Fear often stands between us and our ability to make decisions, take actions, ask for what we want—even to know what we really want. It is the gatekeeper of our comfort zone. But as poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “He has not learned the lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.” Below are 10 fears that commonly get in our way.
1. Fear of being judged. Needing approval from family or peers can keep us from going after dreams and goals.
2. Fear of rejection. Rejection just means that someone else has a different opinion.
3. Fear of emotional pain. Rather than incapacitate us, painful feelings can sharpen our sense of joy and gratitude.
4. Fear of embarrassment. Making mistakes publicly is awful only when we let ourselves feel ashamed.
5. Fear of being alone/abandoned. A strong sense of self-worth and what we can offer the world reduces this fear.
6. Fear of failure. A biggie for most of us and born of the notion that it’s not OK to fail.
7. Fear of success. More responsibility, more attention, pressure to perform can be frightening when we don’t believe in ourselves.
8. Fear of expressing feelings. An authentic life means being willing to express our true feelings to our loved ones, colleagues, adversaries—even ourselves.
9. Fear of intimacy. Emotional intimacy—really being seen by another—can be as scary as sexual intimacy.
10. Fear of the unknown. The unknown can be exciting and vast if we shift our fear to curiosity.