It looks different to each of us, and the fear of it manifests itself when we’re subconsciously making decisions for the next route to take in life without even realizing how much control it has over our future.
But one thing for sure – rock bottom is always about loss. Loss of a job. Loss of family. Loss of friends and lovers. Loss of your home. Loss of your identity. Loss of every hope and dream. Loss of the illusory reputation you’ve worked hard to build to cover up your inner self (which is too raw and unacceptable to the people that put you in fear). And because we’ve been taught to fear the loss of comfort and security so much more than the loss of our true selves, we do everything we can to postpone rock bottom and keep ourselves shielded from anything that doesn’t have a clear outcome. We’ve been told over and over again to follow the white picket fence dream in order to bypass unsafe routes that could lead to rock bottom, at least according to popular opinion, but today, the dreams of the previous generation are only holding us back and instilling deep-rooted insecurity within us.
And here’s how fear of rock bottom holds you back from moving beyond your constraints and creating the life you’ve always wanted to live:
1. You think you can beat rock bottom by doing exactly what teachers and parents taught you to do, but if you are doing poorly in your job and are always afraid of getting fired because you are naturally a bad fit for it, the quality of your life will worsen and the more sensitive you are, the more severely it’ll take a toll on your mental health. Even if you have absolutely no choice in this matter, make an effort to prepare yourself to leave, which may entail making a bare-bones budget, selling anything that costs a lot to maintain, and doing extra projects on the side.
2. The more you’re living in fear and the more stressed out you are from doing something you’re not good at just to avoid the worst possible outcome, you’ll actually be more tempted to buy what isn’t necessary as a temporary escape from terrible days because frivolous spending is a natural effect of stress and overwhelming feelings of insecurity.
3. You constantly feel envious of people who actually go out and build their new lives with their own two hands with a combination of ingenuity, compelling life stories, vulnerability, an individualized routine that facilitates inner growth, and a warrior-like mentality. You don’t dislike people for having what you want. Rather, you feel very hateful towards yourself because you haven’t been able to craft a genuine life, since you’ve allowed the fear of rock bottom to control your every thought and action.
4. Because you’re under pressure to exceed expectations that aren’t your own, you find ways to make more excuses to postpone everything that you want to do for yourself. You claim that you never have time or energy to pursue a project that would help you grow as an individual because somehow you’re convinced that your worth is based on how well you give up your own life in order to build an artificially good one on other people’s terms.
5. You create horrifying hypothetical scenarios of the future in your head in order to condemn yourself for being dissatisfied and ungrateful. However, this is counterproductive to growth because you’ve conditioned yourself to stay small and not even attempt to take small steps that would lead to the freedom you’ve always yearned for.
6. Even when you know you’re not oppressed, being stagnant for prolonged periods of time will instill a victim mentality within you and small problems can easily make you jaded, cynical, and bitter, which distorts your ability to look at the future from a rational standpoint.
7. You subconsciously paralyze yourself from doing something different because you still have an overwhelming fear of displeasing everyone that has ever given you deconstructive criticism and attacks on your character, so you do everything you can to prevent yourself from stepping out of line.
8. You associate your past mistakes with inherent character flaws and start to believe that there’s no hope for improvement because of how others harshly judged your failures and influenced you to believe that you’re never going to get over anything you’ve done wrong. So much that you completely discredit yourself whenever you accomplish anything since you feel like nothing you do can atone for your past.
9. The fear of losing the life you feel trapped in still controls you more than the fear of never reaching for a lifetime of self-actualization. And this is a dangerous place to be because you still want people to think you’re “doing fine,” and you’re always striving to earn approval, even when it causes you to experience many mental breakdowns. Scrambling around to please everyone while neglecting your own personal growth causes you to feel helpless and unable to cope with change, even when change is meant to help you evolve into a more fearless and genuine version of yourself.