How to Recognize Fear: Fear Facts Part I

by Melody Jean

Have you ever envisioned something you’d love to do …  join a club, pick-up a hobby, apply for a new job, lose some weight, change your eating habits, sell your house, move to another city, or some other goal; yet try as you might, you just can’t seem to summon-up the energy or courage to make it happen? If so, it could be because of one simple little word – fear.

The Mother of All Obstacles

Fear is the mother of all obstacles, the road-blocker, and a heart-stopper. Fear immobilizes and hinders you from reaching your full potential. It’s extremely common, yet most don’t even recognize that fear is the number one barrier and the very reason that they just can’t seem to accomplish everything (or anything) intended. I am not talking about ‘phobias’ either, such as fear of flying, spiders, and social situations. It is much deeper and less apparent than that. Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of the unknown, fear of being embarrassed, rejected, frowned upon, appearing stupid, naïve or even get this – fear of success!

It’s hard to imagine that one teeny-tiny, little, miniscule word can affect so many, and ultimately stop them from reaching their dreams. Yet, fear is so much more than a single word. Therefore, if you can learn to recognize your fear(s) and how to overcome or disarm them, you will prevail. This post, the first of a two-part series, explores how to recognize fear, and the second post, How to Overcome Fear: Fear Facts Part II will focus on moving beyond it. I share these posts, filled with pearls that I’ve picked up along my journey, in the hopes that I will help my fellow seekers to overcome in some way – so read up!

Fear Is Not Apparent

Most who suffer from fear, do so subconsciously – meaning that if you want something you most likely aren’t consciously just not doing it (i.e. losing weight, or completing an application for employment). It’s usually because a fear of some kind is blocking you from doing so, and therefore, you keep putting off starting a diet or find something else to do instead. While others such as your family and friends may think that you lack ambition or just don’t care about anything, the real problem could in fact be that you are fearful.

False Expectations Appearing Real

There is an acronym for F.E.A.R … False Expectations Appearing Real. Think about that for a moment. What can this possibly mean? Well, if you believe a certain outcome will take place, such as you will not get the job even if you applied, or that someone who you find attractive will not reciprocate the feelings, you in fact expect it to happen. Further these scenarios probably appear to be extremely real, almost unavoidable, so they’re scary. Therefore, rather than take a risk and apply for the job, or inform the apple of your eye that you’re interested, you blow it off entirely. Yet, you have to realize one thing: there really are no guarantees that these situations will turn out the way you expect. Therefore your expectations are in fact false! Well at least until proved otherwise, but you have try first to see how it will play out. So basically in creating these horrible scenarios, you are actually creating false expectations, which appear real.

Recognizing Fear

So how do you know if the reason you are not fulfilling your ultimate potential is as a result of fear? A good approach, I think, is to examine the situation and yourself.  Nobody can tell you for sure. A good exercise is to examine your motives.

For example, why won’t you apply for a new job? Is it because you don’t think that you will get chosen and you will let your family or yourself down? Or worse everyone will know that you didn’t even garner an interview? Possibly you think that even if you get an interview you won’t be able to commit the time necessary to prepare adequately? Or you may believe that in the end, you will not get the job, so why even bother?

This scenario is riddled with fear – fear of failure, success, embarrassment, letting others down, among several others. As you can see it is endless. If you examine your motives or WHY you are choosing not to do something, then you will be able to determine if fear is blocking your path. Once this is done, you will then be able to address your said fear and move beyond and reach your full potential.

Check back for the follow-up article How to Overcome Fear: Fear Facts Part II to learn how to disarm and move beyond your fear.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }


I’m afraid to read further….


Melody Jean

Hahaha, Mike! Good one! I promise to not scare you 🙂


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