Are they linked? If so, how are they linked?
The best way to talk about these difficult and challenging topics is to start with a definition, and I like Wikipedia for these definitions.
Fear “is a feeling induced by the perceived danger or threat that occurs in” humans, “which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behaviour, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.” According to Wikipedia.
So fear causes a physical reaction and change in our bodies; it is not just something that occurs in our minds. Fear causes our bodies to “freeze” or “flee” or “fight” to protect us from physical threats. This is an ancient biological response, programmed into our DNA. This protection happens at an unconscious level but is manifested in physical bodily responses and protects us as humans from life and death situations.
When we feel fear our heart rate and respiratory rate increases, blood vessels in our extremities constrict forcing blood to our vital organs, our mental focus sharpens, and we may have fearful emotional responses like a scream or yell.
In terms of everyday life, is this a necessary response? If fear is predominantly a feeling, and we have control over our emotions, should we not logically examine each of the things we are fearful of and control them?
It is acknowledging that this is how we feel and taking a moment to recognise that it’s probably not ACTUALLY a life or death situation. This could be the start of conquering whatever it is that is holding us back.
One of our biggest fears is the fear of failure. It has been one of mine for the longest time, along with perfectionism. Fear of failure can bring about disappointment, anger, frustration, sadness, regret, and confusion, but what’s underneath our fear of failure?
What is shame, and how does it link to fear?
Lying underneath our fear of failure is … shame. That shameful feeling of “what people will think, what people will say,” our expectations and the perceived expectations that others might have of us. Its all shame-based. Generally, people can’t deal with the deep shame that failure brings to us. When we experience failure, a deep shame washes over us.
Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness, again, according to Wikipedia.
Shame and feelings of shame, adversely affect our emotional well-being, our egos, our identities, and most of all, our self-esteem. Shame is psychologically damaging and toxic.
It’s so important that we recognise and deal with and acknowledge our fear of failure so we do not suffer the toxic consequences of shame.
Fear of Failure – 10 Criteria that may indicate its an issue in your life.
If any of these criteria are familiar for you, then you might want to examine the issue further. Your actions could include further reading around fear of failure or talk to a mental health professional.
1. You worry about what people will think if you fail.
2. You worry about your ability to pursue the future you desire because you are fearful.
3. If you fail, you worry that people will no longer be interested in connecting with you.
4. If you fail, you worry that people will no longer think you are smart of capable.
5. You worry that if you fail, you will be disappointing people whose opinion of you matters.
6. You manage other peoples expectations of you by indicating that you don’t expect to succeed.
7. If you fail at something, you are unable to imagine what else you could have done to succeed.
8. When you are preparing, for something important, you get last-minute headaches, stomach aches, or other physical symptoms that prevent you from preparing adequately.
9. Distraction by tasks that aren’t as urgent as they seemed at the time, prevents you from completing what you know needs to be completed in a defined time frame.
10. Finally procrastination is a constant in your life.
Ill leave you with these words that are so familiar to many of us and so very true!
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”