Tag Archives: fear

Strangers

by Bob Vonderau

I used to feel so alone in the city. All those gazillions of people and then me, on the outside. Because how do you meet a new person? I was very stumped by this for many years. And then I realized, you just say “Hi.” They may ignore you. Or you may marry them. And that possibility is worth that one word.

The other day I read this quote by Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors, and I could not get over how powerful these words are, “They may ignore you. Or you may marry them.” Isn’t it interesting how much people seek acceptance and avoid ridicule? With regards to saying hi to a stranger, it’s so easy to say that we’ll never see that stranger again anyways, so why not try? The concept is very simple and if you take into account the potential to gain a lifelong relationship, romantic or otherwise, doesn’t it seem worth it? So why do we not try? Why is fear so strong that it can freeze us? Fear of a large animal is an animal instinct; but where does fear of social rejection come from?

When I think about how many times I didn’t try something because I was afraid of failure or rejection, it’s a pretty extensive list. I will probably never know how much I had to gain, but I can certainly name more than one instance where I know fear was my only obstacle from embracing the possibility. Then I think of all the things I did try and ended up loving… This list is also extensive, but much more transparent.

I think the biggest social fears revolve around the fear of rejection. This past year, I’ve taken a number of initiatives to grow as a leader and thus as a person. My first big initiative was to overcome my fear of speaking in front of groups of people. I overcame this in the most direct method possible: I applied for a job looking for people with public speaking skill, and I got it. Having no proper experience in any sort speech communication, I was thoroughly shocked and terrified when I saw the job offer in my email almost eight months ago. Apparently I really made up for my lack of experience during my interview, where I presented a five-minute speech on ‘how to engage an audience.’ I must have looked like I knew what I was doing.

Alas, this Sunday will be my last day of work. I cannot even comprehend how so much time has passed. On the other hand, if there is One thing I do understand it’s that I have grown in both experience and skill. Do i still get nervous when I approach a crowd to speak? Definitely. The fear hasn’t disappeared, but I don’t think that was the point of taking on this job. Fear will always be there in every aspect of my life. The important thing is to learn how to deal with that fear and turn it into motivation to reach a better result.

After all, when you ride a rollercoaster, it’s the fear of anticipation while ascending that steep climb that makes the descent truly exhilarating.

Just how much does fear control your life?

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How to Stop Being Afraid of Romantic Relationships

For many, finding that perfect someone is important. As humans we are born social beings keen to form all sorts of relationships with the people we meet. But being afraid of a romantic relationship is not something to be ashamed of. It happens, and it’s understandable.

Here are things to consider to help you overcome this obstacle.

1. Identify the cause of your fear. Can you think back to when you first decided you were afraid of a relationship? Was it watching your parents fight? Was it seeing the aftermath of a bad relationship?

2. Being afraid of a relationship DOES NOT mean there is something wrong with you. Inviting another person into your world is a big thing. It’s natural to be scared of such a change to your personal life.#  Be confident in yourself. If you truly want a relationship, you will be able to find one. But do not look down on yourself because you are afraid. Everyone is afraid of change.

3. Don’t be impatient. Look not for a partner for the sake of having a partner. There is a distinct difference between finding a partner and finding someone whom you wish would become your partner. That is, don’t look for a relationship because you’re the last one among your friends to have one, or look for one because you think at this age you should’ve at least had some dating experience. That’s not true. Love should blossom from the connection that forms when you meet that someone, not because they answered your ad in the newspaper (albeit it’s not as if that doesn’t work).

4. Don’t feel depressed. Fear is a difficult thing to overcome, and it won’t be overcome easily. Find someone to talk to about your fears, someone who you see as a mentor and are comfortable talking with.

5. Don’t force yourself. If you don’t feel ready for a relationship and someone is pressuring you into one, tell them your fears. If they are truly someone worthwhile they will understand and wait. Otherwise…

6. When you do start that first relationship, start it with someone who is aware of your fear. Let them know your feelings. Set the line before it can be crossed. Make it clear to your partner what you are and are not comfortable with.

7. Have faith. Don’t give up if you feel it’s taking too long to overcome your fear. Don’t give in when your new partner is frustrated with your fear. Don’t expect a fairy tale ending, but work your best to communicate and compromise.

(This post is actually one that I wrote for Wikihow.com, but I thought the information would be useful for a lot of people, thus I’m sharing it here on WordPress as well. Thanks to contributions from the  Wikihow community for helping me perfect this article.)

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