life. There will always be new friends, new colleagues, and new projects we can become involved with which will keep us connected to others and we need not ever feel alone. As one builds a strong sense of their self worth and what they have to offer the world, the fear of being alone fades.
7. Fear of Rejection.
When we take a social or professional risk, there is usually the potential that what we say or the ideas we present might be rejected or not accepted as we had hoped. And so? The rejection of an idea or even the rejection of us personally does not mean we are not worthy, talented in our work, or otherwise desirable. It means a person or group of people views something(s) differently than we do. Period. So rather than take it to the heart and feel like we are a leper who has been shunned, or an idiot whose ideas are all bad, it is productive to view it as a single incident where what we had to offer was not compatible with what others were wanting, and move on. We have a lot of other people to meet and who will accept us freely, and we also have many others who might like our idea that someone else rejected. We need to move on, not take it as a personal attack, and keep being ourselves and create what we know to be positive work and social contributions.
8. Fear of Expressing Our True Feelings.
Lack of good, clear, honest communication has ruined more than one relationship, business or business transaction. It is vital, if we are to be successful in our life, to be able and willing to express our true and honest feelings to our loved ones, our colleagues, our adversaries, and even to ourselves. If we do not know how we feel, we need to take time to discover that. If we need help, we need to ask for help. Honest, open communication, delivered in a non-abusive non- violent manner, is a learned habit. Once learned, it is much easier to do, and practiced regularly, it does more to enrich and keep our lives in balance than almost any other thing we can do.
9. Fear of Intimacy.
While many think of intimacy as strictly having sexual connotations, it encompasses much more. It is actually the highest and best form of being and communicating with other people (or another person). Most importantly, true intimacy is made up of unconditional love for the people with whom we share it. Unconditional love is not easy for many to learn and master, but it is essential if one wants to learn to be a tolerant, non-judgmental person who respects both the needs and the wants of the other people in their life.
10. Fear of the Unknown
Life is full of unknowns. The best any of us can do is to know what our values and needs and standards are, and use that to determine what we are willing to spend our time and money on throughout our life. This includes some risks, but so does driving a car, crossing the street, or playing any sport. If we stay in the present moment time frame, we will not allow the fears of anything that happened or that we heard from the past to influence us. If we do not allow ourselves to think into the future and worry or "what if," we will not allow ourselves to incorporate any needless anticipatory and totally speculative anxieties into our mind. The unknown can be exciting and vast in a very positive way, especially if we use our common sense, our intuition and heart-felt feelings, and our values and standards barometer to guide us from moment to moment, day to day, and project to project. More often than not, that which we fear might happen never does, and if so, we are much more prepared for it than we imagined we would be when we were worrying.
This piece was originally submitted by Dennis R. Tesdel