“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? …And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” — Marianne Williamson
You’ve probably experienced it.
That paralyzing state hindering you from moving forward. Or that constant worry running over and over in your mind. Or that disempowering sweating, shaking and having your body feel out of control. Oy!
We all battle with fear. Fear of failing, looking like fools or not being loved for who we are. Fear of reliving something that has been or living something that might come. Fear of not being good enough, smart enough or courageous enough.
No one no matter gender, age, skin color, social status, money on the bank or nationality gets a free pass when it comes to fear. What matters isn’t that we fear (that’s just part of being human), but how we choose to deal with it.
Fear can either show us our limitations or teach us about something that we need to overcome. How we perceive it is up to us.
One way to move past your fears is knowing that you’re not alone. (Because you’re not). So to help you, here are 65 brave people from all over the world, who are sharing their greatest fear in life. (Prepare for goosebumps).
- “My greatest fear is that I will die alone.” – Anne, Bengaluru (India)
- “Losing my social structure. I.e. Work, job, and thusly many acquaintances.” – Dan, Stockholm (Sweden)
- “My deepest fear is being alone without family or friends. I can’t understand how people can love me.” – Saray, Spain
- “My greatest fear is to look back and regret not having done something because I was afraid.” – Mary, Nagoya (Japan)
- “I fear being negatively scrutinized by others.” – Charvie, Philippines
- “Not being successful financially.” – Steve, Sydney
- “My biggest fear is being left out/abandoned/ignored.” – Sara, USA
- “Fear of sudden/loud sounds.” – Parin, Rajkot (India)
- “Death, that I or someone in my family will die (to lose control over the most important thing we have – life).” – Lena, Dalarna (Sweden)
- “I fear that I’ll always be a laughingstock.” – Jessica, Boston
- “Lack of intimacy with life and people. And lack of effective and valuable contribution to society.” – Katie, London
- “Not being able to find a job.” —Judi, Tampa (USA)
- “My greatest fear is to have no more fear.” – Anne, Biesles (France)
- “My biggest fear is not being good enough.” – Sara, USA
- “Not to be good enough (others are much better).” – Tanja, Zurich (Switzerland)
- “My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to have children or my children will be born with a serious medical condition.” – Eva, Dublin (Ireland)
- “My greatest fear is that I’ll one day realize that I lived my life not doing what makes me happy.” – Sofia, Hedemora (Sweden)
- “Success. (I’ve just discovered this. And, I need to get over it!)” – Jodi, Columbus (USA)
- “My greatest fear is regretting all that I didn’t do, as I lay in my hospital bed as an elderly man.” – Ralph, North Brunswick (USA)
- “My current greatest fear is that I will be declared to be a bad mother and not be able to see my two amazing children.” – Crystal, Delta (USA)
- “My biggest fear is never taking a risk in an effort to find my true calling.” – Anthony, New York City
- “My greatest fear is being unable to realise the dream I’ve worked towards for 30 years because of the UK’s exit from the EU.” – Rhona, Yorkshire (UK)
- “My greatest fear and sorrow is not being accepted for who I am.” – Alan, Texas (USA)
- “My greatest fear is that I will never find what makes my heart sing and eventually paid to do it.” – Saraya, London
- “My biggest fear is not believing in myself.” – Leila, New York
- “My greatest fear would be missing out on my purpose here on earth. Whether it’s because I wasn’t motivated enough to pursue dreams, or distracted with life in general, I know I have a purpose that I am not yet serving.” – Danielle, Sacramento (USA)
- “My greatest fear is to go through life living small but not realizing it until it’s too late.” – Rebekka, Stuttgart
- “My greatest fear is discovering that I am a deeply flawed person who will never be able to connect fully with others and be a functioning part of this world.” – Erica, Burlington (USA)
- “My greatest fear is the loneliness.” – Bruna, Brazil
- “My biggest fear is anything happening to my Son. He is on his own in college and I miss him dearly. It scares me that something could happen with him being far from home.” – Jennifer, Petaluma (USA)
- “Changing my profession and having to go back to school at age 51 and not knowing if I can find the confidence to just let go and enjoy the ride!” – Michele, Okotoks (Canada)
- “My greatest fear is walking in the community with suspicious and weird looking people. How do I overcome this fear? to feel safe and protected at all times.” – Mary, Toronto (Canada)
- “…But when you go deeper, it all goes back to my main childhood fear, which is to be abandoned/left alone and as a result I feared of not being worthy to be loved…“ – Bernd, Germany
- “Being a failure and disappointment.. to both others and myself.” – Kate, Yeppoon, (Australia)
- “Raising my daughter alone after my husband passes away.” – Rena, Wyoming (USA)
- “My greatest fear is never finding happiness.” – Robin, Torrance (USA)
- “My greatest fear is that I will never be enough.” – Jo, Salisbury (UK)
- “I dread the call from my high school that there was a clerical error and I need to take finals again.” – Rayne, Petaluma (USA)
- “My greatest fear is that more people that I love will die.” – Josephine, Stockholm (Sweden)
- “My greatest fear is that I will never be able to create a harmonious life for myself which I will thoroughly enjoy and that I will lose freedom to choose at some point in life.” – Egle, Hastings (UK)
- “My greatest fear is living an unfulfilling life lacking in genuine, loving connections with people and nature.” – Sharon, Los Angeles
- “I fear looking back and seeing that fear guided my decisions.” – Sophie, Hobart (Australia)
- “I’m scared I will make the wrong decisions in life. If I make the wrong choices, it will set me back from my true path.” – Reka, Sydney
- “The return of cancer.” – Annie, Fort Wayne (USA)
- “My greatest fear is being broke after quitting my corporate job and pursuing my dreams (which I’m still trying to figure out).” – Carmen, Seoul (South Korea)
- “Fear at failing at something like learning to fly an airplane, fear of not having anything of interest to say to people I don’t know very well, and as a healthcare professional failing to provide appropriate treatment to a patient.” – Peter, York (UK)
- “My biggest fear is making a mistake and looking stupid.” – Destiny, Tucson
- “Fear of failure – particularly paralyzing is the fear of not taking the perfect next action step.” – Mike, Plano (USA)
- “Not being able to see or be near to my family before death.” – Marilyn, Singapore
- “My greatest fear is letting my family friends and employees down.” – Pam ,Bangalore (India)
- “I think my greatest fear is a classic, the fear of failure.” – Samuel, Malmö (Sweden)
- “Can I reach the goals that I am aspiring in my life, will my dreams come true, can I really live my dreams, if I have to live a very mediocre life in future what should I do??” – Vinaya, Kochi (India)
- “My greatest fear is that I will never feel fulfilled or at peace with my career decision.” – Emily, Baton Rouge (USA)
- “My greatest fear is that the severe abuse I suffered in childhood has left me irrevocably broken, that there is no chance that I will ever be happy or successful because of how emotionally depleted I am from dealing with my trauma.” – GB, Portland, Oregon (USA)
- “There are many but big ones right now: 1. Being rejected when it comes to love. Fear stops me from even taking the first step to ask someone out on a date. 2. Starting my own business. I fear that I will not have what it takes to do it, that I will be a failure.” – Susanne, Uppsala (Sweden)
- “The fear of not being good enough.” – Barbara, Wetaskiwin (Canada)
- “My deepest fear is failing to be a good person, so I find I let others take advantage of me and I don’t stand strong for me.” – Vivien, London, UK
- “My greatest fear is to be “found out” – that people around me will discover that I’ve only been pretending to be smart, strong and confident but really am not any of those things.” – Nora, New Jersey (USA)
- “Death.” – Brenna, Brockville (Canada)
- “I fear that I am wasting my life – missing out on enjoyable experiences and not contributing to the world as much as I am capable of doing.” – Barry, Adelaide (Australia)
- “To go through life without leaving a positive mark.” – Luciana, Sintra (Portugal)
- “My greatest fear is that I won’t have enough money to support myself (and retire eventually).” – Laura, Florence (Italy)
- “My biggest fear is that although I do things with a lot of dedication and love, people think and say I want to take their money or take advantage of them and be criticized for that.” – Eme, New York
- “Being not good enough to be loved, to be successful, to be chosen, to get responsibility, to be seen, to be appreciated… (whatever).” – Elisabeth, Vienna
- “Not being liked/loved by anyone.” – Anna, Munich (Germany)
Embrace your fears
Dealing with fears isn’t easy. But as they say, what we resist, persists. So, instead of resisting your fears, choose to embrace them. To invite them in and allow them to give their message.
(Btw, I’m not talking about stepping out in front of a bus or doing something stupid. I’m talking about the fear that is limiting you in your life – whether that’s starting a project, worrying too much about something or not being loved for who you are).
What is the fear telling you? Maybe it’s that you have a belief about yourself that isn’t serving you? Maybe it’s that you have people in your life who you care deeply about? Maybe it’s to accept your perfect imperfections and give yourself space to stumble and fall – especially when trying something new?
Use your fear to guide you. To help you grow, expand and move forward in a direction that serves you.
Remember, your largest fears also carries your greatest growth.
Photo cred: Sofie Stenmark, Model: My Charlotte Lestander