Is Your Fear Holding You Back?

Fear is part of human nature. It’s a necessary emotion designed to keep us from harm. But what about FEAR that holds us back from trying, challenging, leaving, starting, knowing, believing…?  It stops us. It causes doubt and hesitation.  We need to overcome it to meet the challenge, to try that thing, to go forward and take the next step. It’s scary but it can be done.

image source: daily
image source: daily

I’ll never forget the feeling of fear that I had when I walked into the court room the day of my divorce appeal. I knew I would be facing not one judge but THREE. Was I scared? Hell ya! Most of my work was done ahead of time with the written responses submitted and filed in the court house two months earlier but I still had to face the Judges.  It was time to make verbal submissions. Anyone who fears public speaking would find this task daunting.

I had my notes written and prepared on note cards. That’s how I learned public speaking in University. It sounds out dated now but when I presented with those cards in class, I rocked. I got straight A’s. Okay, maybe not STRAIGHT ones—I exaggerate. The point is, that my previous experience gave me a little confidence in the court room. It helped me manage an intimidating and fear inducing situation.

There’s the other kind of fear too, the kind that stops you in your tracks. You can’t move for a split second. I experienced that too. Then your fight or flight kicks in and you do what you have to in order to survive.

It was still dark at 5:00 am on a winter morning. That’s when my shift started at the downtown YMCA on Wednesdays. I knew a ‘short cut’ and I took it. I would learn in a split second that short cuts aren’t always the best route to take. It’s safer to take the long way sometimes.

I found myself face to face with two men who were undoubtedly drunk or high. It was in a stairwell of a hotel corridor (a terrible short cut) and I could either turn back the way I had come or continue out the other door. When these two men took a step in my direction I made a decision to move forward without showing fear (my instincts told me if I turned back I would become prey). Once out the door, my flight instinct kicked in. I ran as fast as my legs could take me. I refused to look behind me, for fear they were on my heels when I ran down the dark alley. If only I had taken the long way. I reached the back door and prayed the door was unlocked. As fate would have it, the janitor was within sight. He saw me through the small window as I pounded desperately on the door. He opened the door for me as I buckled over, out of breath and my heart pounding out of my chest. That was true, biological fear.

That’s the kind of fear that can save you. Fight or flight.

What about the fear that comes from out of the blue? The fear of what might be or the what ‘ifs’ we play over in our minds. Fear over future events that may or may not happen. What all of these fears have in common is that they can be managed.

Sometimes we have people in our life who play on our fears. They use their power to intimidate and threaten us. These fear inducing people in position of power cause great anxiety. It may be a boss, a spouse, an ex-spouse, a ‘friend’. The trick is to recognize when and why it’s happening as well as who is making it happen. Once we isolate these variables we can work on controlling the fear.

Ultimately, we don’t want to live in fear as it leads to poor health, bad decisions and overall unhappiness.

Fear can be overcome. It can be managed so that we get unstuck, unfrozen and move forward. Don’t let fear hold you back. How? Let me introduce you to Jodi Aman, Psychotherapist. Jodi has dedicated her life to helping people heal physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. She’s the real deal. Jodi has free videos for her program Give Fear The Boot. You can get started by watching first one   here

and the 2nd video here          the 3rd video here

I was happy to share and promote this class with Jodi as I know from experience how fear can STOP us from reaching our goals and keep us FROZEN in situations that make us unhappy. Divorce is one such event that takes great courage. Overcoming those fears whether they are induced by our own or someone else’s behavior, can free us up to finally live authentically and with happiness.

Take control of your fear. Begin trying, challenging, leaving, starting, knowing, believing…

Have you experienced fear? Is fear holding you back?


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36 Replies to “Is Your Fear Holding You Back?”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    That is a captivating description of your fears. I can’t remember such intense moments of fear or may be I have been very lucky that I didn’t come across such terrifying moments. But the intimidation and the controlling situations….those I could fight very well and I feel I have vanquished most of such fears.

    Thanks for sharing those thoughts, it really gives a feeling of exhilaration when we look back and realise how much we have conquered!

    1. Thanks, Balroop! It’s true when we look back we see how brave we were in our fearful moments and that will help give us confidence to move forward. Good for you for finding your courage and not letting those people cause you fear. Thanks for sharing here 🙂

  2. Fear used to hold me back and keep me from pursuing healthier relationships with friends neighbors and relatives as well as causing me to cave in to a manipulative husband and several narcissistic bosses.
    I was raised to be a people pleaser and by my 40s this was seriously taking its toll on my health, emotional state and my stress levels.
    I was very familiar with fear- but risk taking, building my confidence and setting firm boundaries were all new to me and terrifying at first.
    Now I Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!

  3. Very powerful post Lisa. I can remember feeling FEAR in several instances in my younger days and yes, it did hold me back. I’m not exactly sure when my turning point was but I don’t allow it to hold me back (as much) now.

    I’m glad you were able to push forward and kick ass gf!


  4. Fear has definitely stopped me from doing things in my life, but I shouldn’t. Thanks for telling us about Jodi’s course. It’ll help a lot of people.

    1. Thanks, Chrys! We all let fear get the better of us sometimes. If we can learn to manage it, we can be happier and more free. I think you’re brave. You’re heroines are also very brave!!

  5. Your vivid descriptions of fear made my heart quicken! For me, the time in my life when I felt most afraid was a few years back when I couldn’t talk or use my hands for over 2 years. I thought I’d never again be able to communicate with the people I love or contribute to this world. It’s still vaguely haunting at times, but fortunately most of the time I feel this I know it’s a sign I need to take some positive action.

    1. That must have been terrible, AJ! I can’t imagine the vulnerability you must have felt. Thanks for sharing your experience here. I hope you find Jodi’s videos helpful!

  6. I grew up in a verbally abusive and controlling home so fear is all I knew. It wasn’t until I moved out from that atmosphere that I didn’t have to live that way…
    …fast forward many years nursing degree…running a level one trauma ER… I got postpartum depression that turned into bipolar with anxiety disorder…wham…I’m a work in progress 😉

    1. No doubt that childhood environment has contributed to the depression and bipolar anxiety. It’s years of build up. Where does that abuse go? Into the psyche, I think. I didn’t know you were (are) an ER nurse, Kim. That’s quite the high stress work! You obviously can handle a high level of stress. Thanks for sharing here!

  7. geeeeze lisa that would have totally freaked me out! scary!!!!!!

    i’ve been froze in fear so many times in my life.
    i deal with keeping anxiety attacks in check and push through. i’m very sensitive to stress and change.

    just this last week i had to tell myself because of some news i received… this is a life situation, it feels shitty and awful but you will push through it. it will be fine. you’ll be a better person on the lessons learned on the flip side of this thing.

    these little pep talks help me put things in perspective when things feel like they’re spinning out of control.

    1. Probably one of my scariest moments as far as physical safety goes. I don’t think the jokers followed me but I wasn’t sure at the time. It all happened within a few minutes but it felt much longer.

      I hope everything is okay, Tracie. That’s great that you can talk yourself out of the stress reaction and keep perspective. I think that’s awesome. It sounds like a ‘take a deep breath’ moment and tell yourself “it’ll all be alright” (just like Jewel says). 90% of what happens to us is our reaction. Sending hugs across the Atlantic! xo

      1. thanks lisa 🙂
        i’ll be fine. like i said change and stress are real triggers for me.
        timely for you to post about the anxiety series. i watched a bit of that last night. will be watching more of that this week.i can always use more tools for my tool box! it all helps. x+o

        1. I’m glad you checked out the videos, Tracie. Jodi is an awesome inspiration and yes, a perfect addition to the ‘toolbox’. xo

  8. yes. Just yes. Sometimes I get that biological fear feeling. The fight or flight. But when it’s not even logical. Weird triggers. That’s anxiety, though. I’m getting better at separating the two and not being held back by it all.

    1. That’s scary, Tamara. Fight or flight is an intense reaction. I’m glad it’s getting better. Jodi talks about managing anxiety in her video. You might find it helpful 🙂

  9. Hi Lisa

    Very thought provoking post and you well described how fear logjams our passion and we despite a big start to do something great fail to stand up and remain in planning phase.

    Fear in a limit may bring on caution but its being unlimited means a person offers ifs and buts whenever he needs to take an initiative.

    I appreciate the story you mentioned in this post that is full of inspiration and means a lot to those who want to overcome fear factor to come out of the box and do something remarkabke.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this very lovely post.

    1. Thanks, Mi Muba. You’re right that too much fear causes major problems in achieving our dreams. The topic resonates with many of us. 🙂

  10. Hi, Lisa!
    Great post! Fear can play a huge factor in how we live – or don’t live – our lives. And, like you, I’m not talking about that instinctive fight-or-flight fear; I’m talking about that wonder-if fear that comes from worrying, and from imagining the worst (over and over and over again).
    I don’t tend to worry like I used to. I’m in-tune enough to determine what’s a real fear and what isn’t. And yet, being a human with an ego, fear still rears its head now and again. So I continue to work on it, and be gentle with myself in the process.
    Peace. ~Ellen

    1. Worrying and obsessing over the past or the future are of course, pointless but still we do it. When it takes over though we have to make a change. Sounds like you are in tune with this Ellen and managing to keep fear in check. Being ‘gentle’ is important. Thanks for your contribution to the conversation. 🙂

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this, Lisa. While I was away I realized how much fear plays a role in dictating my life’s decisions. I don’t want to live that way any longer. Granted, there’s not much we can do in terms of the flight/fight response when it comes but there are techniques to manage how we react to it.

    Great post 🙂 Hope you have a lovely week, my sweet friend! XOXO

    1. So true, Charlotte. The first step is realizing how much fear dictates our decisions, so you’re half way there 🙂
      I look forward to hearing all about your solo trip! Hey, that takes courage right there. Traveling alone to where most people go as couples and enjoying solitude!

  12. Great post, Lisa! I deeply sympathize with the fear…and have experienced all of it’s gnarly effects. Blarggh. Your post, i think, will help your readers (me included!) embrace our fears, or at least step outside of them a little bit, and inspire us all to be a little bit more brave. Like you. 🙂

    1. Aw, thanks Jane! All it takes is trying the one thing we fear (anything) and then realizing we can do it and hey, self confidence and empowerment follow. You’re the brave one!!

  13. Hi Lisa,
    I am first time visiting on your blog and got so impressed. 🙂
    What a nicely and well written post indeed.
    Really fear is the part of a human nature but we have to come out from it.If we want to be happy in our life.
    Thanks for sharing the wonderful post…..please keep posting such article.
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