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.