When I was little, I wasn’t scared of much, which is kind of scary in itself. I remember being afraid of my closet and upsetting people. Oh, and worms… but these days I love worms. Funny how feelings change. All my life, while not afraid of objects, heights, scary movies or a bad hair day, I was terrified of hurting others feelings, failing and not measuring up. Most of us can probably relate to these fears which are normal to an extent.
These fears destroyed me! My fear of failing caused me to not try. My fear of not wanting to hurt others’ feelings caused me to make choices in my life that were damaging. My fear of not measuring up kept me in toxic relationships because I felt, “hey, I cannot do any better than this!”
Having no fear isn’t healthy, either. I remember when that slogan was everywhere: NO FEAR. I saw it on pickup trucks, shirts and have even seen a tattoo or two of this slogan. It is fun to project the ‘no fear’ attitude, but fear is real and sometimes it is there for a reason. Fear is that feeling in the belly that says, “Danger!” It is up to me to assess that fear.
Is my fear legitimate?
I found a fascinating article on the five basic forms of fear here. The interesting this is that they all deal with the death of that crazy thing called EGO. I suggest reading the article. It details great explanations of the five basic forms of fear:
- Loss of Autonomy
In my twelve-step work, I had to take an honest inventory of my fears (which was a fear in itself!) to get to the nitty-gritty of why the hell I could not stop drinking, why I insisted on sabotaging my life and a host of other calamities that caused me unnecessary stress.
When I got the core of my fear of abandonment, rejection and humiliation my life started to change; I started to change. I asked for a raise. I left a toxic relationship. I let my guard down and started being me.
As I continue my journey to self-discovery, I still have fears. After all, that human element is something inherent in me forever. With the help of God as I understand Him, my program, and the awesome people in my life, I am able to work through those fears and grow.
How do you handle fear? Do you recognize an irrational fear?