To Face a Fear, Name a Fear

Remember that “No Fear”logo that seemed to pop up on the back of every teen-driven pick-up truck a few years back?

Every time I saw one of those I wondered who the owners were trying to convince – us? Or themselves?

Because everyone’s afraid of something, or at the very least, has something that makes them squirm a little. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re kidding themselves.

And sometimes, that ‘something’ will make perfect sense to us. Sometimes, it will surprise us.

What are you afraid of?

There are many ways to call up our courage and face those fears. And the first step to doing that, is to give that fear a name.

Women, thank goodness, have a little more societal “permission” to admit a fear out loud to others. Our poor fellows have a little more trouble with that, thanks to the social pressures that many of them face.

Still, lest you think you’re the only one, here are just twenty of the more common fears I’ve heard about over the years in my counseling and psychotherapy practice – and I’ve heard them from many people, many times.

A Short List for Starters: 20 Common Fears That Many of Us Face

  1. Fear of planes, bridges, cliff tops and other high places.
  2. Fear of storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, or other bad weather
  3. Fear of horses
  4. Fear of dogs
  5. Fear of snakes, bugs and other creepy crawlies
  6. Fear of being out in the woods
  7. Fear of being out in the woods at night :)
  8. Fear of driving long distances by myself
  9. Fear of driving in big cities
  10. Fear of traveling by myself
  11. Fear of going out to eat by myself
  12. Fear of going to the movies by myself
  13. Fear of going back to school
  14. Fear of asking for time off, or a promotion, or a raise
  15. Fear of starting a new job or leaving an old one
  16. Fear of standing up to my spouse, partner, boyfriend, girlfriend
  17. Fear of telling my friend I’m angry with him or her
  18. Fear of disappointing my parents, family, friends or others
  19. Fear of hurting my kids’ feelings, or making them mad at me
  20. Fear of expressing my anger 

There are plenty more, but that’s a good list for starters.

Now look at that list again. The first 10 are all more or less about fears for one’s personal safety. Numbers 11-15 are generally fears about looking foolish or failing at something. And the last 5 are mostly fears about hurting, angering, or disappointing others.

So, among other things, we have what many would say are perfectly rational fears about our own safety. But what about appearing foolish? Or disappointing others? Is that rational?

Perhaps. From what I can tell after talking to hundreds of women over the years, those last 5 are the doozies that hold us back the most.

I myself seem to have developed a fear of whitewater. I didn’t know that for a long time, but discovered it when I had a totally “irrational” fear reaction to barely knee-deep whitewater while tubing in the Smokies one day. Didn’t take me long to realize that my unexpected jitters likely went back to a pretty scary whitewater rafting incident I’d experienced in college. Maybe I’ll tell that story another day.

See? We all struggle with something.

What about you?

What fears do you need to name? Let’s name the beast so we know what we’re dealing with. Let me know in the comments below. :)


I’ll be leading the next SECRET ADVENTURE for COURAGEOUS WOMEN on Saturday, May 19th, from 12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. And in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ll be hosting a very special and lovely event for Mothers and Daughters- of any age.

Also, I’ve posted the news about my First Ever Not-So-Secret Adventure WEEKEND. Mark your calendars now and make your plans because you DON’T want to miss this, and I’ll start accepting registrations soon!



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