What Are You Afraid Of?

Whether we’re afraid of public speaking, spiders, the death of a loved one, or something more unusual, we all hold on to certain fears that we resist facing. It’s natural to shrink from them, and some fears – like spiders – are just plain hard to be proactive about conquering.

Others, however, stem from half-truths we believe about ourselves or a situation, and they’re something we can work on.

But what does it take to release the grip these beliefs have on us? When we distort the truth of a situation in our mind, we prevent ourselves from reaching our true potential and achieving our dreams. Perhaps we’ve been wanting to quit our job, go back to school, change our major, or step into a new relationship, but we feel overwhelmed or incapable of doing so. In order to overcome these fears, we must ask: What lies are we telling ourselves that are keeping us from doing these things?

As a writer, I’ve often struggled with the fear that I have nothing new or insightful to share, feeling as if the things I write are not capable of resonating with or encouraging others. In fact, for a long time these thoughts prevented me from writing altogether. It wasn’t until I voiced these fears aloud to a few mentors that I was able to detangle the half-truths I’d been telling myself and to recognize what makes my voice and perspective a unique one.

No matter what fear we wish to face — writing or otherwise — we must first recognize its root. In many cases, our fears stem from beliefs not about who we are, but about who we’re not. We’re afraid of overcoming something or pursuing our dreams because we just can’t fathom that we could ever be the kind of people capable of achieving those things. Discussing these doubts out loud with a trusted friend or mentor, however, is useful for bringing our thoughts to light and providing an objective look at both ourselves and our situation, while also giving us the encouragement we need to move past our fear. Once we acknowledge what it is we’ve been avoiding, we can then make a plan to face it, taking one small step and then another until ultimately, we’ll find we’ve overcome it.

Unless we intentionally and directly face our fears, we’ll never be able to go beyond our perceived limitations and accomplish our dreams. In writer Joseph Campbell’s words,

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

What fears are you holding onto right now? What’s preventing you from overcoming them? Write them below in declaration of facing them.

Image via Lisa Diederich



Amy is a writer and marketing professional based in Los Angeles. She is passionate about creating meaningful dialogue and empowering women through her writing, which has been featured on The Huffington Post, Grit & Virtue, and Milk & Honey Magazine, among other blogs and websites.

9 COMMENTS
  • Chloe September 19, 2015

    Hi, this is a great piece of sharing. I’m a student, I have fears of failing my papers that would cause me to drop out of school. It’s really scary at times, because many people in my society could do well in their exams and get a nice and useful cert in the University. However, it’s great that this post has taught me the lessons of letting go of my fears and explore the different pathways that might be more suitable for me. Dare to venture different kinds of routes and I might find myself happier. It’s never the end, anyway.

    • Amy Cummins September 20, 2015

      Hi Chloe! I’m so happy you found this article helpful. It’s never easy to surrender our fears, but often that’s the only way for us to journey forward. Best wishes to you!

  • Christine N. August 3, 2015

    I fear people who are rude and extremely judgmental. I fear the thought of not being liked. This fear of mine has held me back from making new and better friends because i’m scared that they will think i’m annoying or stupid. This fear of mine also has to do with my lack of confidence but thanks to some amazing quotes and inspiration I’ve learned that: “Confidence is not about everyone liking you it’s about being ok with those who don’t”. So i hope to make some great close friends this school year.

  • Sami July 8, 2015

    I loved this! Certainly stumbled upon it at the right time. I am afraid of taking things for granted- you know, reluctant to admit a job or a relationship might not be working for fear that I’m under-appreciating what I have. That Campbell quote really rang true, thank you!

    • Amy Cummins July 8, 2015

      Thank you so much for your comment, Sami! Your kind words are truly appreciated, and I love your insight about how the fear of being ungrateful can hold us back in life. It can definitely be hard to move forward when we recognize how blessed we are, and yet, sometimes it’s necessary for us to let go of something good in order to make room for something even better. Best of luck to you!

  • Allie June 1, 2015

    One thing I fear a lot if I bother people and the guy I like and I have been talking to lately. When I was kid people would say Allie stop bothering me. But with the guy I like and I have been talking to I write him text message he writes me back with pretty long text back. We text a couple days in row then we stop for about a week. Then we will text each other a week later. I do want to date him. But I rather take things slow and get to know each other. 🙂 I don’t want to have fear letting something good go away. Also my other fear is my movement not doing well. It something I have struggle with for years. :/ you can go on my website and look.

  • Elizabeth May 28, 2015

    I just moved to a new city, and I am facing my fears of having to make totally new friends and push myself into uncomfortable situations even when I feel insecure.

  • Heather H May 25, 2015

    I am afraid of writing as well. I have been in the process of trying to write a book the last couple months and it has been really difficult for me to do because of fears and doubts. I also feel like I am supposed to speak up about serious injustice and need boldness to do so.

    • Amy Cummins May 29, 2015

      That’s incredible, Heather! I can’t imagine how daunting writing a book must feel, but it sounds like you have a message you need to share and I know you have the passion and ability to do it. Wishing you good luck and encouragement!

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