Friday, November 1, 2013

What Are You Afraid Of?

FEAR. It can be an extremely intimidating word for having just 4 letters. Fear can slow you down or speed you up. It can also stop you in your tracks and make you feel completely helpless. Everyone is afraid of something (if they're being honest).
Maybe you're afraid of heights or afraid of the water or afraid of riding in an airplane or afraid of clowns (that seems to be a popular one). What's my biggest fear? Well, snakes and spiders are pretty high up on my list. I also consider myself to be borderline claustrophobic. I get extremely anxious if I'm in close quarters and feel trapped and can't move - it doesn't make for a pleasant experience when I go for a MRI. I have to really try the mind-over-matter techniques and take my mind to a happier, calmer place (where I usually try to imagine there's a lot of room).
Most of us are afraid of something, but then there are those situations that we can be intimidated by too. Some people are afraid to try new things because they're afraid of failure. Afraid of not measuring up to other people's expectations and afraid of disappointing the people we care about.
Some people are afraid of change in general; anything that rocks their boat or messes with their comfort zone. Some people work REALLY hard to control (or regain control of) certain aspects in their life where they feel they may have a bit more authority. There are so many times in our lives when we feel we have little say in what is happening that we worry, we lose sleep, and we often feel lost. Yet other people's lives are so dictated and regimented (often by other people) that they may experience the opposite ... they may be afraid that things will never change.
Fear is a BIG deal and it can have a lot of power over us if we allow it to. My daughter used to be afraid of roller coasters that went upside down. So what did she do? She faced her fear. She took baby steps and rode a few rides that took her upside down and rolled her over ... and over ... and over again. Of course she was wise enough to do it before she ate lunch. But the point is that she did it. For that one day at Cedar Point with her new college friends she chose not to let her fear run her life. I say 'good for her'. It was a valuable lesson and a major accomplishment.
Pick your battles and be smart about them. Start small with self-challenges you think are attainable. Put one success under your belt and then pick another. We won't be able to battle them all, but that's o.k. We'll have the satisfaction of knowing we conquered some of them. So ... what frightens you? What takes your breath away or makes your knees go weak?


  1. One thing I'm "afraid of" is feeling overwhelmed. The funny thing is, almost the second I start attacking the big pile of dishes, or anxious phone call, or writing that big presentation, I feel almost instantly better.
    Thanks for asking the defining question: "What are you afraid of?"

    P.S. -- also helpful -- your suggestion that we, women in general, are in this together and addressing our demons "together" can make all the difference. Although this is something I "know", the minute I start to feel anxious, I retreat inward. NOT a healthy thing to do.

    1. 'Naming' the fear is the first step. It's easier to battle something (and win) if you know 'what' you're battling. I'd say you're well on your way to moving forward Maryanne. Give me a call some time and we'll do 'lunch'. We can compare notes!