How Is Your Fear Holding You Back?
I feel as though the saddest tragedy in life is when everyone can see our greatness but us. As I thought about it more, I don’t think that the problem is that we can’t see our own potential, it’s that we stop ourselves from achieving it. But why do we do this? What is it in us that will allow us to sabotage ourselves? Why would we take the easiest road when we know that that’s not the way that we truly desire to go?
You see your goal, it’s there, but for some reason you’re stopping yourself from reaching it. What’s going on?
For most, it’s an issue of fear.
If there’s one thing that humans can bond on, it’s the feeling of fear. Why? Because there’s something very palpable about the feeling. In everyone’s lives, at one point or another, we’ve encountered those strong feelings of dread/trepidation. It’s very intense and creates a sense of panic that will either immobilize us, or cause us to fight against it. However, when can fear be beneficial? When do you know to trust your gut, and when do you know to ignore that fear?
Now, I’m not a psychologist, but if we break down fear, it seems as though it can be summed up into three categories. The first category is self-preservation.
Our self-preservation fear is innate, it’s what has allowed us to survive. It’s the awareness in ourselves that causes us to look when something moves out of the corner of our eyes, tells us not to trust the creepy guy who you don’t know who wants to drive you to the store, or tells you “it’s not worth it” when you want to get into an argument/fight with the rude person. This fear is part of your survival instinct, to help you to live as long as you can on this Earth.
The second category is irrational.
Irrational fear is like your self-preservation fear, just magnified and with no concrete evidence. It’s like you’re afraid to go out of your house because you know what can happen, so you use that as a reason not to leave. Irrational fear causes you to put your life on hold, because you’re too afraid of what can happen, so you don’t live at all.
The third category is complacency.
Now this fear, to me, is extremely detrimental. You want a job, a new job, a better job, but the idea of “what ifs” overwhelms you so much that instead of going through with finding a job that’s ideal for you, you go the route of something more easy. This fear stops you from being great, allows you to stay in the rut that you’re in, and encourages mediocrity and below.
So what was the point of identifying these fears? The thing is that sometimes we can mistake one for the other. People will let their irrational fears and their need for consistency stop them from achieving things that they really want. They’ll rationalize why they shouldn’t, and try to put that fear in the self-preservation category, when the truth is, you’re only stopping yourself.
For those who believe in Charles Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the Fittest” know that it dictates that “only the strongest survive.” The truth of the matter is, living the best life that you can means to be strong, courageous, and to discard complacency. Trying to make irrational fears rational isn’t helping you. It’s hindering you.
When you’re having a moment where you have an opportunity of progress, and you feel that twinge of fear, try to categorize it. Figure out where it places. Is this fear because I could potentially put myself in danger? Am I fearful because I’m creating an invisible level of chaos, or am I fearful because I’m not comfortable of what lies beyond my life right now? Once you can figure those things out, then you might be able to start living the best life that you can.
Remember, most successful people have had that exact same fear you’ve had. However, they worked through it, made themselves vulnerable, and stepped out into a direction that was unfamiliar. They got to where they are by working through their fear, now it’s just up for you to do the same.