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Is Fear Holding You Back?

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I think fear– specifically, the fear of failure holds us back from a lot of things. Too many times we are afraid of the unknown, so we end up trying nothing. The fear of failure seems so insurmountable that we end up sitting on the sidelines watching life pass us by.  

The truth is that most things that we are afraid of never actually happen in real life. I am guilty about worrying about future scenarios that never ended up happening and only gave me worse anxiety in the long run.  

For example, before I worked as a journalist I was so terrified that I would fail at it, but by the end of it everything was fine and I learned the ends and outs of a newsroom.  

When I moved to Shanghai, I was terrified that I wouldn’t have any friends or really anyone to talk to. Turns out, I’m pretty sociable and people like me.  

While fear may be holding you back in life at the moment it doesn’t have to.  Here’s why.

Fear is not reality

Fear is not a tangible thing, nor does it last for long. Think back to the last time that you were afraid of the unknown. Did you think of the worst possible scenario that you could end up in? I am often guilty of thinking of the worst possible outcome when I am facing a new situation or I am faced with an uncertain choice. I start playing the “what if” game in my head. This prevents me from trying new things because I am so worried about the worst possible thing that could happen (and it usually never does happen). The truth is that while it may be natural for our minds to prepare for the worst possible outcome, the likelihood of everything going horribly wrong is slim to none. 

Get out of your head

Fear usually manifests when overthinking happens. While it’s healthy to look at the pro’s and con’s of a situation and weigh your options, it’s also unhealthy to overthink every single choice you make whether it be a choice in your personal or professional life. Have you ever tried something new and said to yourself after “That wasn’t so bad!” That’s because fear lives in your head and the only way to get over fearful thoughts is to bite the bullet and go for the thing that scares you. Stop letting fear dictate your thoughts in a toxic way.

Fear tells us we are incapable

Have you ever felt like you would fail at something or you weren’t good enough to try something new so you never did? Fear tells us we are incapable, but that is further from the truth! Human beings can survive a lot!  Reminding yourself that you are a strong individual and looking at past fears can help to remind you who you are and what you really are afraid of.

Are you afraid of failing? That’s okay because everyone fails at some part in their life. Are you afraid that you may be judged? You probably will be judged by a few people and that too will always happen in life. These fears, however, do not mean that you’re incapable in any capacity! They are simply just that–fears. Your capability is determined by whether or not you choose to try.

Do the thing that scares you

This cliche is common but so true. If you don’t try, then you’ll never know and that can be even more crippling than fear itself. To truly combat fear is to push yourself out of your comfort zone and say yes to life. This may not be easy at first, but the more that you practice it the easier it will become. 

At the end of the day would you rather try the thing that terrifies you or let fear keep you on the sidelines of your life? So, look fear in the face and say yes to it. The outcome may truly surprise you for the better.

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Abby Trapp
Abby is a published author, writer, and former journalist. She enjoys people who mind their own business and black coffee.

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