There is nothing to fear but fear itself.
A bird in the bush is worth two in the hand.
A family that plays together stays together.
These are all things I have heard. They make sense. But, I’ve never paid much attention to their meaning.
But, what if one is genuinely the key to a fulfilling life?
On closer review, it is not a surprise that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from his 1932 inaugural address has more value than a proverb based on medieval falconry and a rock band album cover.
But, my point still stands.
Perhaps knowing the only thing we should be fearing is fear itself – is the key to living a rewarding, worthwhile and happy life?
Let me explain.
Life lessons about fear stopping you
Recently, I quickly came up with 40 life lessons that changed my life. As I dug a little deeper I found a common theme. Fear.
- Fear that stops you from being the best version you can be.
- Fear that programs our ancient brains to live with the status quo.
- Fear that keeps us from getting over our anxieties.
- Fear that stands between us and new and exciting opportunities.
- Fear that can ruin your life because it forces you to play it safe.
- Fear that stops you from being vulnerable and making meaningful connections.
- Fear of judgment that stops you from being you.
I found that almost 20% of my most important life lessons were routed in my discoveries about fear.
Signs that fear is stopping you
So, the fact is for the longest time (probably 39 years) – I didn’t realise fear was invading, shaping and ruining my life.
If you are anything like me – you may like some signs that fear might be stopping you:
- You strive for (impossible) perfection
- You settle for less than you really want
- You find yourself saying “yes” or “no” when you don’t want to
- You find ways to numb yourself from reality (eg. Netflix, food, alcohol)
- You have mastered the skill of procrastination
- You struggle to make decisions
- You need to control everything
- You shy away from things that are important to you
- You are often feeling under the weather
The fear that is stopping you
But, what are we afraid of? What are these invisible forces/fears that are stopping us from going after our goals?
- Loss of freedom
- Being judged
- Getting hurt
To just name a few…
What to do when fear is stopping you
If this is resonating with you – you might be wondering what the next step is. If so, try giving this a go:
- Think about where these fears are coming from: Listen to the negative thoughts that are coming from a place of fear. What are they saying to you?
- Think about the validity of these thoughts: Should these fears really be a concern? Should they stop you from living a life you love and being who you’ve always wanted to be?
- Understand where you want to be: Take the time to explore what you really want your life to look like – if fear and negative thoughts weren’t an issue.
- Take your fears head on (or just dip your toe in): Prove to yourself that you can face your fears. Start working towards your dream life – focusing on what is important to you and not your fears. You will no doubt surprise yourself about what you can achieve when your focus is pointed away from your fears.
Don’t let fear stop you from living a life you love
…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
If you feel like the changes you want in your life are impossible – then it might be fear that is holding you back from what you deserve.
Don’t settle for a bird in the hand if you want more. Don’t be afraid to go for it!
On the other side of fear, there may be two birds or maybe ten. For certain – there will be valuable life lessons, new opportunities and forward momentum. And these are all the things you need if you want more from your life.