Progression of Fears


There are hella fears in the world, just check out this list. My favorite one, only because its the first phobia I remember learning about (actually learned it from a scene in the movie, Home Alone), is Arachnophobia-fear of spiders. Random, I know. Below are two fears that I have had throughout my life. I’m sure if I spent more time dissecting and analyzing them, I would be able to find their connection and, more importantly, their origin, which undoubtedly stems from my upbringing. With such knowledge, I would then be able to rid myself completely of them. *shrug* I don’t have the time right now; I rather live my life and figure that stuff out on the whim.

Thanatophobia-Fear of Death

  • When I was younger, I was petrified of death; the inevitability and unpredictability of it frightened me. Mostly, the latter shook me. It did not help that the popular adage to help people strive for “carpe diem” greatness was “Tomorrow isn’t promised to no one.” Well…the phrase did not make me scream “YOLO,” while doing different and adventurous things. In fact, I became unnecessarily preoccupied with “YODO” (You Only Die Once), which made me overly cautious, especially around heavy, moving objects like buses and cars. Then one day, I realized that I am going to die regardless of how careful I am. Thus, I should live the life that I want to live and be happy while doing so. Now, my decree to live life does not mean that I engage in extremely risky sports or behavior; for example, wingsuit flying isn’t for me. Fear conquered.

Atychiphobia-Fear of Failure

  • Seeming unsatisfied living my life with no fear, I developed a fear of failure around high school, although its slightly less attractive twin, procrastination, and I have had a relationship since around middle school (waiting-till-Sunday-night-to-complete-begin-my-homework-from-Friday kind of procrastination). Unlike my irrational fear of death, I could seemingly rationalize my fear of failure because the stakes get higher each year. Thus, if I slipped and fell from this never ending higher point, the consequences (and pain from the fall) would be great. Like my “YODO” days, this fear constricted my daily life, unwilling to take risks and undermining (aka self-sabotaging) my dreams and goals. It led to the laziest portion of my life because I was simply unwilling to try, fearful that a misstep would be the end of my seemingly perfect world. As a result, I did not get want I wanted, but appeased myself with false, yet soothing “at least I didn’t fail” pats on the back. But I did fail because the lack of trying resulted in not even getting close to my want or desire. I wish I could italicize “fear conquered” like I did with the previous fear, but I still battle with this one occasionally, too often for my liking. But, I am proud that I am no longer crippled by it; I realized that no one is perfect and failure or mistakes are commonplace. In fact, I’ve learned the most about myself through failure. Lastly, I also recognized that there are many people willing to help me in my endeavors, if and only if I take that first step and try. Fear subsided.

Writing down my fears felt freeing (and also provided a burst of productivity).

Be free and share your fears in the comments section. Do you have any different/funny/odd/normal fears? Please share.



9 thoughts on “Progression of Fears

  1. it’s very true that your fear of failure (or need to be perfect, which is more of my thing) can cause laziness and procrastination, which you would think is counter-intuitive. but subconsciously it’s like, it’s better to procrastinate and if i get anything less than an A or anything less than perfect, it’s because i procrastinated and not because i suck at life. im a HUGE procrastinator and that really came on full force in college. and im sure subconsciously it was because i felt insecure about being at a place where i felt like i wasnt as good as everyone else. so if i procrastinate and self-sabotage myself, thats the reason why i dont do as well… not because i REALLY dont actually measure up to these people. mmmmm, u got me thinkin, dwight! very deep, very deep….

    so on to something completely different, ill share with you a really weird fear i have (actually i dont think it’s really a fear per se, but a disgust and it makes my skin crawl). i have this really weird thing with certain patterns and holes in clusters. it’s hard to explain. it’s unofficially called trypophobia. google it and the pictures that come up are just simply horrifying. when i see certain things, like honeycomb, snake skin, lotus pods, or the way skin looks after it’s had laser zaps, skin grafts, i just wanna vomit. when i see patterns like that, i feel the need to scratch it or stomp on it or do something that will break up the pattern. it’s really OCD. and i have a lot of behaviors that are really anxiety driven, so i feel like this might be too. (for instance, i pick at my nails a lot and i pull my eyelashes and eyebrows… dont judge me!! lol)

      • I literally just saw a one legged cat and what appeared to be a flying rat…they BOTH need to be eradicated! These cats are to brokedown to watch the throne in this city, so they both can GO…

  2. Great article! The fear of failure is so huge. I mean everyone is somewhat afraid of death, you have no control, not in the long run. But failure you can control by not really going after things, never starting, or only doing things you know you can accomplish, but this is a lame game, go for it, whats the worst that can happen? You are going to die anyway!

    • something i just thought about, dwight…. about fear of failure….

      you think maybe it stems from our need to not want to disappoint others? specifically parents/loved ones who helped raise us? this topic made me think about something i heard recently…. i heard about a study done on 2 sets of kids… one set was given a puzzle and then was praised when they completed the puzzle. they were praised on how smart they were and for basically finishing the puzzle. the other set were given a puzzle and they were praised for their effort, not for necessarily completing it. i guess they were praised along the way for even attempting it? a big deal wasnt made when they finished it. the study showed that the kids that were praised for just attempting to do the puzzle were more likely to take on more difficult puzzles whereas the other group stuck with puzzles of the same level of difficulty so they knew they could finish it and get the praise. i think that’s pretty interesting because i think most parents/caregivers probably praise the accomplishment more often than the effort and im thinking that probably has a lot to do with our fear of failure…. not wanting to disappoint those we care about…. those whose opinions matter to us.

      i think this then translates into, i dont want to fail because i dont want to disappoint myself. but i know for me, it stems first from, i dont want to fail because i dont want to disappoint my family. this is gonna sound horrible, but ive thought before… if my parents were around, i would have a lot less pressure to be successful in their eyes. not that they put pressure on me, but i still feel it anyway.

      • I totally agree with you. Check out Carol Dweck because she discusses this praise mindset and how the kids who get praised for how smart attach their identity to it. Thus, they struggle with attempting difficult “puzzles” because they don’t want to have their identity altered. I can definitely agree with the pressure from family, whether conscious or subconscious, because I know about the sacrifices they’ve made for me to have the opportunities that I now have; I don’t want to disappoint.

        Thanks for sharing that thought.

  3. Pingback: Progression of Fears « stevemitchellcolorado

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