How Fear Holds Us Back and Why

Hannah McDonough, Editor

We all have fears. That’s part of being human. A lot of us want to conquer our fears. For some people, fear stops them from doing great things.

 You could be scared of heights. You would be missing out on things like rock climbing and hot air balloon rides.

  “It could be so much fun,” You tell yourself, “Just get over your fear. Other people do it, so why shouldn’t you?”

 Even after this pep talk, you still are afraid. My question is: Why? Why does fear hold us back?

There are many reasons that fear holds us back. According to the University of Minnesota, fears are preparing us to react to danger. This can result in several things. When your body senses danger, there are hormones that shut down your digestive system. When someone scares you and your heartbeat increases, that’s because of those same hormones. These hormones also help sharpen your eyesight. Think of it this way: These specific hormones are based on what you need to survive and what is not needed for survival.

  Another thing that might hold you back is the fear of the unknown. According to, we fear the unknown because we don’t know what the outcome will be and the circumstances are unfamiliar. It may not be your normal routine and it may not be familiar, but in order to grow, you have to step out of your discomfort zone.

 Believe it or not, some people have the fear of success. Sure, being successful is a good thing, but some people fear disappointment. According to Psychology Today, some people fear getting their hopes up on the path to success. They don’t want to get excited and then have to face disappointment. Sometimes, the path to success is risky. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying.

  According to Psychology Today, having fears isn’t the problem. The real problem is when you let fears stop you from doing something you truly want to do. So how do we overcome our fears?

 One thing you can do is identify your fear. Be very specific. If you identify that you are scared of bugs, you might realize it’s only spiders you’re actually scared of. Try facing your fear. Give yourself encouragement. Don’t say, “I’m scared of heights and that’s that.” Fear is NOT the boss of you.  

 A lot of people give themselves self-criticism. You might think something is wrong with how you look or people are going to judge you based on your ability to do math. The only reason you are scared that people will judge you is because you judge yourself. If you are confident in yourself, then you are less likely to worry about what other people think.

 Fear is a common emotion that you will feel at one point or another. You can’t avoid it, but you can overcome it. And if you think your fear is silly, you’re probably not alone.

 To summarize, it is okay to have fears. There are ways to overcome them too.