What You’re Doing Wrong About Your Fears

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know.
It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi

 
 
 

So a friend of mine and an awesome supporter of my blog hit me up Sunday night, asking if I could write an article on Fear.
(I’m always open to suggestions on what to write on next, so please pitch me an idea!)
Weeks back, I published one on Five Reasons To Worry Less And Five Ways How, so if you’d want to take a peek at that too, it’s still right here on the blog!

And so I wondered all week, where do I even begin from?

I’d need my fingers and my toes to count just how many fears I’ve battled with.
(Right now, I’m still crazy scared of heights and drugs for when I’m sick. Got any recommendations?)
The biggest used to be, the fear of failure.
And so for a long time, I struggled with this.
I was one of the best students in high school, head of different departments and functions at different social gatherings, admired by a lot of family members and strangers and friends.
They said I had great potentials, I was a people person, I had character, I was smart and responsible — I always gained trust and respect from most people I came across.
That didn’t change the battle I had.
Their validation was not enough.
I still feared failure. Feared I wasn’t enough.
I was terrified of it.
 
Why? How?
It’s not really something I could explain.
I feared graduating from the university and not finding a job.
I feared writing a book like everyone suggests I should and not selling a single copy.
I feared never finding my own path that would bring me success.
I feared there was another of me out there, only a hundred and one times more of all that I was, and I’d always lose to them.
And so I’d apply for writing gigs and not check my mail for feedbacks.
I’d see what I want but go: “Oh Ima, you really think you’re the most qualified, really?”, and I’d let that pass me by.

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I’d get a “You did an excellent job” or a “You’re pretty awesome, you know”, and I would actually say to myself, “You’re just easy to work with and listen to instructions, how can you do something that these many people would think is excellent?” and “Me? Awesome? Isn’t that word meant for, I dunno, Martin Luther King?”
 
And finally, it hit me.
I didn’t just fear failure anymore, I had feared failure so much and for so long that I was afraid of success now.
Crazy, right?
And I got angry with myself after that.
Because like author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson said,  “…our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
 
You cannot get over a fear you cannot face.
If you choose to never confront them, they sit in the front seat of your life, and they drag you around and all over.
We look at our fears as barriers, but the only barrier is because we choose to see them as such.

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Everyone has fears, all of us.
It just depends on what we choose to do about it.
You cannot but need to break through.
You cannot get over the fear of being abandoned until you accept the fact that you can be abandoned by the one you trust the most tomorrow!
You can’t get over the fear of amounting to a failure in life until you face the truth that you, yes you, can turn out to be one tomorrow!
Yes, face it already.
Yes, you can! Face it!
And now, what are you going to do about it?
Do something about it.
Don’t suppress it, don’t ignore it.
Grab it. Feel it. Face it.
Yes, you might get burnt. But maybe that’s what you need.
Get burnt and let that shake you up and strengthen your back some more.
 
And what can you do about it, you ask?
Don’t abandon your own self into the hands of others completely. You own you.
Don’t sit and wait for life to “fall into place” for you.
Don’t overanalyze it: You were put here to dominate and you have all that you need to do so, right in your palms.
Don’t wait for life to crumble over your head,for something bad to occur — instead expect good.
Understand you do not own nor have any single control over the future.
But you can influence it to an extent with today.
And don’t water your fears. Don’t feed on them.
Your fears are meant to be felt and dealt with or they will grow, (and they grow up so fast, I tell you!)
The fear of not being enough then grows to the fear of not knowing how to appreciate yourself, even if everyone does.
The fear of the future graduates to you living life too carefully, too ordinarily, too mediocre.
Anxiety and worry, You are made for greatness, How to stand out, Fear and anxiety.png
 
Ever heard of artist Vincent Van Gogh?
Here’s a little about him I read online:
“…Today, Van Gogh’s work sells for unprecedented prices and is some of the most valuable and highly sought after in the world. His Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for $82.5 million in 1990, making it one of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
In his time, however, Van Gogh was a failed, starving artist. He produced more than 2,000 works of art, but sold only two during his lifetime. Suffering with mental illness and further depressed by his lack of success, Van Gogh committed suicide at the age of 37.
Van Gogh’s post-Impressionist style, filled with emotion, movement and vibrancy, was not popular during his life but would go on to influence decades of artists that followed, and his works remain some of the most highly regarded paintings in modern art.”

It broke my heart reading this the first time.
Over 2000 works of art and all of them went down the drain.
Simply because the shame from he thinking he wasn’t good enough engulfed him entirely.
And all of a sudden, everyone thinks he rocks!

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I took a look at a couple of his works, as he apparently destroyed a lot, and they were amazing.
What’s your fear doing to you?
What part of your life is it holding down?
Are you going to do something about it or are you going to let it win without giving a fight?

Now, one quick reminder before we all run off and into the weekend — don’t choose to face your fears simply because I say so.
No no.
You must want it for yourself.
Open your eyes and see what that fear has been doing to you — and if you get angry about it, you know you’re ready to try.

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Nine years back, my baby sister was born.
Less than two months after, we had our first near-robbery attack.
My father had practically opened the door for them, and had a gun pointed to his head — and while my older sister and I ran off to mom in the bedroom, my father shoved both men backwards and slammed our door shut.
He said he gave it no thought. And most likely, he’d do it again.
No, he’s no Superman. No, he’s not muscular, no, I’m not showing off my hero. (Hehe)
No, I’m not asking you to attempt to kill yourself either. Just showing you that sometimes, that leap of faith is worth it.
And I’m saying, sometimes, we have to be aggressive with our fears.
Be angry with them. And do something massive.
Your fears? They aren’t meant to be cowered from, or worse, ignored like they do not exist.
Like my father would say: “I didn’t think, I saw the danger, but I saw the need to do something, anything, about it.”
Life wants to see you fight back when you’re uncomfortable.
Fear wants to see what you can do about it.
It may throw you down, but do something.
There is something much more important than your fears — and if you do not believe that, then you’re selling your entire self short.
 

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

So this week, would you do yourself the well deserved favour of trying to overcome one fear of yours?
Start with one. Just one. Any one.
Face it, and do something about it.
 
Was this helpful? Did it sound logical? Questions? A suggestion maybe?
Please share your much appreciated thoughts with me through the comments section! Pretty please?

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And one quick favor, if you know someone else who needs to see this, I’d appreciate you sharing this article with them too.
Go into the weekend with courage and confidence and guts — and let it all shine through!
 

Deliciously Yours To Savour,
LemonsLemonade.com.

More Juice?

  • Hey Girl It’s a great post!
    Ohwww yess! ThnQ for Sharing !

    Hugz, Miss B.

    • Thanks darling!
      I’m glad you think so 🙂

  • Nice Write Up.

  • Hi Ima,

    That is one terrifying teddy! Thanks for the Yann Martel quote. Life of Pi is one of my favorite books. I think it’s time I reread it! This is a very poignant post. I often don’t try new things because of the fear of failing. If you don’t try you can’t fail, right? It’s much better to think that by not trying you’ve already failed.

    David Borrowdale

    • Hey David 🙂
      Hehe, I know right? Everyone keeps saying so!
      And your last statement is so true, that’s something I learnt, not trying is you failing before even giving it a shot, and that’s the worst!

  • Wonderful reminder that we are able to steer our minds in the direction we choose, but it is a daily struggle!

    Damiloves blog

    • Oh yes, we sure are capable of that.
      Like you said, definitely not easy,I agree.
      But the more we try to, the more times we actually can!

  • fear is one thing that comes in a great variety. What we do with it is as much different and in a great variety as well. My total instinct is to pray. Prayer makes me feel as ease and I know that with Him I can make it through.

    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

    • So true.
      I know praying about my insecurities and fear helped me get over them — prayer is always the answer, in any and every situation 🙂

  • You cannot get over a fear you cannot face–I loved this! Sometimes the scariest part is admitting our fears….once we allow that to happen we can take steps to conquer them! Thanks for this reminder!

    • Yup, it’s that first big step that’s everything!

      Thanks for dropping in, Allison 🙂

  • I really love the images GIFs you used to share your message- Gotta love Stewie! I find that having kids has caused me to forget my own fears and focus on a whole new set- for them! Crazy how life changes us!

    • Awwnn,I can only imagine.
      Like someone said, it’s all about recognizing those things that are more important than that fear — and then focusing on them!

  • Firstly, the invaluable lessons you learnt from your dad is beautiful. Secondly, that teddy puts fear in me! 🙂 That being said I agree that we are to confront our fears, because through prayer an perseverance, strength awaits us on the other side! Thanks for sharing!

    • 😀 😀 😀
      I dunno why, but I personally really like that teddy — not saying I want it though.
      Lool
      And yeah, prayers and perseverance really does go a long way.
      Thank you for reading, Nicole Glover 🙂

  • I want that teddy bear. It would keep my kids in line lol. I don’t have too many problems with fear. I do have a great therapist who helps me work through most everything. The only thing I truly fear is my mother. That’s a shame. I’m hoping to get past that someday.

    • Lool that’s just mean, momma 😀
      Good for you that you’ve got such a great therapist, and I personally think most of us grow up with a certain degree of fear for our mothers.
      Not that it’s the best thing, of course.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • So true, fear can literally take us over if we let. Time to conquer those fears and take charge of our lives. And I totally agree with the others, when in doubt, say a prayer. Cheers to you for being so wise beyond your years 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Dawn!
      That means a lot to me 🙂

  • Thanks for the encouragement and sharing your story of overcoming fear. It definitely is something that we all battle with at times.

    • Yeah, it is.
      The only difference is some of us just unfortunately never gather the courage to repeatedly face our fears.

  • Oh my goodness me this post was so good and such an important one to read. It’s amazing how powerful the mind is and how it’s our own minds that can create the biggest fears and problems that can haunt us if we allow it. Brilliant read!

    • True.
      Our minds can be that powerful if we don’t learn how to tame it — and it really needs us to.
      Thank you, Ellie!

  • I try and always face my fears. If I can, that is.

    • Yeah, sometimes it’s that first attempt that gives us the strength to take the next step.
      Thanks for stopping by, Amber Myers! 🙂

  • I think that Teddy bear is going to give me nightmares – eek! I really enjoyed reading your article and you certainly gave me a lot to think about. I love the Life of Pi quote. I think it’s such a good idea to post this close to Halloween – people are trying to look scary externally but the thing they are most afraid of is probably inside themselves. Good post!

    • And your comment definitely got me thinking!
      That’s so true, you know — the monsters and all that is being recreated outside, most often than not, all year round,resides right within!
      Hopefully, a lot of us confront those ones with courage too — thank you for such an insightful feedback 🙂

  • Nice first pic . You can face fears unless you confront them! GREAT post.

    • And they would never go away till you do.
      Thank you!

  • This is such a profound post! I really enjoyed reading every single lines on the post. I learned that fear is something that one must face rather than suppressed it. Otherwise, all the building up fears will come back in vengeance.

    • Exactly, piling it up in one corner and maybe even covering it up so it looks like it’s nonexistent never makes it go away.

  • I get that fear of failure, but living with the fact that you never even tried because of this fear is much worse. Besides, you’re only a failure if you give up trying. You’re not a loser if you fail…You’re a loser if you just give up trying.

    • Yup, that’s just something you won’t realize at first unfortunately.
      Fear has a way of blinding us from seeing a lot of those things.

  • Fear can completely take over if we let it. It’s hard to realize and take back control.

    • Yeah, it’s hard but it’s all about not giving up the battle 🙂

  • Very insightful and well thought-out post. I totally agree that facing them and being honest about yourself about it is the best way to deal and eventually get over fear. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Yup, being honest about those fears, most especially to yourself is important.
      No use denying it if it’s there.
      Thanks for reading!

  • I’m more than afraid of flying, but every time when I travel somewhere by plane I forget my fear at the middle of the flight. The most terrifying part is to actually get into the plane 😀
    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Lol such a great example 😀
      Thank you Jasmin N!

  • This is a powerful post.
    These words are encouraging.
    Thank you for sharing.
    And You’ve got a lovely blog too
    http://www.okoroyvonne.com

  • Nifesimi

    To confront fear isn’t easy tho….great write up all thesame Ima

    • Nah, it’s not Nife
      But it is always worth the try
      Thanks for reading as always 🙂

  • Hmmm, this is very nice. And nice blog

    http://www.liveinibadan.blogspot.com

  • Thanks for sharing this story. I’ve learned a lot! I really love your blog!!

    • I’m so glad you did, retlyn!
      And thank you so much for stopping by, I always appreciate that 🙂

  • You know what I learned about fear? Fear creates phantoms. Phantoms that makes things bigger and scarier than they are. In the last two years, I’ve been active in slaying my fears and I’ve seen phantoms vanish like puffs of smoke. This was an enlightening post. Thank you for sharing.

    • So on point!
      Our mind has an excellent way of picturing our fears in such gigantic ways, and if we don’t look closely or look at all, we’d always be stuck in that trap hole.
      Thank you for this, Carlana Charles.

  • I am glad your friend asked you to write this post. Such a great one! We all do have fears that we need to face and sometimes it’s not that easy and sometimes you wish you had faced them sooner.

    • Yeah, the earlier we confront them, the sooner we become liberated.
      Thanks for reading, Kari Ann!

  • A very interesting post!

    I know you must face a feat to get over it… but there are just one or two fears I can’t imagine properly facing, even if it meant getting over them.

    • Hehe
      Well, I firmly believe that nothing is impossible.
      Thank you for reading, Nikki-ann☺

  • Very inspiring post! Often fear is just an illusion and a bunch of what-ifs. It can be our worst enemy but overcoming our fear is very liberating. Better to have tried something than to have never known. Have a great weekend!

    • Very true.
      We never know our capacities and our strength until we exercise it
      Have a great weekend, Lydia ☺

  • Tara L

    I think it takes time for others and you cannot RUSH it with others because they will be more fearful just let them run there own course and it’ll be alright (: or that is just how I look at it.

    • Yeah, of course, I do agree with that.
      Facing your fears can never be rushed — that just makes it scarier.
      And it’s a personal decision that only you can choose to take.

  • Great post. Thanks so much for sharing this post on fear. You are right, fear keeps most living mediocre lives…yet life has so much to offer! Beyond fear is where life begins 🙂

    • Yup, that’s right!
      We can do so much more when we manage to put those fears aside.

  • DT

    Another great post! I love your blog and the way you write
    — DT | Here I Scribble

  • Definitely bookmarking this! Great read and post!

    • Thank you Nicky, that’s so nice to hear!

  • Nice post dear. Fear has relatives. When we allow one ,it solely opens door for another. Thanks for sharing your story with the business mind magazine… Nice to have you.

    • Exactly, it’s never a one man army.
      And thank you for the opportunity to do so, I truly appreciate it 🙂

  • This is such a relatable post. We create our own success but we also stand in the way of it. I totally agree with you on how we need to face our fears to overcome them. Step out of our comfort zones and do it! We will feel so much better afterwards! Ree love30

    • Yup, it’s so liberating!
      Thank you, Ree love30 🙂

  • Ope

    Fear has really killed me,will change for Good

    • Yeah, fear does has it’s way of paralyzing one.
      I hope you can Ope, thank you for stopping by!

  • Fear is just a shadow. You can see it, you can feel it but nothing more to it.
    I am reading this pretty late because I had a crazy weekend.
    Good bless you richly for sharing!

    • Yup, more like a mirage — move closer and you see less of what you thought was there.
      Thank you Tunji, always a blessing hearing from you 🙂

  • Wow. So true. So touching. So inspiring. Fearing failure and being afraid of success – I can relate those to some events from my own past. Loved your point on “it is what we choose to do about it”. Very well said. Love this. I’d love to share it with my friends who are going through this too – Thank you!

    • 🙂
      And I hope it’s of a lot of help to them too — thank you so much, Vaishnavi!

  • lex

    Confronting our fears is just the only wayout, no one can fight our fears better than us. Thanks for this post. Much needed.

    • Yup, it’s a personal thing you need to want for yourself.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Once we face our fears we realize that the dread is unwanted. Love the quote we were never meant to be mediocre and that our fears are often about the future. Loved the post!!

    • Yeah, and that’s the worse sort of fear in my perspective — fear of of the future, that is.
      We have no control over it, so best to simply stay hopeful and expect the best.

  • I get terrified whenever I see a lizard. I would cross the street if I see a huge iguana standing in the way. I just don’t like the site of those creatures.

    -Tione

    • Really
      I feel some sort of way for some creeping creatures too, it’s like how one feels when a nail is dragged against a board, my entire self just shudders uncontrollably, but I’m not sure it’s fear for me.
      More like I’m repulsed.

  • Wonderful post. I totally love how you say You cannot get over a fear you cannot face. So true. But it’s also hard. I think all struggle with a fear somehow. But it’s nice and inspirational to read this. And true, we shouldn’t be scared to be awesome!

    • Yup, glow like the stars we were all created to be 🙂
      And I agree, everyone of us struggles with some sort of fear — it’s simply learning how to be victorious, one fear at a time 🙂

  • Great post! Some things I don’t even classify as fear, are actually my biggest fears, like failure.

    • Lol, been there too
      It can be so tough owning up to them 🙂

  • Great advice on dealing with Fear. I don’t fear a lot, but I have always dealt with my fears head on, ignoring them or not dealing with them is not healthy. The old saying nothing to fear except fear its self!

    • Yup, old but pretty correct.
      Great to know you understand that 🙂

  • I very much agree that fear is the only true opponent we have which could destroy one’s life so easily. We always need to find ways to find some inspiration to make sure that fear does not go past our head anytime though it is going to be a time taking task! Thanks for inspiring.

    • Exactly, it’s not something that can be achieved in a day, but it’s totally worth it in the long run.

  • That is amazing how your father reacted!!! Fear is such a hard thing to face and to overcome too.

    • Yeah, it sure isn’t the easiest thing 🙂

  • Wow reading this spoke soooo much to me… I have dealt with the fear of failure (still am) and I know first hand how hard it is… I mean peeps tell you, how amazing you are and they think you just like hearing it when the truth is deep down you just don’t believe it enough, am you constantly compare yourself with other people… And you are like I wish I was tall like that guy or see how fine that short guy is, I wish I was like him.
    quIrksandoutfits.blogspot.com

    • Yeah, it’s so easy for us to fall into that habit of doubting and comparing and wondering if we’re good enough.
      We just need to remember that we’re more than enough and like someone said, the only competition to be looking at,is you,yesterday.

  • Loveeeeee it. I have been internally battling a couple fears that I gave myself until 2017 to conquer. You’re totally right on needing to wanting to conquer the fear for yourself. And I love that you added in the fact that we are all children of God needing to manifest in His glory. II love it sis.

    • Thank you!
      And yeah, we sure have been called to be children of the light, nothing less is expected from us.
      Thank you for reading, dear.

  • Inspiring post, was a great read

  • Elizabeth O.

    Fear can really pull us down and stop us from achieving our goals! This is something that I had to learn the hard way! I

    • So did I
      But sometimes that’s the best way to learn — hard and of course, not recommended, but it sends the message properly!

  • Most of the time, fear stops us from reaching our dreams. We have all these kinds of fears that blocks our mind and ruins our positive mind set and pulls us back to our starting point.

    • Yup
      Our fears can turn out to be such major barriers if we aren’t careful.

  • I have a strong fear of the unknown. How do I begin handling this? I feel like it’s holding me back from living to my fullest potential.

    • Fear of the future was a massive problem for me too, Stella.
      I think its just coming to understand that nobody can possibly know what would come tomorrow, and that’s okay!
      Its okay because tomorrow could turn out pretty well, and so instead we can choose to turn our “cluelessness” into hoping and trusting for the best.
      Anticipate good.
      It won’t be a smooth ride, but expecting anything negative won’t help either.
      Hope that helps a bit

  • Nice post! I have to say that I’m that weird potato who’s crazy scared of heights, but at the same time loves to climb on everything…. The problem occurs when I have to get down, somehow…
    Beside the heights problem, whenever I get scared or anxious, that fear quite soon turns into anger and when that happens I punch trough it (sometimes figuratively other times literaly)…..

    • Lool
      This cracked me up — I can only imagine how this must look!
      But I think I like the part of literally punching something though, awesome way to let out anger (long as it’s not a living thing at the receiving end☺
      Thank you Annie!