2. Fear Survey
In the interest of finding out what people fear and how they deal with that fear, a personal survey was offered to anyone who would respond in a post on Facebook. The question posed was: What is your biggest fear and how are you pushing through it, going around it or sitting with it? Most responses were personal and in depth and, surprisingly, many were similar.
There were thirteen responses to the survey. Three of those responses talked about the fear of time running out and not being able to have enough time left in their life to do what they want to do. Because of the fear, they are not really enjoying life right now because they are overextending themselves to fit everything in. In those situations, one had survived breast cancer fifteen years ago and had just had her fiftieth birthday. The other two had people close to them die and it had given them a fear that time is short and they needed to get everything in before they die.
In the rest of the responses, a common thread appeared of the fear of not being good enough or being a disappointment to the person themselves or, mostly, others. One survey taker is the youngest in their family and they felt like no one in the family ever let them grow up and always treat them like a child. They said they felt like they were always a disappoint to their parents because they were never as accomplished as their siblings and that perception now holds them back from moving forward. They don’t feel support from their family nor do they feel like anything they do would change their parents’/siblings’ perception.
Another response was how the survey taker’s mother had been an alcoholic and they were always afraid of becoming one – which they eventually did. It seems that the fear of not wanting to become like their mother and giving that much weight to it actually manifested itself to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, the person has lost their house because of it, has not worked for over a year, and has a strained relationship with their spouse, but has been in recovery and is working on recovery. The fear still is there that the person will go back to their addiction and that they aren’t strong enough or good enough to be anything else, therefore being stuck and unable to move forward.
What was learned from the survey is that many people fear that they aren’t good enough or don’t (or ever will) measure up to others expectations. These fears feel real although the fear does not pose an imminent or immediate danger. Many of our fears are imagined fears and there is a difference between healthy fears and unhealthy fears.
3. How to Separate the Healthy Fear from Unhealthy Fear
Separate the voices of healthy and unhealthy fear. Listen carefully to and follow the wise counsel of the healthy fear. Tell the unhealthy fear to sit down and shut up.
A healthy fear will keep you alert and motivated. Examples of healthy fear are: Fearing that if you smoke it could cause cancer so you don’t smoke, fearing that if you don’t work and sit on the couch all day that your bills won’t get paid and you will lose your house, fear that you may lose those that you love so you spend more time with them. Healthy fear makes you really think about what decisions are appropriate for your life and are helpful.
An unhealthy fear will cause you to stagnate and it will become a disruptive part of your life. Some examples of unhealthy fear are: Fear of never being able to lose weight even though it is unhealthy so you don’t even try, fear of your boss rejecting any ideas that you have to better your job or the business so you never tell them, fear of being rejected or losing someone you love so you never let anyone get close to you. Unhealthy fear is more of a response to an imagined danger and its root is irrational and instead of taking action to avoid an unpleasant outcome or circumstance, it stops the person from moving forward at all – keeping them stuck.