Fear is one of those double-edged swords. If we fear our life might be endangered, the fight-flight-freeze reaction sets in precisely because of fear, which is good as it helps us deal with menacing circumstances. Each of the reactions has its own consequences, of course, some more favorable and others less so. Fear also causes us to be more cautious and not run headlong into a difficult situation. But what happens when fear is used as an unconscious excuse not to do something?
Off the cuff I would say that fear is something that prevents us from moving on, from taking a risk, from daring to be a little different, from having the courage to try something new, from leaving a toxic relationship, from being who we truly are, from expressing our wishes and needs. The list could go on and on.
What do we fear most? What other people will say. Will they find me worthy or good enough? Will they still like me? Will they criticise or shun me? Have you ever noticed just how much influence what potentially others might think has on what we say or do? Being judged by others, even if complete strangers, is the one thing we are most terrified of today, because every troll can say whatever they want online without having the guts to debate it with us, without presenting proper argumentation.
Then there is fear of failure, that is again related to what others will say. While we can get over the fact, with quite some pain and trouble, that we have not succeeded at something or experienced a total failure, our environment will most likely not let us forget it. In fact, many will revel in our loss and sorrow.
What about the fear of being left alone and lonely? Why do we continue to cling to unhealthy relationships and to people who bring us nothing but pain? Because we fear that we will be left alone, that we will never find anyone new, someone who will like us for who we are.
Fear is what paralyzes us and prevents us from moving on, from taking on a constructive risk, even when we know that we should be taking it. The fear of what ifs is the worst of all because we refuse to act out of fear of the unknown. Also, in a relationship with a narcissist, they make sure we are afraid all the time, that we are insecure all the time, doubting our own sanity.
But in the end, fear is what prevents us from leading a full life, a life in line with our own wishes and desires. Being afraid means surrendering control of our life to someone else. It means giving up our power. It is much worse to live in constant fear than to take the risk that something magical could happen. It might not, not at first, but at least we would have tried. Don’t let others intimidate you because of their own insecurities. Be brave, take the risk, assume the responsibility, move on, be happy!