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Sasha was raised in a religious cult. As an adult, she dealt with constant anxiety that stemmed from a fear of doing the wrong thing. She was afraid that if she made one mistake or one bad choice, then something terrible would happen to her or those she loved.
Like many people, Sasha had a story about fear. We all have these stories around our fears. They are the stories that keep us miserable and mired in situations we hate.
For example, Donna’s story was that if she left her cheating husband, she’d be lonely for the rest of her life. But when she challenged the fear, she actually found she enjoyed life more following her divorce because she was no longer plagued by a marriage that lowered her self-esteem and left her feeling abandoned.
There are many ways that fear can keep you from the life of your dreams. You might be afraid to go after the promotion you want, start a new business, flirt with the cute guy at the coffee shop, or stand up to your mother-in-law.
Here are nine signs that fear is running the show and dictating your choices…
Sign #1: You Focus on the Ifs
A classic sign that you’re letting your fear call the shots is that most of your thoughts start with “if”. You might think things like, “If I put myself out there on a dating app, everyone will think I’m lonely.” Or “if I put the kids in daycare for one afternoon each week, my mother-in-law will call me selfish”.
Sometimes, the “ifs” really are true. Your mother-in-law might call you selfish. What you have to do in these situations is ask yourself, “So, what?”
Consider what the consequences truly would be. If your mother-in-law does call you selfish, so what? You always knew she was a controlling old broad. So, what if everyone thinks you’re lonely? Maybe they’ll try to hook you up with a potential love match.
Sign #2: You’re Checking In
When it’s time to make a decision, you have to stop and check-in with twenty-five other people. You need their thoughts and validation before you can step forward with your new plan. While there’s certainly a time to get feedback, the truth is you’re a grown woman. You’re capable of making your own decisions.
Kelly McCausey, a business coach at Love People + Make Money, boldly proclaims, “Life was meant to be lived in community but not by committee.”
Sign #3: You Don’t Take Responsibility
When you’re unhappy, it’s someone else’s fault. You can’t be happy with your home because your husband won’t fix the gutters. You can’t get that promotion at work because your boss is a jerk. You can’t start your book because your kids won’t leave you alone to write.
If you live by fear, you come up with a hundred reasons why you can’t or won’t do something. Typically, you justify your excuses as being someone else’s fault rather than accepting that you have to make different choices.
Sign #4: You’re Sending Mixed Signals
You say yes when you mean no and no when you mean yes. You just can’t seem to say what you mean and boldly communicate what you want (or don’t want).
A key indicator that you’re sending mixed signals is using passive-aggressive language to communicate with those around you. For example, you say to a friend that asks you to babysit, “Sure, I’d love to watch your kids. I’m not doing anything”.
Sign #5: You Don’t Assert Yourself
There’s an amazing position available at work but you won’t ask your boss for the recommendation you need. There’s a business coach online looking for an intern with your skill set but you don’t reach out to her. There’s a personal growth retreat you want to go on, but you won’t talk to your husband about coming up with the money for it.
The sad thing about fear is that it keeps you playing small. It convinces you that while you may not be happy here, it’s still safer than taking a chance.
You shortchange your long-term growth for a temporary feeling of safety. While it might feel smart, this approach keeps you acting puny and refusing to stand in your unique power. You deserve better.
Sign #6: You’re Checking Out
When fear is running the show, you’ll frequently find yourself looking for ways to “check out” or numb yourself. Sometimes, these activities can start with the best of intentions, but they quickly become a bad habit that hurts you.
For example, one woman started taking self-defense classes to spend time away from her verbally abusive partner. She drove her body to the brink of exhaustion by taking multiple classes every day. Within a few weeks she suffered a torn ligament in her shoulder.
What started out as a way to deal with her feelings of powerlessness against a spouse’s cruel words quickly became a way to numb herself to everything she felt.
Sign #7: You Don’t Accept Praise
Another sign that you’re letting fear take over is that you don’t accept praise or compliments. While sometimes this can be a sign of low self-esteem, it can run deeper than that for some people. You might be afraid that if others peer too deeply beneath your surface, they’ll realize you aren’t worthy.
You are not lacking. You are perfect just as you are. Those that are worthy of you will see your unique qualities and embrace you because of them (not in spite of them).
Sign #8: You Micromanage Everything
You tell yourself you’re a details person. You say you’re good at connecting all the dots. You insist that you’re not a perfectionist or controlling. But ask friends or family and it’s a different story. They complain that you micromanage. They feel they can’t do anything right. They’re afraid of displeasing you.
When you’re trying to control the situations around you, it’s a sure sign you’re not operating from a place of peace. You’re letting fear bully you and as a result, you’re difficult to live and work with.
If you’re truly going to stop living in fear, you have to admit you have a problem with micromanaging. You must focus on releasing the things that don’t matter as much.
Sign #9: You Aren’t Challenging Yourself
Maybe you’re afraid of disappointing yourself. Perhaps you’re worried about disappointing family or friends. Maybe you’re concerned you’ll look bad in front of your boss or co-workers.
But the truth is that most people admire someone who takes on challenges. This doesn’t mean you have to take on a huge challenge. It can be something small that stretches you beyond your comfort zone.
Train yourself to embrace challenges by trying something new each day. It could be trying a bold lipstick color, giving a compliment to a stranger, learning a new skill, or bringing up a difficult conversation with a loved one.
Are You Ready to Be Bold?
It’s time to strike back against the fear. You’re the one in control and you can choose to become a beautiful, bold badass. Let’s plan your courageous New Year when you download this fun workbook!
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