Learn to Conquer Your Fears & Live the Life You Want
Question. How Can Fear Control a Person?
What are you afraid of? Spiders? Heights? Success? Me too! Fear of spiders and heights doesn’t hold me back, it’s the emotional fears that concern me.
Perhaps that’s not the right description. In essence, the fear I am speaking of is the fear that prevents achievement in your life. How exactly does that happen?
Not only will we learn how fear can control a person, but also ways to determine whether fear is controlling your life. We will also talk about why women can let fear control them. Finally we will close with how to stop fear from controlling your life.
What is Fear?
To begin our exploration into fear, we must first define it. As outlined in Dictionary.com, “fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
An important part of the definition to note is “real or imagined.” The belief that something could happen can have more of an impact to someone’s life than what reality may deliver. The mind can be tricky; It can work for us or against us.
While there are psychological definitions of fear, in my view, it boils down to 5 reasons why fear can have a stranglehold on our lives.
Types of Fear:
- Judgement – The feeling that people may think of you in a negative light or be critical of you or your behavior
- Disappointment – The feeling that your actions may let someone down
- Insecurity – Lacking confidence in your thoughts, actions, desires
- Failure – The worry that you will not succeed in your desires or endeavors
- Embarrassment – A feeling of anxiety over how you may be perceived
When faced with a decision to confront a fearful situation, the intensity felt by one of the reasons above, insinuates itself into every thought. In response to that uncomfortable feeling, people experience a number of possible physical reactions to fear.
The severity of the response differs from person to person. It could be as simple as getting the shivers (goosebumps), to hyperventilating and butterflies in the stomach.
So, rather than inviting that feeling into our lives, we opt to avoid it instead.
How Can Fear Control a Person?
Fear has power. When you give in to fear, you allow it to dictate your action or inaction. There’s a reason why the term “frozen in fear” exists. Additionally, think about the phrase “stage fright.”
For people that experience stage fright, despite all of the planning, preparation and rehearsals, once faced with speaking or performing in front of an audience, many are unable to do so. It may manifest itself in a fainting spell, increased heart palpitations, or even fainting.
The moment when fear prevents you from participating, that is when fear is running your life. You are a casualty of fear and it soon becomes the reason why you limit the potential of what your life could become.
When faced with an opportunity to pursue something you desire, what is your response? Do you say, “I can’t, people will be looking at me.” Or, “no way, someone might talk about me.” Perhaps it’s, “are you kidding? I could never try that, I might not be good at it.”
If any of those responses are your initial reaction, then fear may be holding you back.
In some cases, fear can be a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with assessing things to ensure the safety of yourself and others. Not every situation requires our commitment to participate and jump right in.
But, when fear moves you to inaction, it has control. Allowing fear run your life, gives permission for fear to ruin your life.
Related Article: Daily Affirmations for Kids
Why do Women Let Fear Control Their Lives?
In a nutshell, women are people pleasers and often work within a box prescribed by family, friends, society. A woman’s desire may be in conflict with what is expected of them. The pressure to conform to predetermined roles is constant. To be autonomous can incite anxiety.
Historically speaking, women coming into our own is a new concept. We were only given a voice in the public sphere in the 20’s. Even then, our vote was in lock-step with the men in our lives.
Women are expected to be demur and submissive. To be assertive is to be labeled as aggressive and out of character to what we should be doing. Sacrifice of self to ensure the care of the family, is a shadow over the lives of many.
To come into your own after such deep-seated history can be terrifying.
Fortunately, women have come a long way from being property and second-class citizens. For longer than should have been acceptable, we were on the sidelines of progress, often lending quiet support for men to step forward in their advancement while we cared for the home.
It’s hard not to imagine how scary it must have been to stand up and show their talents, skills and intellect to the world in male dominated environments.
Certainly, I am not immune to the effect of this influence in my life. I’ve experienced fear of failure and insecurity more than I want to admit. Insecurity is definitely the one fear that I have a harder time shaking. Sometimes, I get anxious because of it and try to avoid exposing myself to new situations. In that feeling, I know that I am not alone.
Is Fear Controlling Your Life?
To know whether or not fear is controlling your life, you need to ask yourself some questions. Has there been anything you didn’t do because you were afraid? Do you admire the success of others from the sidelines because you are to afraid to act?
Are you a main character or a supporting character in your life? Allowing yourself to sit back and observe life from a distance, rather than living, is fear controlling your life.
Would I say that fear is controlling me? Professionally? No. Socially, yes. My courage comes in fits and starts. Me and fear are old friends. I have given succumbed to fear far more than I should have.
Parenting is the most courageous thing I have ever done and continue to do every day. But, there are things I wanted to do that I talk myself out of because of fear and insecurity,
How do you manage fear in your life? Is it in the driver’s seat or have you taken the wheel?
How to Stop Letting Fear Control Your Life
Head on! To overcome fear, you really do have to face it head on and move through it. Without facing fear you will never know whether your fear is legitimate or whether your mind is playing tricks on you.
Remember, some fears are passed down. You may have had a parent that feared for your safety to such a degree, it became a part of your own thought process. And, failure to check this thinking may well cause you to pass it on to your children.
“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.”~ Napoleon Hill
To break the cycle of submitting to fear, you must challenge your assumptions. Try this. Ask yourself what is your why? What are your goals?Test yourself and invite the fear to motivate you forward.
Think if it as an enemy trying to hold you back. Don’t let it win.
Do not allow yourself to live a smaller life because you are scared to go after the big life you want to live.
Some people thrive on the adrenaline response they get from leaning in to fear. Rollercoasters, haunted houses, sky diving. There are so many ways in which fear is embraced as a way to push you beyond your limits. Am I saying that you should be a dare devil? No, of course not.
There are ways to test yourself without endangering your life. Fear of public speaking? Make a speech. You can really make a speech anywhere. Do it on a street corner, at church, in front of family, etc. How long have you been silent? You have something to say that people need to hear.
Go for the promotion that you deserve. Open the business you always wanted. Love who you want. Live where you want.
You only have one life to live; don’t waste it by hiding from your opportunities.
Steps to Controlling your Fear:
- Write your fears down and answer the following questions…
- What am I afraid of?
- Why does that make me fearful?
- What do I think will happen to me?
- Is this holding me back from my enjoyment or potential in life?
- Try something you fear doing
- Ask a trusted friend to do it with you
- Break a scary task into smaller parts and work your way up to it
- Make a video of you giving a speech, show it to one friend, then two…
- Try speaking in front of one person, then two…
- If you muster the courage, just go for it!
Concluding How Can Fear Control a Person
Fear is powerful, isn’t it? It is a crippling, palpable feeling. Real or imagined, if you let it, fear can take over your life.
But, not all fear is bad. We have the ability to sense danger so we can avoid it. That inner voice is an important part of our survival. However, if we fill our inner voice with unfounded, imagined fears, then it becomes white noise.
By fearing everything, we lose our ability to determine when are actually in jeopardy.
Life is too short to be a prisoner to things within our control. It may not be easy to face your fears, but it could open up your life to new experiences and opportunities. Ease your way into it. Take baby steps. Give yourself a chance to live a life without regrets.
To answer, “How Can Fear Control A Person”? It can. But only if you let it.
How do you challenge fear in your life? Share your best tips in the comments below.
26 thoughts on “How Can Fear Control a Person?”
This is such a great post. As much as I hate to say it fear does in a way control my life and actions. The general anxiety of going out alone or going somewhere by myself does prevent me from having fun or enjoying life and while I’ve been working on that it is hard to let go. Hopefully, once restrictions ease up again, I’ll try getting past that fear that holds me back.
Thank you for sharing such a thought-provoking post, Cassie!
I can relate to your comment. I have grown into social anxiety for some reason. I can’t even blame it on the pandemic. I used to go out all the time and definitely enjoyed myself. Now, I prefer much, much smaller groups if I go out at all. Not sure where it’s coming from, but I need to figure it out. I do have to say that being a mom is getting me out there more than if I would still childfree, so that’s a good thing. I hope that you find your way back out there when it’s safe to do so. Ease your way in, just get together with one friend to start.
This was so useful and encouraging — I am a bit stuck in some fear/anxiety that I am working on so your post has really helped. Thank you for putting this together!
I hope that you find your way through the fear and anxiety that you’re experiencing in your life. It can definitely be a hard thing to do. The biggest obstacle is our own minds. Don’t make the problem bigger than it is. If possible, tackle it in stages. I’m sure that you can work your way through it and come out on the other side to even greater things!
I really enjoyed this post. I must admit I do let fear and anxiety sometimes control my life, though it is something I’m working on a lot more these days. Thanks for sharing this insightful post 🙂
The first step to conquering your fear is to acknowledge it. It’s great that you’re working on not letting fear and anxiety control your life. Trust me, I know it’s not an easy thing to do. I wish you well in your journey.
Thank you for visiting!
This is such an interesting post! I know I can relate to this massively so I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you so much for sharing with us lovely Xo
Elle – ellegracedeveson.com
Hi Elle! Happy to hear that you enjoyed the post.
Thanks for reading!
I’ve let fear of failure and my insecurities rule my life for a long time. I’ve slowly been winning the battle against my imposter syndrome, it certainly got easier after I overcame my people-pleasing tendencies. I’m not sure how I got better at ignoring my imposter syndrome, but somehow I did
Oh man, you have hit the nail on the head with this one! I know fear all too well and how allowing myself to be consumed with it has caused me to pass up on a lot of great opportunities. I particularly like the exercise you mentioned about asking questions relating to your fear. I feel like that can really help a person pinpoint why they allow that fear to interfere with their life. The first step is being mindful, right? Great post. Thank you for sharing!
this was a great post. i used to let my fear of people judging me control my decisions which stopped me from content creating and making a blog! I’m so glad I’ve just taught myself to not care what other people think. it was hard to go but so worth it!!
jessica | http://www.overdressedblogger.com
Are We the same person? That’s me exactly! My blog is me pushing myself through my fear and at least giving it a try. Even after getting it started, I was afraid of telling anyone about it. To write and then share on social media was HUGE for me. Good for you for having the courage to get out there. I hope that you’re enjoying the process and journey. Thank you for being a part of mine.
Awesome post. Sometimes fear just drives you so much that you are unable to function as a normal person. And it is hard to control or overcome. Thanks for this sharing post. Can relate to it.
I have hidden behind my fear for a long time. I worry about being judged more than I ever realized. I’ve always wanted to write and instead of trying, I spent time envious of a friend who found the courage to do it and succeed. Who knows what’s going to happen in my life, but I am proud of myself for participating, even though it took me this long to do it.
The 3rd type of fear you listed “Fear of Failure” is a really common one which is extremely limiting!
I like to remind people that NASA blew a few rockets up before they got to the moon. Failure is part of the process when you are attempting hard/ worthwhile things.
Unfortunately in our society we are raised in schools where getting an answer wrong on a test is a shameful thing, people are quick to point out the failures of others and laugh. We should embrace failure as part of the process. If we don’t and avoid failure then well we won’t be doing much of anything at all.
Just like a toddler when we fall we just need to get back up and keep trying, soon we’ll be walking, then running, then nothing can stop you!
Adam the friendly Sasquatch
Thanks for stopping by Adam! You are so right about the gift of failure. Failure is the foundation of all of the success we achieve in life. It really does have a negative connotation. Nothing that we perceive as great or amazing ever come to fruition without someone/ something failing at first. That doesn’t negate the fact that it doesn’t feel good when we have setbacks though. It’s all part of the process.
What an incredible post! Thank you so much for breaking this down. We can all relate to allowing fear to control our lives. What’s helped me is just going for it. Once you face that fear head on, you start to realize it’s not as scary as you thought it would be. I loved the questions that you’ve provided, they helps us dive deeper and figure out where that fear is coming from. Everything starts with baby steps and this is an inspiring post to just go for it! Thank you for sharing!
Yes! There have been several times in my life where I’ve had to pump myself up before just going for it! The process alone can be terrifying, but in the end, I am usually happy that I did it. And, more often than not the experience has been a positive one. So many opportunities exist if we can just push ourselves to move through the fear.
Thanks for reading!
Wow! This post is definitely what I needed. I feel like fear prevents me from making new friends as an adult. I have a lot of social anxiety, so I can’t just go to a bar or something and be the life of the party like some people. I am currently trying to break out of my shell.
But this is a great post. Very helpful and I am bookmarking it!
I’m happy to hear that you found value in what I shared. Now that I’m older, I also have social anxiety. It’s definitely not something I had in my youth, so it’s a strange thing to understand. Making friends as an adult is just hard. I think we automatically wear armor to protect ourselves from anticipated judgement. I think the easiest way is to find common ground in shared passions and activities. Start there and you may find that it’s a more natural way to become fast friends.
Wow! What a great post! I really like the thought to write down our fears as well as the reasons that make us afraid. This can be really insightful and help identify further ways of taking control of our own minds and fears!
-Kevin Barrick, author of The Vial of Deziar
Thank you, Kevin. I think it helps to get our fears out of our heads to really begin to understand where they’re coming from. For me, writing things down helps me to have a different perspective. Any little step we can take to help our personal growth and understanding is a step in the right direction. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Such a great post. Thank you for sharing this.
I let fear rule my life for years, but I now actively step outside my comfort zone and try my best to ignore the anxiety voice in my head.
Thank you. I am in the same place. I’m not always confident, but I am pushing past it to shoot for my goals. There’s no other choice. It’s hard, but I know that we can both do it!
Well explained about different aspects of fear.
However, there are many other types also – like fear of death or getting hurt physically, fear of losing SOMEBODY or SOMETHING, fear of getting insulted…Solutions to such fears can be found thru meditation by getting into deeper layers, which are below these fears.
Hi Mayank, thanks for reading and commenting. I know that there many more types of fear. This was certainly not meant to cover every type or how it manifests itself in people. I just wanted to touch on a few that hold people back from being present and acting in their lives. I appreciate your mention of mediation, that is a great way to work through and past your fear.