Some of us may dress our fears up in the form of “stress” or “the lack of time to embark on something new” – in other words, we use more socially acceptable alternatives to describe the emotion that we have been led to believe describes nothing but weakness, darkness, and shame. The irony of it is, most of the time, we don’t even realize that we are letting our fears dictate our decisions in life.
1. You say no when you want to say yes
You find yourself with a surplus of missed opportunities because of a two letter word that has become the bane of your existence: “no”. You say no because you are worried that you might fail or disappoint yourself. You say no to going skydiving, and leave an application incomplete, because of your fear of failure, rejection, or perhaps, the unknown.
2. You procrastinate
You find yourself making excuses for not doing something you’re supposed to be working on, or holding off on booking a volunteer trip to a developing country for the summer. You tell yourself that you’re too busy for a trip right now, or that you’ll get down to it when you’re “freer”. In other words, procrastinating has become a means of prolonging your fear of what might happen if you actually get the task done.
3. You settle
Instead of quitting your day job and pursuing your dream of traveling the world doing odd jobs, you head back to work at 8 am the next day and continue in your vicious cycle of boredom and longing. You stop chasing anything that may seem slightly out of reach and settle for the low-hanging fruit on the tree. Everything starts to seem mundane and uninteresting as you start to accept what you think has to be your future.
4. You find yourself wondering “What If…”
What would have happened if you had asked your crush out on a date, or if you had talked to your boss about getting a promotion? You often find yourself daydreaming about what could have been if you had taken a risk, and made the first move or taken up an offer you rejected.
5. You are constantly wanting more
Lastly, you are not contented with where you are in life, and you want more from it. You may be able to put on a happy face when you head into the office or meet friends for dinner, but you know that it isn’t enough to keep you happy.
Accepting that you have let fear control much of your life is the first step. The second is stepping out of your comfort zone and realizing that you can live the life that you want to. When something scares you, conquering that fear and going after what you want could potentially be the most satisfying thing that you ever do (until you own your next fear, of course)!