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I’ve been paralyzed by fear, but she doesn’t control me anymore.

February 11, 2011

Fear used to be a constant companion. A chronic condition.

Fear accompanied me every waking hour. She was an uninvited houseguest who just wouldn’t leave. At some point, I stopped fighting Fear.

I didn’t invite her in, but I didn’t ask her to leave either. So, there she was taking up precious space in my life. Like a parasite, she began to consume more and more energy. My energy.

And as she zapped my reserves, she grew. Fear of money. Fear of failure. Fear of never being good enough. Fear of being unliked, unloved and unlovable. Fear of being alone for my whole life. Fear that I would always be depressed.

Fear & depression are old friends. Together, they can work a number on you.

Fear overwhelmed me. She constricted me and kept me tightly wound. Bound.

Fear isolated me. She exhausted me. The more I gave to her, the less I had for myself. I spent many nights languishing in my bed, cycling through all of my fears for hours on end.

One day as I was crawling out of depression, desperate for happiness or at least to be the opposite of detached, I realized that I had given Fear permission.

I had allowed her to rule me. And the only way forward was to assert some boundaries to free her stranglehold.

First, I vowed not to let Fear to silence me anymore. Fear gets uncomfortable when you talk about her. Her power diminishes. I opened up about my fears. In small whispers, then calmly and steadily.

I learned how to move forward with Fear. Despite Fear I took baby steps in the direction of my dreams. As I grew more confident, so did our distance.

I began talking back to Fear. When she told me I’d never find happiness, I questioned her authority. So, like, now you know the future, Fear? You’re, like, some sort of psychic fortuneteller? Didn’t think so.

Now, Fear stays away most of the time. She creeps back in when I’m about to make a big change or start something new. But, I know to expect her visits. I’m more prepared for her.

I know she won’t ever permanently go away, but I’m happy she’s taken up primary residence elsewhere.


This post was inspired by Fear, Exposed – a series by the lovely Ashley Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project. If you’re not already following Ash, then no time like the present. She’s a powerhouse.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2011 8:26 pm

    I like your thinking here–your Fear reminds me of a very bad house guest I had once (yes, ONCE). She came for a one-night, emergency-basis stay that turned into daily negotiations for the next night until the fourth morning. If I could have packed her bags for her, they’d’ve been waiting at the door with breakfast to-go. There was an ugly part of Fear that spoke to me about kindness, my reputation, what it meant to be a friend, you know the sound of that one. Then, I realized my guest was the external manifestation of my Fear chorus. She represented the OTHER bad decisions I’d been making in my life and my biz. When she left the morning of day four, so did two clients (I fired them), and one project I was working on for three bad reasons. FYEW.

    Trust yourself and kick that unwanted house guest OUT (day two if you can manage it!).

    • February 12, 2011 11:35 pm

      “Then, I realized my guest was the external manifestation of my Fear chorus.”

      YES! Once you let her get going, she permeates everything! Everything. How we treat ourselves is connected to how others treat us, the type of work + love we think we deserve and therefore attract.

      If only we’d all give ourselves permission to be kinder, gentler, more generous with ourselves. Shaping our self-talk has such dramatic effects in our external lives!


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