This is one of the first chapters that was cut from the currently pending publication, but the answers were so interesting I thought I’d share.
Overwhelmingly, crossing genders, ages, locations, sexual orientation and any other subgroup I’ve failed to mention, the main fear everyone expressed was fear of failure. Coming in at second were the “not enough” demons – the ones that make you think you’re not good enough, or you don’t have enough of whatever (love, money, success, etc.).
Just a note – we all think we’re not good enough at some point, and we all wish for more. I think that it’s part of the human condition that we feel this way; fear is educational. You learn what you’re capable of and what you’re willing to face. All fears are valid, nothing is trivialized here, so with an open heart and mind here’s what some of our peers in this world had to say on the subject.
Fear of failure – I always hesitate and feel like I’m just on the edge of success and my fear of failure holds me back. I think I’m not worthy of success or that I can’t handle success.
– Nicole Delacroix, F, USA, Atlanta GA, 29 until I tell you otherwise, Straight and single, Aries
– M, USA, 38, Heterosexual and Married, Gemini
– F, USA, Straight and Single
– M, USA, 38, Straight and Married, Aquarius
– Genderqueer person w/ a vagina, Ireland, 26, Queer/Pansex and Married
– M, Estonia, 22, Straight and Single
– M, Australia, 21, Gay in a Relationship, Pisces
– M, Canada, 21, Straight and Single
– M, USA, 24, Straight in a Long-Term Relationship
– F, USA, 31, Straight and Living in Sin, Libra
– CIS F, USA, 24, Bisexual in a Poly Rel/Engaged, Taurus
– M, USA, 30, Straight and Engaged, Pisces
– M, Denmark, 27, Straight and part of a Couple, Gemini
– F, USA, Bisexual and Single
– F, Canada, 37, Heterosexual and Engaged for 17 yrs., Scorpio
– M, USA, 37, Straight and Married, Aries
– F, USA, 54, Heterosexual and Married, Virgo
I’m afraid that I’m not good enough to do anything better with my life. So, I guess, failure.
– F, USA, 21, Straight in a committed relationship, Libra
Fear of appearing socially awkward.
– F, Australia, 27, Mostly heterosexual in a serious long-term relationship, Aries
I have this fear myself. I usually end up tripping over my own two feet and fall on my face. Thanks, Universe, I appreciate the way you kick me when I’m down.
– F, USA, 33, Straight and Single, Aries
The fear of going for what I want with everything in me.
– F, USA, 18, Bi-curious and dating, Cancer
The fear of never being loved back. Of growing old and dying alone.
– M, USA, 18, Bisexual and Single, Virgo
Everyone is loved, it may not be the love you desire, but I assure you, it’s the only love you need.
The fear of being loyal.
– F, USA, 27, Straight and Engaged, Capricorn
Fear of retaliation and the unknown.
– F, USA, Pansexual and Single but living with Ex, Gemini
Fear of not being good enough.
– F, Ireland, 28, Straight and Married, Sagittarius
Failing. I can’t quite bear to think that my best might not be good enough.
– F, Wales, 23, Heterosexual and Single, Pisces
Not having enough money.
– F, Wales, 20, Bisexual and Living with Boyfriend, Gemini
– F, Wales, 26, Straight in a Long Term Relationship, Taurus
– F, England, 31, Straight in a Relationship, Gemini
Being committed to anything but myself.
– F, Wales, 20, Straight and Single
– F, England, 24, Taken, Capricorn
Being safe and escaping death.
– F, China, Straight and in a Relationship, Virgo
Death is not the end. Death is birth into the next phase.
Fear of being alone. This stops me from exploring this world because I’m scared to do it on my own.
– F, The Netherlands, 22, Heterosexual and Single, Capricorn
Fear of failure. Or even fear of doing something sub-optimal.
– M, USA, 28, Mostly straight and Seeing Someone
The fear of breaking up with my girlfriend because she’s crazy and crazy in love. I’m afraid she’ll kill herself or something if I leave so I just wait it out and told her we won’t be together when we leave for college in a few months. This made it worse.
– M, USA, 18, Straight and in a Relationship yet unfaithful, Virgo
I have an extreme fear of being wrong or misunderstood. I’m working on it but it sometimes prevents me from sharing my full opinion in real time.
– F, USA, 22, Grayscale and in a Relationship for over a year, Aries
Not knowing what my career should be. It was all mapped out for me and I got injured so I can no longer do what I trained to do therefore I don’t know what I’m meant to be doing anymore!
– F, England, 27, Bisexual in a Straight Monogamous Relationship, Cancer
You’ve got an opportunity to be anything else you want to be! Sometimes the best plans are the ones you don’t make.
The fear of being judged.
– F, USA, 20, Mostly Straight and Taken, Cancer
I am afraid of driving. I still do it and I do it well, but I get extreme anxiety before that makes it near impossible to go through with.
– F, USA, Heterosexual and Married
Fear of over commitment.
– F, USA, 19 Heterosexual and Single, Libra
My husband not supporting me.
– F, USA, 28, Straight and Married
– M, USA, 37, Straight and Married, Libra
Fear of failure of rejection.
– F, USA, 19, Straight and Single, Aquarius
There is nothing I fear. I am currently fearless, nothing is holding me back.
– F, Chile, 22, Heterosexual and Single, Sagittarius
The fear of making mistakes; the fear of losing people’s respect or looking like a fool.
– Transgender M, USA, 29, Bisexual with a strong preference for men in a Long Term Committed Relationship, Gemini
There is only one person’s respect you ever need… yours.
Not having control of myself/my body.
– F, USA, 18, Straight and in a Committed Relationship, Virgo
Body image issues.
– F, USA, 19, Straight in a Relationship, Taurus
– F, USA, 19, Straight in a Relationship, Aries
– M, Canada, 21, Straight with a Girlfriend
If I ask someone for help they’ll look down on me for it.
– M, USA, 20, Straight and Dating
Asking for help is a symbol of strength, you know your limits and aren’t afraid to ask for help. Embrace it.
Fear of responsibility.
– M, USA, 25, Straight and In a Relationship
I fear not having any plan at all for the future.
– M, USA, 18, Straight and Single, Cancer
My parents. I don’t want to disappoint them. I fear not having their approval.
– F, USA, 23, Straight and in a Monogamous Relationship, Aquarius
I think every child feels this way about their parent(s). If you do what you know in your heart is right, you won’t need anyone’s approval.
Fear of rejection.
– F, USA, 20, Straight but has experimented and Single, Leo
– F, Canada, 20, Pansexual and Single, Cancer
Fear of judgment.
– F, USA, 28, Bisexual and Dating, Capricorn
Fear of coming out as Genderqueer.
– F but Genderqueer, England, 20, Pansexual in a Long Term Monogamous Relationship
The loss of someone important, especially the people in my life that are sort of more “at risk” for dying.
– F, USA, 21, Flexible in an Exclusive Committed Relationship, Leo
My fear of rejection.
– M, Netherlands, 27, Pansexual and Single
Fear of great speed.
– M, Germany, 25, Straight in a Relationship, Cancer
– F, 20, Heterosexual in a Committed Relationship, Virgo
– F, England, 23, Predominantly straight and Single
Fear of other people’s negative opinions of me.
– F, Canada, 19, Bisexual and Single, Scorpio
You can never change another person’s mind, you can only change your reaction to it. You don’t need other people’s negativity.
I don’t currently feel held back by fear of anything.
– M, USA, 25, Straight and Married
I very much fear having regret, and it often times holds me back from acting upon things.
– F, USA, 18, Pansexual in a Friends with Benefits Relationship, Sagittarius
Exposing my vulnerable self to others.
– M/Intersex, USA, 20, Bisexual/Pansexual and Single, Capricorn (and Rooster for Eastern)
Losing what good things I have in my life. Makes me afraid to take risks.
– M, USA, 33, Heterosexual and Single, Taurus
Fear of growing old.
– M, USA, 19, Straight and in a Relationship, Sagittarius
Honestly don’t think I have one.
– M, England, 20, Heterosexual and Single, Taurus
The fear of failure. There are so many things I know I don’t do because I don’t want to appear out of control or unknowing.
– F, USA, Bisexual and single, Sagittarius
Not much is holding me back; however, I am always concerned that people don’t like me — I’ve been told that I’m someone who is overwhelming when first meeting me, and that it’s only over time that people actually “like” me.
– F, USA, 47, Heterosexual and Married, Gemini
I take great pleasure in being an acquired taste, the best things in life are things you take time to appreciate.
Fear of lack of money.
– F, USA, Not Dead Yet, Heterosexual and Married, Scorpio
– F, USA, 57, Straight and Single, Virgo
Fear of looking stupid.
– F, USA, 39, Straight and Married, Leo
Never fear looking stupid. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Unknown and stepping out of my comfort zone.
– F, USA, 29 and holding, Gemini
Rejection, by far in almost every situation I hesitate to think what if this causes people to reject me.
– M, USA, 39, Straight and Married, Capricorn
My fear of failure and of the unknown.
– F, USA, Straight and Married, Aquarius
I don’t know of anything I am being held back from.
– F, USA, 30’s, Heterosexual and Married, Libra
The fear of contracting STD’s.
– M, USA, 35, Gay and Partnered, Aries
Changing myself is my fear of what could be…
– F, USA, 36, Heterosexual and Single, Virgo
My wife finding out.
– M, England, 69, Straight and Married
– F, USA, 43, Lesbian in a relationship, Taurus
I chose to start with this question for one simple reason… bravery doesn’t exist without fear, it is courage that allows us to triumph over fear. We all have demons, and fear is something that puts everyone on an even playing field. The only difference is how we react. Some folks run for the hills and others embrace it – either way, it helps define who you are as a person.
We’re so concerned about what people think, don’t think, what might happen, or what might not happen, that we scare ourselves into inaction. The more we over think fear, the more power we give it, and the less we’re willing to face. The fear grows with each passing day, month, and year, until you wake up wondering, “how did I get here?”
To be clear… fear is not the enemy: inaction is. How much fear you’re willing to hold on to is a personal choice. So now that you’ve identified what you fear, what will you do about it?