8 signs you’re letting fear guide you (and it’s holding you back)

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Every one of us is afraid of something – that’s normal. That’s what makes us human.

But when you let fear take the helm, it can cause some serious problems.

It can make you feel paralyzed. Paranoid. Overwhelmed. 

So, if you feel like you’ve been devoured by fear lately, let this article give you the comfort and assurance you need. 

As we face these fears, remember that you’re not alone. 

Below, we’ll be discussing some common signs that you’re letting your fear guide you and how it’s holding you back – signs that many of us also experience. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

1) You tend to be a perfectionist

Let’s face it – no one’s perfect. The essence of being human is found in our flaws and imperfections.

But you don’t really believe that, do you?

You spend hours on end polishing that one project, zooming in on every detail, making sure everything is just right.

Stop right there – you need to zoom out a little and see the big picture.

Don’t let the fear of making a mistake or not being good enough stop you from making something incredible.

Because incredible doesn’t have to mean perfect. Sometimes, it simply means embracing your flaws.

As Bob Ross would say, every “mistake” is but a “happy little accident.” 

Maybe it’s time to embrace the idea that sometimes, the mistakes you make along the way are beautiful. It’s what makes you unique. 

Don’t be afraid of making them!

2) You’re afraid of making mistakes

As someone who tends to be a perfectionist myself, I, too, find myself terrified of making mistakes. 

Sometimes, I can’t help but overthink: what if I make this mistake, and it creates a domino effect that leads to an absolute disaster? 

So, I guess I am quite qualified to tell you that when this happens, you need to pause, take a deep breath, and tell yourself: 

I don’t need to worry about things that haven’t happened yet.

As my favorite Hufflepufff would say: worrying means you suffer twice!

And sometimes, you don’t even end up making the mistake you’re worried about.

Which means you put yourself through something that’s not even real, and it’s just a waste of energy, isn’t it? 

If you get it, that means it’s time to overcome your fear of making mistakes and take a risk for once. 

3) You avoid taking risks 

In life, nothing is without risk.

Falling in love, changing career paths, even trying new food – none of it is without risk.

But do you really want to live your life forever afraid of crossing the bridge because you’re worried you won’t like what’s on the other side?

Because nothing could ever be perfect. Nothing could ever meet our expectations perfectly, and that’s okay.

In fact, mystery – the prospect of something new – that’s what makes life worth living

4) You’re indecisive

Having the option to choose is a wonderful gift that we often take for granted, because often, it feels more like a curse.

Because, when faced with too many choices, we end up paralyzed, unable to choose.

Maybe you don’t know which topping to put on your ice cream in the ice cream bar. 

Maybe you spend too much time picking a show to watch on Netflix before bed. 

Or maybe you have trouble choosing what to eat for lunch and dinner every day because there’s too many food choices, but you don’t want to eat any of them, really. 

And it’s all because of one thing – because we’re afraid of making the wrong choice.

We think: what if I choose to eat this food and end up being absolutely disgusted by it? 

Well, here’s an alternative: what if you try something new and end up actually liking it? What if the food you’re afraid of trying becomes your next favorite? 

Because that’s the beauty of something new – we won’t know we like it, until we actually try it. 

And it’s only when we try something new that we’re able to kick ourselves out of a rut we might’ve gotten stuck in.

5) You’re stuck in a rut

Does every day feel like deja vu for you? 

Same old morning routine, same old food, same old clothes, same old people…

Constant is comforting, and it’s hard to admit, but now it’s starting to feel…quite boring.

Well, if you feel stuck in a rut, that’s a sign that you might be letting fear take control of you – nothing’s new, because you’re too afraid to try anything new.

When you let fear take charge, it will only convince you to stick with what’s comfortable and familiar, even if it’s not making you happy. 

But here’s the thing: you’ll never find the happiness you look for if you stay in the same place that’s making you miserable.

If you have the chance to break free, why not take it? 

I know it’s scary to get out of your comfort zone, but once you find the courage to do so, you might just get the happiness that you long for.

More importantly, when you break out of your comfort zone, you’re basically telling the world that you’re not settling for anything less than you deserve.

6) You’ve settled (for less)

Often, when you’re stuck in a rut, it’s because you’re settling unknowingly.

So, if you find that you haven’t gone out of your comfort zone lately, it’s a sign that you’re settling for the same old thing. 

Because even if staying in it makes you unhappy, you’re too afraid of the discomfort that comes with change to get out of it. 

But if you really want to change your life, it’s time to take the risk – to stand up for yourself and tell the world that you deserve more than the life you’re currently living.

It’s not easy, I know. It doesn’t only take time and energy – it also takes money. 

That’s why it’s important to take baby steps. Take it one day at a time. 

And slowly, you will find that you’re miles away from where you started. You will find that you’re achieving your dreams one by one. 

I know that the first step is the scariest – that’s why I’m here to tell you that once you take that first step forward, it gets easier and easier as you go. 

7) You don’t know how to say no

“No” seems like such an easy word to say – not even more than one syllable. Doesn’t take much energy. Rolls of the tongue.

But sometimes, it’s just so hard. 

Someone could ask you to help them move out from one city to the next that is miles and miles away, and you find yourself wanting to say, “No – no. God, NO!” 

But instead, you say a meek, small, “yes. I’ll help.”

And then you end up miserable and ten-times tired because you agreed to something you never wanted to do to begin with.

As someone who used to have so much trouble saying no to things, I know it stemmed from my deep-seated fear of being a disappointment.

I always wanted to be my parents’ perfect little girl who makes no mistakes, so my inability to say no to them means I grew up being unable to say no to other people.

But learning to say no is an incredibly necessary thing for you to learn. You need to assert your boundaries, to respect yourself a little more.

It’s tough, I know.

But if you refuse to learn it, you will only end up stressed and miserable all the time with absolutely no personal time because you’ve spent it all saying yes to everything.

8) You’re always stressed

You feel it – you’re constantly, undeniably stressed, and it manifests everywhere:

You snap at your friends.

You get annoyed by the tiniest inconveniences.

You hate the slightest disturbances when you’re working.

But you can’t quite put a finger on why. 

Well, the reason might be fear and anxiety.

On your mind is nothing but a long, ongoing list of the things you need to do. 

You find it hard to relax because you fear your life is going to end up in a big, dumpster fire if you fail to accomplish even just one task.

When this happens, try to pause and take a deep breath. Then, remember that you need to take it one at a time. 

There’s lots of things to do, but it won’t help you finish anything if you’re overwhelmed by the number of tasks you need to accomplish. 

At the end of the day, you’re only one person. You deserve some rest and relaxation.

So, cut yourself some slack – you deserve it. 

Final thoughts

Fear is a natural part of being human, for sure. It’s something we can’t erase, something we can’t purge out of our systems. 

That’s because it’s necessary; because without fear, there would be no excitement – no joy in the life we live.

The important thing is to recognize when it’s taking control over your life.

So, don’t let fear control you – train yourself so you control it. As with every emotion, life becomes easier when you become the master of it.

And once you do, I swear, life will become so much better for you. 

Because once you cross that bridge, you’ll find happiness and peace waiting on the other side. 

Joyce Ann Isidro

Joyce is a writer who believes in the power of storytelling and changing lives by writing stories about love, relationships, and spirituality. A bookworm and art enthusiast, she considers herself a creative-at-heart who likes to satisfy her childish wonder through new hobbies and experiences.

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