Scared $#!+less … the dreaded “f” word…

“I’m counting on you.”

That phrase could have been uttered by anyone. Maybe it was said from a boss, maybe it was said by a friend, maybe it was said by a spouse, but this time…

It was me.

Eisoptrophobia is the fear of what could happen. It’s the rehearsal of that conversation that happens in your imagination as you prepare to explain yourself…to you. Literally, it’s “the fear of seeing yourself in the mirror.”

What happens when you reach that point between “I can” and “I can’t”? There’s a combination of excitement and dread as you step across that line realizing that you’ve just passed a point of no return. You’ve just jeopardized everyone’s opinion of you and relinquished the shroud of mystery that keeps people far more optimistic than they should be about your potential and competency. The question is actually safer than the reality.


“the fear of failure”

There are two major issues when we talk about atychiphobia.

1) On one hand, we’re talking about how others perceive me. Once I give them the following evidence, I can’t take it back. If I embark into this unknown territory of my capabilities, everyone who sees me will have incontrovertible evidence against me. Because I’m terrified that I will fail them, I fear losing what little respect they have for me (that I’ve micromanaged to the nth degree) and stand on the premise: feeling inferior is unacceptable.

2) On the other hand, I fear the reality that I may have to face when I finally discover my actual limits. What happens when I always thought I could, even boasted about it, only to discover…I can’t? The internal humiliation is almost more than I can bear and it uncovers another one of my deeply rooted fears: atelophobia (the fear of imperfection).

Many people see perfectionism as arrogance… I’m sure you could find some unblemished narcissist that genuinely thinks that way but most perfectionists I know aren’t arrogant: they’re afraid.

Remember, fear is that weird instinctual reflex where my body, mind and emotions react without my permission. We’re afraid and maybe even irrationally, but what makes fear so daunting is the fact that if I could control it, I probably wouldn’t allow myself to feel it.

The issue is: when fear threatens to control us, what do we do? Are we so afraid of failing, of the truth we don’t want to discover, or of disappointing someone else that we fail to even try?

Whether this is a moment of panic: the split second decision of “do it” or “walk way;” or the long drawn out anxiety/dread of choosing a “road less traveled,” there’s still a fundamental need for courage. Remember: courage isn’t easier, but it’s the weapon we have against living as a slave.

“Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.”

Mark Twain

Your vocabulary word for today is:

Phagophobia – fear of swallowing

7 Replies to “Scared $#!+less … the dreaded “f” word…”

  1. Two quotes I enjoy:

    1. Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. ~Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

    2. Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway. ~John Wayne

    I really like the second one, and not just because it’s from a badass cowboy.

    This is so true, “I fear losing what little respect they have for me…and stand on the premise: feeling inferior is unacceptable.” And not in a way that it’s true for those people who need to be more bold. But in a, “This is so often me,” kind of way.

    The only thing….the only thing I’ve found to lead me into a place of courage has come from faith that not only does God exist, but that the things he says are true. (I.e., He is good. He is trustworthy. I am his son. He provides for His children. He protects His children.)

    When I am dismantled and overcome by fear…any courage I have to move forward anyway never comes from knowing who God is, and who I am.

    Great stuff Jimmy. (Yours, not mine.)

    1. Where’s the friggin’ Edit button? I meant to say in the second to last line; “When I am dismantled and overcome by fear…any courage I have to move forward anyway never comes from myself, but rather from knowing who God is, and who I am.”

      Not re-reading before posting fail. And from a former journalist. Guess I really am fully human after all.

  2. Wanted to drop a remark and let you know your Rss feed isnt working today. I tried adding it to my Google reader account but got nothing.

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