“The fears we don’t face become our limits.”
I knew I wanted a divorce. After several things came to light in our marriage—I knew in my heart, my head and my gut, that divorce was going to be the best thing in the end…for both of us. But, as soon as those words came out of my mouth—enter FEAR.
In that moment I was so fearful of—everything! Over the next several months we decided to try couples counseling, we even went to a retreat on how to repair issues in marriages. All the while deep down, I knew that divorce was best for us both, but the fear of the unknown life I would be facing kept me holding on and clinging to the idea that we could somehow repair our marriage.
I was so afraid of what my life was going to look like as a divorcee. Will I have enough money, will my family support me, how do I start over, will I ever find love again? I had been with this person for over half of my life and on top of the sadness of losing my partner, the fear of the unknown began causing anxiety and panic attacks.
SEVEN SIGNS THAT FEAR IS HOLDING YOU BACK IN LIFE
- You Get Complacent: You convince yourself that although not glamorous, maybe not even what you want—it’s good enough. Sure, you are unhappy, but it works good enough, so why rock the boat?
- Yes, No: You say yes when you mean no, and you say no when you mean yes. You are afraid of disappointing others. You are afraid of rejection. You are afraid of the unknown if you answer the wrong way or say yes (or no) without knowing the outcome.
- You Zone Out: Fear can cause anxiety and pain. Numbing that pain with alcohol, technology, food, or anything excessive (work, exercise, etc.) is avoidance. Trying to keep your brain “busy” so you aren’t focusing on the real issues is just prolonging things.
- You Pick: You are afraid that you will make the wrong decision so, why not let someone else make it for you. Asking other people’s opinions is great and can help give you perspective as an outsider in your situation, but not if you are looking at them to make the decision for you because you are afraid of making the wrong one.
- Failure: Afraid to try something new? Afraid to step out of your comfort zone? Failure has such a negative connotation but failing at something is an opportunity to learn from your experiences, grow, and try again. Might someone in the mix get disappointed along the way, perhaps—but if you are more fearful of disappointing someone else, rather than being true to yourself, that is of concern.
- Fear of Judgement: People will judge you, that’s life. Let them judge you! Be you and be proud! You can’t control other people, if you are happy with your choices, you are being authentic, you’re a kind person—then dance like no one is watching! It’s your life, not theirs!
- Fear of the Unknown: None of us can predict the future or see what life will look like in five years. Letting the fear of the unknown keep your senses heightened can be beneficial at times (like being aware there might be a mugger in a dark alley), but letting it consume you and keep you from experiencing life is unhealthy.
Often, we run from our problems because we honestly don’t know how to process them or solve them. But I have excellent news for you. You can control your fears, but first you have to be willing to:
- Acknowledge them
- Own them
- Accept them
- Work on them
Tony Robbins also has some great tips on fear, check them out here.
This not easy to do since confronting your fears can produce a lot of initial anxiety. You will have to stay in the feared situation and stay with the heightened fear response until it begins to subside, which it eventually will.
You can’t get rid of fears completely. Strong, brave, intelligent, successful, happy people have fears. But allowing fear to “win” and living a life where you never made hard choices out of fear of 1-7 above—that can rob you of enjoying the present moment and the life that lies ahead for you.
Remember, You Got This!
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