In my opinion there are two types of fear:
REAL FEAR - This is when we are actually in danger and our body’s fight or flight system kicks in to give us extra strength to survive a potentially life threatening situation.
FALSE FEAR - Most fears, however fit into this category and they are mostly illusions based on stories that our mind/ego tells us. These are the fears that hold us back in life and keep us from becoming the best versions of ourselves.
The 5 Most Common Fears
Fear of failure
Fear of rejection/abandonment
Fear of not being good enough
Fear of not being lovable
Fear of looking stupid
Fears and Core Wounds
Most of these fears stem from our core wounds in childhood. This is when we received these messages from others that reinforced these fears within us. And these are the fears that cause us to play small in so many areas of our lives from our careers to who we choose to let into our lives and into our hearts.
I grew up in a competitive family where there was a lot of teasing. This lead me to become a perfectionist and a people pleaser. It wasn’t safe to show any weaknesses and there was a fear of looking stupid or not being good enough. This held me back in many ways by making it less safe to take risks. Fortunately I grew out of these fears for the most part in my adult life which very liberating. When you get to the point in your life where you don’t care what other people think of you because they are not living your life, you can accept yourself and be authentic. This is when we take back our lives and begin to allow ourselves to pursue our passions and our purpose without fear.
So how can we overcome the five most common fears?
Failure is a part learning and growing. It is one of our greatest teachers. Instead of fearing failure, it is better to accept and appreciate it as being part of the process as you journey toward your goals and dreams. Sara Blakely is the incredibly successful founder of SPANX, a company that turned her into a billionaire. In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box ” Blakely recalled. “My dad growing up encouraged me and my brother to fail. The gift he was giving me is that failure is (when you are) not trying versus the outcome. It’s really allowed me to be much freer in trying things and spreading my wings in life.”
We all fear being rejected or abandoned at one point or another. This is a catalyst for many of the anxieties that hold us back. I remember back in college how nervous I was to call Jim Cash on the phone to ask for advice before moving out to Hollywood to work in the film industry. Jim Cash was a very successful screenwriter at the time and co-wrote “Legal Eagles” and the big hit movie, “Top Gun.” My fear was two fold, what if he turns down my call (fear of rejection) and what if I say something stupid. Although I was nervous, I made the call and Jim Cash was very gracious and helpful to me. Even though rejection can feel bad or even painful, it isn’t about you. People get turned down everyday and move on. This is especially true with sales people and actors who audition and don’t get the part. Rejection is the Universe’s way of telling us to take a new direction. The fear of abandonment is also a form of rejection, which can be emotionally painful, especially when it comes to intimate relationships.
The fear of not being good enough is a biggie. I love to encourage people to take the big leap toward their dreams, but my encouragement is often met with a list of excuses why they will never get the dream job or whatever is alluding them. “I’m not qualified.” “Other people are more talented then me.” “I’m not good enough for that job.” These excuses protect us from our fears, unfortunately they also keep us from realizing our dreams. If we want to succeed we have to believe in ourselves and take risks.
The fear of not being lovable is perhaps the most painful of all. At our core most of us have the desire to love and be loved at the deepest level. We want to share our lives and our dreams with another person and be fully accepted and understood as we journey through life. Unfortunately the fear of opening our heart to another person and having it broken is sometimes too much to bear. As a result, we run away from the people who offer us the deepest and most passionate love fearing that it is just too perfect to be true. Subconsciously we believe that we are unloveable and that this person will abandon us when they discover our flaws. Sadly it seems safer be lonely, or to settle for someone beneath our potential who is emotionally shut off. Love is the greatest emotion and energy. We are born out of love and we are lovable. If you feel that you are not lovable, it is time to learn how to love yourself. Self love is the foundation for all of your relationships. Start by looking in the mirror daily and say to yourself, “I love you!” It may not be easy at first, but eventually you will come to love and appreciate yourself. When this happens, you are ready to let true love from another person to come into your life.
Nobody wants to look or sound stupid. Think back to your early school days when your teacher asked questions. Did you regularly raise your hand or were you afraid of looking stupid if you gave the wrong answer? There was a really smart guy at my high school who not only answered the questions, he also asked lots of questions. As a result of asking questions he became smarter and more confident, while the rest of us missed out on expanding our knowledge, to keep from looking stupid and being teased for it. This guy went on to become a successful physician. Be curious, ask questions and you will be anything, but stupid.
Fear is an Illusion
Remember that most fears are just illusions. They are stories that we make up in our heads that have negative outcomes. According to the law of attraction, what we think we get more of. Therefore, it is important to have faith in yourself, be positive about your abilities and the outcome of your efforts. Believe in yourself enough to face your fears head on. Try new things that scare you and be proud when you succeed even though you were anxious stepping out of your comfort zone. Fear is just an obstacle, failure is a teacher and life is calling you to rise up and become the best version of yourself.
Choose LOVE over FEAR and you will live a good life!
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