14 No-BS Signs You’re Letting Fear Dictate Your Life And Need To Face It

14 No-BS Signs You’re Letting Fear Dictate Your Life And Need To Face It

Fear is a natural emotion that can protect us from danger, but when it becomes a constant barrier preventing us from living our lives fully, it’s a problem. Here are some no-nonsense signs that fear might be dictating your life — it’s high time to confront it head-on.

1. You’re Constantly Avoiding Risks.

If you’re always playing it safe and avoiding anything with an element of risk, it could signify fear is in control. Fear of failure is normal, but when it halts you from trying new things or stepping out of your comfort zone, it’s time to address the fear. Taking calculated risks is a part of life and it’s how you grow and evolve as a person. Nothing ventured, nothing gained as they say.

2. Procrastination Has Become a Lifestyle.

Procrastination can often be fear disguised. If you’re always putting off tasks or decisions because you’re unsure or you’re scared of the potential outcome, it’s a clear sign fear is dictating your actions. At the end of the day, procrastination only enhances the fear, while facing tasks head-on can help alleviate it. Hop to it!

3. You’re Experiencing Physical Symptoms.

Chronic fear can manifest as physical symptoms, including headaches, stomach issues, or insomnia. If you’re frequently experiencing these without a clear medical cause, fear may be the root. You need to address it ASAP, as chronic stress can have long-term effects on your physical health.

4. You’re Overthinking Every Decision.

Fear can lead to overthinking, turning every decision, big or small, into a major source of stress. If you find yourself in analysis paralysis often, it could be because you’re afraid. Remember, making mistakes is part of being human and is often how we learn best. Try to learn to trust your gut a bit more and go for it.

5. Your Relationships are Suffering.

depressed woman sitting in her living room

If you’re avoiding emotional intimacy or are overly cautious about new relationships due to fear of getting hurt, it’s a sign that fear is in control. While it’s healthy to protect your emotional well-being, completely shutting down can rob you of meaningful relationships and experiences.

6. You’re Stuck in a Rut.

If you feel like you’re simply treading water, whether in your career or personal life, and are scared to make changes, fear is likely holding you back. Progress usually requires change in some way, and while that can definitely be scary, it’s often the path forward. If you don’t want to stay stuck in place, it’s a must.

7. You always self-sabotage.

If you’re sabotaging your own success because you’re scared of failing — or even more inexplicably, you’re afraid of what happens if you actually succeed — it’s a sure sign that fear is at the helm. Recognize that success, like failure, is a part of the journey, and it’s okay to embrace it.

8. You’re Not Pursuing Your Passions.

If you’re not pursuing what you’re passionate about because you’re afraid of what other people might think or worry it won’t be successful, you’re giving fear too much of a place in your life. Pursuing your passions can bring joy and fulfillment that far outweigh the fear of judgment or failure.

9. You’re Not Setting Goals.

Pensive lost in thoughts suffering from depression

If you avoid setting long- and short-term mgoals because you’re afraid you won’t achieve them, fear is likely holding you back. Goals give us direction and purpose, and not setting them due to fear can leave you feeling stuck or unfulfilled.

10. You’re Always Anticipating the Worst.

It makes sense to be scared of things going wrong if you’re used to that happening in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always happen in the future. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop even when everything is working perfectly is a sign that fear is running the show. This kind of negative thinking can prevent you from taking action and can create unnecessary stress and anxiety.

11. You’re Not Expressing Your True Feelings.

If you’re holding back your true feelings because you’re afraid of rejection or confrontation, it’s a sign that fear is in control. Open and honest communication is crucial for healthy relationships and personal growth. What’s the worst that could happen if you share what’s really going on in your head and heart?

12. You always have an excuse.

If you’re constantly making excuses for not doing things, it might be a sign that fear is dictating your life. Excuses often mask our fears and prevent us from moving forward. Figure out what’s really behind your constant justifications for your inaction so you can start to overcome them.

13. You’re Not Standing Up for Yourself.

If you’re not standing up for yourself because you’re afraid of conflict or backlash, fear is the overriding feeling that’s dictating your entire life at this point. It’s important to assert your needs and boundaries, even if it feels uncomfortable.

14. You’re Not Asking for Help.

If you’re not asking for help when you need it because you’re afraid of appearing weak or vulnerable, it’s a sign that fear is dictating your life. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.