post written by: Marc Chernoff

9 Fears You Will Regret Never Facing

9 Fears You Will Regret Never Facing

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
―Eleanor Roosevelt

Today, I volunteered at a blood drive downtown.  One of the women who came in to donate blood was literally crying in fear as I called her into the donor’s room.  When I realized just how terrified she was, I told her, “It’s OK, calm down.  You don’t have to give blood if you don’t want to.”  She looked up at me from the donor chair, cracked a half smile through her tears and said, “I know, but I want to.  Fear shouldn’t stop me from doing what’s right.”

Wow!  Talk about a wake-up call.  Her words immediately forced me to think about all the little fears that have been holding me back.  I’m sure you can relate.  So lets take a look at nine fears we can start facing today to avoid regret and heartache down the road.

1.  Fear of standing out.

Our greatest fear is not that we are not special enough; our greatest fear is that we are too special.  It is our brilliance, not our deficiencies that often frighten us most.  Sometimes you likely catch yourself asking, “Who am I to think I can do this?”  When in fact you should be saying, “Who am I to think I can’t?”  Ignore your doubts.  Forget about fitting in.  Stand out!

Don’t sell yourself short.  Don’t save face and then lose your soul in the process.  Doing so does not serve the world.  There is nothing helpful about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  You are meant to shine in a way only YOU can.  You were born to manifest all the unique brilliance inside you.  And as you let your light shine bright, you subconsciously give others permission to do the same.  As you are liberated from your own fear of standing out, your presence automatically liberates those around you too.

2.  Fear of not being good enough yet.

There will NEVER be a perfect time to pursue your dreams and goals.  You will never feel 100% ready, because you will never be 100% complete.  You’re growing every day.  You just have to find faith in yourself right now.  Faith means living with uncertainty, feeling your way through life, letting your intuition guide you like a flashlight in the dark.

What if, for today, you choose to believe that you have enough, you are enough, and that you’ve come far enough to be worthy?  What if, for today, you choose to believe that you are strong enough, wise enough, kind enough, and loved enough to move forward?  What if, as the sun sets on today, you choose to believe that you did a pretty good job?  And what if tomorrow morning, you choose to believe it all over again?  (Angel and I cover this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

3.  Fear life’s daily storms.

Sometimes life sucks.  Sometimes life gets so hard that you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.  Sometimes life is so stressful that all you want to do is curl up and cry.  But sometimes life is beautiful.  Sometimes life is so amazing that all you want to do is smile.  Sometimes you just have to stay positive, and push through the hard times.  Why?  Because life is worth it.  The good times are worth it.  YOU are worth it.

Realize that fear is the worst of it; fear is your real enemy.  So get up, get out in the stormy weather of the real world, and kick fear as hard as you can right in the teeth.  Do so by staring at it dead in the eyes and then walking right through it into the storm.  Let the rain kiss your skin.  That’s the first step.  Because once you’re wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore.

4.  Fear of failure.

Life’s toughest struggles are intended to make you better, not bitter.  Your struggles with “losing” develop your greatest strengths.  Many of the most vital lessons you learn in life you don’t necessarily seek on purpose.  Sometimes the wrong choices bring you to the right places.  In fact, every time you screw up, you’re one step closer to your goal.  The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.

Failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the choice to get back up.  Ultimately, what you need to remember is that you are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  Your toughest competitor is simply the voices in your head.  You can’t fail; you can only learn what you need to know to get up and take the next step.

5.  Fear of losing control.

I hate to break it to you, but you can’t control everything in your life no matter how many safeguards you put into place.  Life is about finding a balance between what we can and cannot control.  You must learn to live comfortably between effort and surrender.  Life does not owe you anything; it has already given you everything you need.  Freedom is not overcoming what you think stands in your way; it is understanding that what is in your way is part of the way.

Quite simply, the reason you are sometimes miserable and stressed is because of an unhealthy attachment to certain things you have no control over.  So let go; release the tension and stress.  Realize you haven’t lost anything; you were never in control to begin with.  See what happens when you loosen your grip, throw your hands into the air, and allow life to just happen and flow as it does, without constant worry and micromanagement.  (Read The Power of Now.)

6.  Fear of an event in another time and place.

Some people spend their entire lives living in another time and place.  They lament about what has been, what they could have done, or what might become.  Don’t be one of them.  If you live your life with the regrets of yesterday and the worries of tomorrow, you’ll have no “today” to be thankful for.  Let go and live!  Don’t let the past and future steal your present.

You act like it’s you against the world, but it’s really just you against yourself.  You become a prisoner in your own mind when you cling to the pains of another time and place.  Instead, be free and cling no more.  If you’re brave enough to say “goodbye,” life will always reward you with a new “hello.”  So keep your faith and focus on the present as you put one foot in front of the other.  Doing so won’t make all your dreams and goals easier, but it will make them possible.

7.  Fear of looking undesirable.

As you grow older, what you look like on the outside becomes less and less of an issue, and who you are on the inside becomes the focal point of interest.  You eventually realize that beauty has almost nothing to do with looks; it’s who you are as a person, how you make others feel about themselves, and most importantly, how you feel about yourself.

So no matter how plain and undesirable you may feel right now, if your truth is written across your face, you are beautiful.  What you do, and the way you think, makes you beautiful.  Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  You may look into a mirror and see flaws, but someone else looks at you and sees a person they love.  This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul.  Your shortcomings then dim by comparison.  The people who care about you see the beauty of your imperfections, sometimes even before you do.

8.  Fear of what you don’t understand.

Nothing in life is to be feared, everything is only to be understood.  Now is the time to understand more, so you may fear less.  Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery from fear of what you don’t understand.

Those of us who can’t handle the tension of not understanding often judge and lash out at others.  We defend our circumstances by condemning people in different circumstances.  That’s how it works – you either learn to let your uncertainty come and go, or you don’t, and instead dump it on others.  So much depends on simply learning that feeling uncertain is not a sign that anything’s wrong with you or anyone else – it’s just a sign that we’re all human.  Nobody has it all figured out.  NOBODY!  We’ve all got confusion and joy and pride and exhaustion circling in our minds.  Beautiful things are hard to understand at first – they’re designed that way so we must study them carefully, which ends up bringing us together instead of pushing us apart.  (Read The Four Agreements.)

9.  Fear of change.

Change is often resisted when it’s needed the most.  Yet, if nothing ever changed there would be no sunrise the next morning.  Most of us are comfortable where we are even though the whole universe is constantly changing around us.  Learning to accept this is vital to our happiness and general success in life.  Because only when we change, do we grow, and begin to see a world we never knew was possible.

Ultimately, you can choose to let your past define you and confine you, or you can choose to learn, grow, and leave it behind you.  Just like the seasons, you have the ability to change.  In many ways, you already have.

And don’t forget, however good or bad a situation is now, it will change.  That’s the one thing you can count on.  So embrace it, and realize that change happens for a reason.  It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

The floor is yours…

What fears have been holding you back?  What’s one fear you need to face sooner rather than later?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

Photo by: Nicolo Paternoster

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  • I fear that if I take that step and devote myself fully to my passion (something I truly, truly love), then I will not be able to fulfill the commitments that I have made to my employer and my family. So when I get close to doing something really amazing - a breakthrough idea, I back off… again and again.

    I know this is a fear I need to face soon, and I appreciate all the insight your blog, book, and social updates have given me in this area of my life. I am making progress, step by step.

  • This post is just what I needed today. Fear stops me dead in my tracks, paralyzes me, and keeps me from taking action. I know just taking action, little baby steps even, that fear can slowly be diminished and my anxieties have a chance to chill out! I struggle with negative thoughts. I work hard to replace them with positive thoughts in order for me to feel “ok”.

    Thanks for this article, I’ll be referring to it often for strength to take action to abolish my fears!

    PS: Just bought your book. Looking forward to reading it.

  • This article has helped me a lot. I constantly try to define my fears. Maybe the worst of them is the fear of being rejected. I think it is in our nature that we want to be accepted by everyone. I know that this is impossible, but still … it is a compelling feeling.

    Some of the things you said in the article have encouraged me to realize that this is not necessary any more. I keep forgetting that I have only myself in this life - long journey, and I should count on me. I have to improve the relationship with myself. This is the only way of acquiring happiness. And there is no room for fears. :-)

    Thank you!

  • #1 used to be my biggest fear. I tried my best to fit in and not stand out for years. Nowadays I wear standing out like a badge of honor. Originality is a great thing and people are attracted to it.

    Right now I’m tackling #4. I’m in a position where there are some great expectations I’m being held to and I’m afraid I can’t deliver. Hopefully, I can.

  • Yes. Just yes to the whole thing.

  • The fear of not being with a person you truly love b/c of what others think or say about them… mainly family.

  • Jack "Chap" Hicks
    December 6th, 2013 at 1:29 am

    #1 has for many years been the fear that the more I succeed, earn, and get close to where I want to be … I’ll mess it up.

  • I always felt like I could be so much more than what I choose to be everyday and this list pinpointed all of the reasons as to why I hold back. This article was extremely well put and opened my eyes a whole lot. So motivated to be whatever it is I’m destined to be. After all, great things happen out of our comfort zone. Thank you for such an amazing, inspiring article!

  • We see the world through the prism of our own mind and psychology. There is no absolute truth; whatever you believe is true is true, otherwise nothing is true. Thank you Marc n Angel for the inspiration.

  • I have a dream to write my first novel.

    I know I can write; my tutor tells me I’m a good, publishable writer.

    My fear is of not being able to do it. This post today is one I will print, keep and re-read whenever the fear raises its ugly head, to stop me achieving my dream.

    Thank you…

  • As always, this is what I needed to hear/read today. I fear taking that risk of pursuing my true passion. Do I let go of my vocation and throw myself into what I love? If I wait much longer will I have passed by the opportunity to make the change? Will I/it be a failure?

    So many questions, but mostly, just fear.

  • Fear of making a mistake….I struggle with this because I had taken a giant step in the past, and it failed…miserably so. I need to convince myself it is okay and that I have the ability to propel through this fear. I can go in another direction. As always, your words deliver. Thank you.

  • Thank You! I have been living this way for years and love it. Once I got over my fear of being myself, my life changed. All the other fears diminished with it and I became free. Everyone can do it. Now to get over the fear of spiders and rodents….. Eek!

  • Thank God for this wonderful inspiration by Marc and Angel. My greatest fear has been the desire for a better tomorrow, and that it will never come. This has taken away my pleasure and joy of the present. It has makes me ignore some of the most valuable things that are present in my life today, including the people around me, friends and family and so many other things.

  • “Wrong choice/right place” nailed it for me. I moved to another state after a layoff to be available to a family member. As soon as I got here, I knew I made the wrong choice but for the right reasons. I am getting better at not pummeling myself over this and am making plans to return to a place that really is home for me. I try to frame the whole experience as “not a mistake” - and I know when I return to the place I left it will have changed and be a different place anyway. But it has been a brutal struggle to get to this mind set of “not a mistake”. Today’s post is extremely reassuring to me. Thank you.

  • I think there can be some confusion with a couple points. For instance, in some cases you should fear the storm, because when you get wet you could catch a cold. What I would have said: Don’t fear the storm if you have shelter and if you have to go out in it; go for as long as needed and then go back to your shelter take off your wet clothes and grab a towel to dry off.

    As for looks, I think they do matter sometimes. If you feel unattractive people will see you as unattractive. It’s a recursive cycle that can’t be broken no matter how erroneous it is. Because if you feel unattractive you will always feel insecure about being abandoned. Then if you are alone you feel bad and that all your attempts to make a connection are failures. That I am a failure and perhaps that is my special gift to the world, that I fail repeatedly so others can have a baseline to feel better about themselves.

  • Brilliant work. I am currently struggling with several of these fears.

    With loads of love, prayers and exceptional wishes,

  • Oh my goodness, all these fears are holding me back. I read these comments, from you and the other readers, and yes they do make sense. But I have such a hard time trying to apply them to my life.

    Having a hard time even tackling one point at a time. I don’t know what is holding me back, except fear of everything.

    I will keep on trying, because moving 1 step forward is much better than moving 1 backward.

    Thank you all. Much appreciated.

  • Fear of letting go was a big problem for me as regards my children. I really worked on this. When I finally realized that you need to give children “roots and wings” it became easier. You can’t really have anything until you can let go of it……mostly concerning love….

  • Another wonderful post! Many times people stay in the most miserable situations in order to avoid the temporary anxiety that accompanies change. But the key word is temporary. We have to allow ourselves to feel uncomfortable for a little while in order to grow and thrive and live a more joyful life. Sometimes we have to put up with feeling worse before we can feel better.

  • #1 was always the worst for me. Too much attention = Danger. But that was from my childhood, and that’s where the fear is too.

    Fear isn’t in the circumstances or events - it’s only in the meaning I give them and the meaning is always referring to the past. If fear is present, that means I’m not. The antidote for me is to bring my awareness fully into the present moment where my mind is whole and complete, because fear can’t abide where love is.

  • Wow. I can think of at least one of my own personal situations what involves each one of these fears.

    I often think things like, “Who am I to say/do that?”, “What if they misinterpret what I say/do?”, “What if I’m not as good at this to other people as I think I am…?”, “Maybe if I’m feeling more confident tomorrow, I’ll do it then.”, “What if someone notices me?” - all questions that not only strike fear in me, but also actually hold me back, most of the time.

    This entry was a reminder to me that my fears are what stop me from being the great person that I know I have the potential to be.

    Thank you :)

  • MJ I totally feel you. I’m in the same situation: Made a wrong choice (at that time it didn’t feel like a choice at all) but for the right purpose. Although I think about going back to the place that felt like home (and start all over again as things have changed over time indeed), I’m also wondering should I just find another place again. Maybe my leaving back then was for a reason. But maybe believing that is just a fear - a fear that people will find me a looser if I just reappear and start with nothing again. Maybe a fear I’ll be perceived like a person who can’t hold on to anything, an eternal outsider who just comes and goes. I know I shouldn’t care what other people think, and those who are my real friends will help me. But it’s a mind struggle to make a choice anyway.

    Best of luck with your journey!

  • Excellent and useful insights! The only one I take exception to is #8. There have been so many times in my life when I have experienced a kind of self-defeating paralysis as a result of my need to understand and over analyze. In recent years I have learned to just accept without necessarily understanding. Sometimes the understanding just falls into place by itself in its own good time. I have also learned not to waste energy trying to help others understand me. Giving acceptance priority over understanding is very liberating.

  • “Do so by staring at it dead in the eyes and then walking right through it into the storm.” I really love this. So perfectly well-stated.

    Jennifer, haha! Your comment is cracking me up. I love your positive outlook and the joy you obviously have for life.

    MJ and Luca, I’m right there with you too. I came here with a ton of rationalizations that felt like the “right” reasons, but really it was out of fear and exhaustion from dealing with so much uncertainty for way too long. It’s only been seven weeks and I’m already looking forward to jumping back into the unknown again, because this place isn’t even close to home anymore. I emotionally left it a long time ago. But like you Luca, pride and again, the fear of the unknown hold me in place. Now that I know and accept the problem, I’m just trying to relax and let the solution lay itself before me until it feels right and I know exactly what to do about it. I don’t know if the other place is the right place either, but I know I don’t belong here. So we’ll see.

    Btw, Marc and Angel, your last post gave me the courage to make that phone call, and the agent took me and my project immediately! He gave me a bunch of suggestions for changes he wanted me to make, which felt overwhelming and scary, but after overcoming the first hurdle of calling him, making the changes feel like a piece of cake. And I know I can do it. Thank you for that. :D

  • And Eloquent Obi (great name btw), for what it’s worth, I’m a firm believer that true love is a rare gift one should never take for granted or throw away. Embrace it! It may not come around again and you’ll probably regret not taking the chance. Once other people see how happy you are, they’ll understand and be happy for you.

    Best of luck,


  • Julie Anna Bloodworth
    December 6th, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    I think that this is a great article and one that could be helpful to many people. I was Blessed with the family and the childhood that I had. Parents that loved and cherished me, said that I could do anything that I put my mind to, and stood behind me regardless of how heedless my actions were at times. So I haven’t faced THESE particular fears, although I’ve faced my share. I have always stepped forward boldly, sometimes it worked, sometimes not, but the effort was worth it because I got what I was after or received a very valuable lesson.
    Blessings to everyone on their journey through life.

  • Great post/article.
    I began facing various fears when I realized I would rather not look back at the end of my life and think “what if” or “I wish I woulda, coulda”. Nope. I fear feeling that way more than feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

  • Great article.

    I fear being alone. I’ve been in relationships all of my teen and adult life until now and I’m scared of this time. I’m scared of not having the bond of love between two people. I’m scared of not having someone else to always think about.

    I’m facing singledom and being alone, staring it down and giving myself this time, but I’m still afraid.

  • My biggest fear? Never being able to trust anyone again. I really miss the days when I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt until they proved me wrong. As it is, the moment I start to get back to that again, someone comes along and ruins it.

  • As my birthday approaches, I fear getting really old.
    Inside I feel capable, energetic,and a zest for life. Outside I feel tired, wrinkled, and stiff. How does reconcile inside and outside reality?

  • I agree with most part of the article, but i am confused with number 2:Fear of being not good enough. The article states that you should feel good enough, but doesn’t that feeling cause you to not try harder. I mean if we feel we are good enough, we usually won’t want to try harder to get better?

    I am also curious on number 5: Fear of losing control. It says ” Freedom is not overcoming what you think stands in your way; it is understanding that what is in your way is part of the way.” If we have that mentality, I think we might not try to overcome the obstacles in life. Shouldn’t we try to overcome what is in our way to move forward?
    I would appreciate it, if you could help me with this. :D

  • Awesome as always. But what about fear of rejection? Doesn’t facing that particular fear leads to regret most of the time? Or does the courage behind facing it relieve us from ever being afraid of it?

  • When I was young, I accomplished a great deal because I never thought about not being able to do anything I wanted. As I got older, I started developing irrational fears, and I stopped growing. Last week I faced a fear successfully. I almost talked myself out of it several times, and stressed myself out to the point of vomiting beforehand. Finally I decided to forge ahead, and found that things were not nearly as bad as my fear made it out to be. In fact, I was telling someone about it afterwards, and was even able to laugh about it. It still terrified me, but now that I handled it, I am thinking about the many other fears that I can and should handle as well. Life is much too good to spend it numb with fear. I have much left to accomplish. Still, I need to take baby steps so I don’t undo the progress I just made.

  • Wow, love this. Sometime I need to read daily. My favorite quote about fear:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”

  • Thanks for the fabulous post. It always motivates me and gives me energy to move on with my life and be stronger. The fear that always stops me from moving forward is the past that makes me think it will follow me in to future. I am trying to live in the now moment and be present but it has been too hard to let go the past and not being worried about the future which is unknown to me but my competitor my brain is not stopping. How can I stop my brain negative talk?

  • A great article on the inside fears. Many a times we fear to experiment, to a new start, leave & joining a new job, shifting to another face. This post practically tells to face the fears rather than running from these fears because running away is never a solution rather face those fears hidden inside.

  • The fear of of the outcome of the research of my sexual orientation.

  • @Vincent: Yes you CAN!

    @Jack “Chap” Hicks: Reminded yourself that when you try your best, even when you stumble and fall, you are still falling forward. Sometimes you need fail to learn what you need to succeed.

    @Linda: Get that first page written. Commit yourself to a certain number of words a day… like 500 – something reasonably achievable. And then never stop. Good luck with the novel.

    @Tony: Remember that not trying is failing. Don’t worry about making mistakes along the way, worry about how you will feel a decade from now if you never give yourself a chance to try.

    @muyisco: Practice being present – being right here in the moment. Focus on your breath. Enjoy the NOW. The future cannot heal a broken past, only the present can. The present, after all, is life. Also, read Lorna’s comment.

    @David Douglass: I believe people must take CALCULATED risks in order to grow effectively into their best selves. Also, dropping the comparisons is essential. We are in competition only with ourselves, only.

    @Kristin: I love this line: “Sometimes we have to put up with feeling worse before we can feel better.” - so true.

    @Lorna: Spot on in every way! Presence is the key.

    @Liz: Agreed. This self-focus is extremely important at times. I used to struggle with this aspect of personal development. I wanted to give and give, without focusing on myself.

    @Melissa Webster: Thank you for another thoughtful reply. We love what you share with the community here. Also, CONGRATS on making that call! It sounds like you’re on track.

    @Victoria: Being single and “alone” can make you feel like a fish out of water sometimes, but it’s necessary. Focus on YOU, and work that moves you, the right relationships will develop in time.

    @Kay: Read this: - I think it will give you so food for thought.

    @R: Yes, you must accept yourself as you are – the positive and the negative – before you can improve upon what is already true about you. The flaws and obstacles are part of the current reality. They must be realized and accepted before they can be changed.

    @Anne: I’m writing an article about rejection this week. Stand by. I will do my best to answer your questions in the upcoming post.

    @Stan: I’ve had similar realizations in my life too. Congrats on taking the necessary steps.

    @Bahar: Read this about negativity:

    @Mirjam: One way or the other, be true to YOU.

    @All: Thanks, as always. We love hearing from you. And to those who have supported our work by buying our book, THANK YOU. We are grateful for your support.

  • “Failure is not falling down, failing is staying down when you have the choice to get up”.

    I was so close to giving up on life permanently. For some reason those words speak to me, make me want to fight on. Thank you thank you.

  • I resigned from a well paying job that was draining my spirit a few months ago and am still looking for my next job. My intuition said ‘Go! leave!’ which I had never experienced before and I followed it. I am also moving through the final stages of letting go of a person that I should have released a long time ago (when they released me). At least, I will know for next time.

    I have never been so fearful and fearless at the same time but I finally feel true to myself. I feel a different sort of energy.

  • I have a fear of future of not being able to care for myself. I have a degenerative disease that doesn’t show on the outside but at some point, it will change everything. So– this year I went on mission trips to Kenya and Thailand, turned my husbands business trip into a vacation in Montreal, I went sailing, rode my bike, took advantage of airfare sales to see friends and family, stepped up and out as opportunity presented. I’m scared to death of what will happen in the future but it hasn’t happened yet so I’m trying to say yes while I still can.

    Such a great blog! What I know now is: Fear is designed to place you in shackles. Don’t let it. You never know when something real will come along so reject fear and worry. Whatever IT is for you, do it now, while you can. You may not know God’s plan for your life but you can be assured it is not that you live a small and fearful life. Some of us spend a lifetime saying no to our dreams - or later or maybe. If that isn’t filling your heart with joy and expectation…Say “yes!” and see what happens.

  • It felt like you wrote this article for me! #1 is what I’m going through…

    I used to be quite the opposite until i decided i should fit in so as to prevent the wrath of others jealousy and to get their approval…been doing that for so long. Ive kinda lost myself somewhere… but I’m going to be working in it..! Thank you. You have no idea how much you’ve helped me.

  • I love the way you illustrate how so many of life’s missed opportunities stem from fear and either not wanting to or not knowing how to deal with it.

    I think it helps to realize that facing your fears doesn’t have to mean throwing yourself into the deep end of the pool and praying you’ll swim before you drown. Sometimes you can start by testing the waters and easing your way in.

    One way to accomplish this is through anonymity. People tend to be more brazen when no one knows them (I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of blog comments that illustrate that.)

    For instance, I overcame a crippling fear of speaking in front of groups by joining a public speaking-oriented club (part of Toastmasters) where I didn’t know anyone. I felt I had nothing to lose because even if I made a total fool of myself, I could just walk away and no one in my day-to-day life would know the difference. That freedom allowed me to be more expressive, more vulnerable, and more willing to make mistakes. And from that experience, it became easier for me to speak up out in the “real world.”

    Overall, though, one of the main obstacles between us and a more fulfilling life is fear, and it’s important that we find a way to push through it.

  • ” The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake”

    I really, really struggle with this. In my professional life I work on things where the consequence of failure or mistakes are huge. You make a mistake, someone else loses their livelihood, a guilty person gets away to repeat their crime, an innocent person is punished for a crime they didn’t commit. It isn’t spilling your coffee or tripping up on the way to the lectern. The consequences aren’t a dirty shirt or people laughing at you.

    In my work, I simply can’t afford to fail. Not just for my sake but for that of others. And this feeling spreads throughout my life. It’s easy to risk failure when there’s nothing really riding on your failing. How do I become happy to risk failure when I understand the consequences?

    But then this pervades all risks. Even the most minor become like this. Even calculated risks become so calculated I don’t want to take them.

  • @Mitch K

    I can completely relate to this. Most of us are conditioned to believe that failure is not an option. An “F” in school meant being embarrassed in front of your classmates and, in many cases, punishment from your parents (some parents won’t settle for less than straight A’s). You do poorly at sports and get picked last. You make a mistake at work and it reflects badly on your boss and your whole team.

    I’ve been haunted by perfectionism my whole life and it’s made it hard to just be in the moment and enjoy myself. As a copywriter, I want my first draft to be perfect so my clients will be happy with my work. The only thing stopping me from reworking it a zillion times is having a strict deadline.

    But this obsession doesn’t have to be pervasive.

    You may not be able to afford to make mistakes at your job, but that’s all the more reason to appreciate the freedom you now have to do so in other areas of your life.

    I suggest you do something relatively “safe” and deliberately under-prepare. For me, that’s giving a speech at my Toastmasters club without rehearsing, or addressing a Spanish speaker in Spanish even though I know my comprehension is spotty at best, or cooking something without following a recipe.

    Whatever it is, the more you do it, the more you realize the world isn’t going to come to and end and the more liberating it becomes.

  • This past year I figured something out. I was afraid to Love. To love myself and therefore, I was afraid to love others. I kept “Fighting” against myself, wondering those typical questions about happiness, love, inner peace… And I always came up with the same question (not answer) “I´m I really happy?”. And how can one KNOW one is happy. So I started this self-search and with this question in mind, I started looking for my happiness… in the middle of this search I found the most AMAZING person, which showed me that Love is real. This person made me believe in myself, made me sing in the shower, made me laugh again…. this person is me. Through a very difficult but powerful inner search I started loving myself. I started digging in my memory for those tough moments that turned me into an Ice Princess. By healing this memories, forgiving myself and others, by looking for the act of love in every difficult experience, and by being thankful for this situations; I realized that my biggest fear was but a “spell” in which I was trapped because of false believes I had since I was little. Letting this go was the hardest but most amazing action I have made. Loving myself opened my heart to life, love, inner peace, happiness…. As I learned to love myself and released the fear that had my heart trapped in an ice box, I learned to love others. The people around me acted different towards me and I found a perfect person; a wonderful man which in another time I would have thought it was impossible to talk to or even date.

    Self-respect and love opened my eyes again… and released me from the horrible feeling of living in Fear… fear to LOVE .

  • I have been the most fearful person ever known to me & this fear only has done me more harm than good. I was & have always been fearful because of lack of self respect, trust, compassion and above all love. I always thought that I have certain congenital defects that are emotional and pertaining to mental health like being obsessive, full of craving and resistance, seek approval, assurance from others with lot of inferiority complex. Now, I am beginning to understand that the moment I develop to embrace myself for who I am , what I am & do without being judgmental, I would learn to love myself unconditionally & there are many like me in this world, I am not alone, after all isn’t it what life is all about, accepting challenges constantly thrown at you.

    Also, I have always fallen for beautiful girls & I am still under a magical spell of the most desired lady of the region. My heart aches when I think of her, it’s not the first time that it’s happening to me & this is very miserable experience, I still have a lot to learn, a long way to go, to deal tactfully with inner voice, mind chatter, disturbing mental noise & yet to truly discover, the true me in the midst of all this chaos. I am finding it very difficult to either lure that girl or to forget her but am sure I will figure out a way soon to deal with the problem - once and for all since everything changes!!! & I believe , changes for good…

  • I am working on getting out of my comfort zone. I really enjoyed reading this today!

  • Great Article… I needed a friend, on whose shoulder I could lean & tell my fear. I wanted my friend to comfort me with exactly the same, whatever is written in this article. You can’t guess, how much you have helped me by posting this article. I am on the initial days of my new job & there is a lot of expectations & I feel like I know nothing. People around me are new to me, there is only me, who will have to come out of the shell. Before reading this article, I even thought of leaving the job, but now I have convinced my self that if I prove myself, I will be in a good position where I always wanted to be in. Hoping for the better tomorrow, when even I could advise others from my fear-facing experience.

  • I fear that my husband will have another affair. I have forgiven him, it’s been 2 years and I still hold into thinking he will. I am afraid he walk out because I can’t stop nagging him 24/7 about what he is doing. I know he loves me. And he is remorseful about what he did. I know I have to let go of being a nag and move ahead and stop living in the past. I am afraid.

  • I have talents that God has blessed me with, and I fear that I will never be able to share these talents to a world that is already full of wonderfully gifted humans. Maybe my skills and special attributes are made to just inspire the people who see me as a regular, or maybe I will some day have the opportunity to take action. Or maybe I’ve had the opportunity all along but I’ve been too afraid to do it. On my wall of inspiring, memorable fortune cookie fortunes, there is one that has been placed apart from all of the others that reads, “Procrasrination is the fear of success.” If this is what’s been holding me and many others back for so long, maybe we just truly fear losing ourselves throughout the journey. Waking up another person is not on my bucket list.

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