Many people are controlled by their fears, and don’t even realize it. If you are having a particular issue in your life and can’t seem to resolve it, it might be fear that is holding you back. The first step, and 50% of the solution, is identifying the problem. Here are some things you can look for to figure out whether you’re being controlled by irrational fear:
1. Second best
If you find that, instead of taking a risk or going the extra mile to achieve something, you settle for second best or less than perfect, you are being controlled by fear. You probably come up with a very logical excuse for your change of mind – but really you’re afraid of getting what it is you REALLY want.
2. Shut up
Do you find yourself avoiding conflict and stopping yourself from expressing your own opinions in the face of friends, family, coworkers or lovers? You cannot possibly cultivate happiness and self-respect while shutting yourself up because of fear of the consequences.
3. Yes means no
You can’t always please everyone around you. However, even when you’re tired, worn out or sure that you can’t deliver, you still answer everyone with a “yes.” You are a chronic people-pleaser, at the expense of your own sanity. Why are you scared of disappointing people? Sometimes, knowing when to say “no” is the first step to taking back your life and finding out what really matters in your relationships. On the other side of the coin, you might be saying “no” all the time when offered opportunities for growth, career advancement or life-changing love and travel. This is fear holding you back from leaving your comfort zone. You must break free of the shackles of fear in order to start true growth.
Your fear of failure is emerging from a psychological level to the physical world and stopping you from doing what you want. Whether it’s a project, relationship or trip you want, you’ve been putting it off for long enough. Once you face your fears, you’ll be emotionally ready to make whatever you want happen.
5. Deer in headlights
We all sometimes find ourselves in unhealthy situations. Your fear, however, is keeping you from taking what may be drastic action that will improve your state. Toxic relationship? Bad job? Domineering partner? Overcome your fear of the future and unknown, and you’ll be able to stop making excuses for staying in your crappy situation.
6. Sex, drugs & no control
A very common symptom of deep-seated fear is substance abuse. It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that this self-destructive behavior is an attempt to escape the uncomfortable reality of life. Fear is a cause of mental anguish and depression. The abuse you use as a band-aid will only worsen the situation. If your substance abuse is serious enough, you should seek professional help immediately. Although perhaps not as medically unhealthy as alcohol or drugs, addiction to work could be a similar symptom.
7. Stuck on perfection
Your need for perfection in the things or people around you might be an expression of fear. The insistence on perfection might be your undercover method of distancing yourself from things that would bring you real intimacy. Furthermore, your criticism of things which are not “perfect” might stem from the need for you to come to terms with your own faults.
8. In control
An obsession with control of every situation and person you encounter is a sign of fear. You might be convincing yourself that every situation is a worst-case-scenario and needs your heavy hand. Bad things do happen in life, but we simply cannot expect to control every aspect of life. The randomness of life can, indeed, be scary at times, but you must reject fear in order to enjoy its exciting aspect.
9. Feeling ill
Fear can express itself in our mental and physical health. Depression is a clinical condition which can be caused and characterized by fear. Stress has been shown to have negative effects on people’s health. Stress can contribute to, among other things, diabetes, heart attack, inflammatory disorders and chronic pain. Release your fear and see how much better you feel.
After you’ve recognized and come to terms with the fear you identify in yourself, the next step is to resolve it.
Meditation has been proven to help promote overall health, relaxation and stress reduction. If you don’t already, try to start meditating. The focus, quiet and appreciation of the moment that it tries to cultivate will help you release fear.
Life is unpredictable and bad things happen to good people. However, the only way to live with mental health and a minimal degree of happiness is not to focus on the inevitability of the universe. There is plenty of beauty and positivity in the world; start focusing on them instead. Trust in destiny a little more than you have in the past, and a bad forecast can suddenly look much better. This technique could involve learning more about any religion you might prescribe to, or generally investigating spirituality.
3. Accentuate the positive
Practice positive thinking; focus your thoughts on happy moments when you felt loved, thankful and fulfilled. This type of exercise helps destroy fear.
4. Positivity loves company
Changing your thinking and bad habits is hard to do alone. Find people who can provide moral support during your journey to a healthier outlook. At the same time, limit your interactions with people who have a very negative effect on your thoughts and actions.
5. Rethink what you know
If what you think about a person or situation leads you to a defensive, negative reaction, start to question your beliefs more often. Maybe that person wasn’t intending to hurt you. Maybe that situation isn’t as dangerous as you thought. This approach will help you develop a more objective perspective.