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What Do Our Top 10 Fears Say About Us?

Submitted by on March 12, 2012 – 11:57 pmNo Comment

Author: Steve M Nash

People are strange, don’t you think! They worry about this and they worry about that. And then ‘this’ and ‘that’ usually never ends up happening. But whilst they were worrying about something that didn’t happen, a few more minutes or hours or days of their lives passed by. As Homer J Simpson would say: “D’oh!”

And it’s the same when it comes to people’s top 10 fears, really.

So just why do people have these fears – why are these fears so common, and what do these fears say about us? (And when I say ‘people’ I’m really talking about you, and about me.)

Well, that’s what I want this article to discuss. So let’s get going with those top 10 fears…


Well, this is basically a control fear. As everybody knows that flying is a safer form of travelling than driving a car, but still most people are more fearful of flying in a plane than of the journey to the airport by car. And all because *they’re* in control of their car but they’re not in control of the plane.

So fear of flying is fear of not being in control.


This fear is all about fear of looking a fool in public, of looking like you’re not in control. And that boils down to fear of what other people think about you. Which is a bit of a daft fear as you really can’t control what people think about you.

No, the only solution here is to believe in yourself (and your own thoughts of your self) and to practice public speaking skills (obviously). Then do your best, and enjoy! Oh, and learn from the public speaking experience so you can improve.


Again, this is another of those combinations of fears. In this case, this is really fear of the unknown and fear of rejection, and it maybe even includes a fear of making a fool of yourself and of fearing what other people might think – should the relationship eventually fail.

The thing is, intimacy is a part of growth, of growing up as an adult – it is evidence of a maturing life. So fear of intimacy is actually a form of fear of life. And fear of life is not a good thing, obviously.


Fear of death is not a good thing, either – not if you let it overly control your life, anyway. (Clearly, fear of being knocked down by a speeding car as you cross the road is a sensible fear, as it helps you avoid actually dying.)

Any fear, to be of any use, should protect you whilst allowing you to grow and experience life fully. If your fear of death doesn’t help you do this then you should seek professional help, I politely suggest.


Ah, fear of failure – the fear of starting something just in case you don’t succeed in finishing it! If we had this fear as a child then we’d never have learnt to walk for the first time, or to speak, or to pretty much do anything that we take for granted in our lives, today. And yet we allow ourselves to be limited by the false ‘pain’ of failure.

Failure is a myth, I believe, and you only truly fail when you quit! So this fear is really a fear of quitting, but nobody has such a fear, do they? Doesn’t make sense, fear of quitting, does it? No, and that’s why fear of failure doesn’t make sense either.

So, whilst I understand where this fear comes from it’s important to challenge this fear at all times. And the best way to do this, the antidote to fear of failure, is to take action. (Go on, do it now!)


This fear is all about pain avoidance. For all of us have (probably) been rejected in one relationship or another, and all of us have subsequently suffered from rejection pain too. And then we’ve all vowed to never feel that pain, again. And whilst I agree that this pain is not pleasant, it’s definitely an experience we can learn from. But, more importantly, we have all ultimately survived the rejection. Haven’t we!

So it’s important to be aware that you have this fear (as I am) but then it’s important to do something about it; i.e. challenge the fear, somehow. Otherwise, your life WILL be ‘less’.


Hmm, I think this is more a fear of death, really, or a ‘fear of jumping off’. And that isn’t such a daft thing to be frightened of, as fooling around and then slipping off the edge of a thousand foot cliff may well be painful, to say the least.

So this fear is understandable as long as you don’t let it ruin (or limit) your life too much.


This is one of those classic fears learned in childhood. Fear of the dark is really fear of unknown, as well as fear of abandonment (one of the few innate fears we have).

I think fear of the dark should not be an issue when the child becomes an adult, so I’m a little puzzled why this is in top 10 most common fears. (It should be one of the top 10 strange fears, instead.)


This is definitely the ‘silliest’ of the top 10 fears. It’s about as daft as an elephant being afraid of a mouse, really. But what’s really going on here is…

Well I don’t know, to be honest. I have no idea where this fear comes from, other than from an early childhood memory. I urge all sufferers to get help or to visit Africa where the spiders are so big that your fear of small spiders, at least, is bound to diminish…


This is the last of the top 10 fears. It’s really the fear of making the wrong choice. However, a life lived properly is a life where choices have to be made (even not making a choice is making a choice, of sorts, if you think about it). And I believe that most long term choices prove to be more satisfying (and ‘growthful’) than short term ones; i.e. commitment is good for you!

Hmm, so what exactly *do* our top 10 fears reveal about us, then?

Well, I think we are all prone to the odd irrational fear. I think we like to have control in our lives and fear the loss of that control. But most of all we fear what other people will think about us. Which is another way of saying that most of us lack self-love – because the most important thoughts about us should be our own thoughts.

And so I recommend that all of these fears – even the fear of spiders – be challenged, and faced up to. Because when you say ‘no’ to fear of failure or fear of public speaking or fear of intimacy, then you’re really saying ‘yes’ to your life, ‘yes’ to growing and to loving yourself more!

And when you love yourself more, you are able to love everyone else more in the process.

And no-one’s afraid of love, are they?…

So say ‘yes’ to love and ‘no’ to fear.

Well, that’s what I say, anyway, and I think that’s what Ralph Waldo Emmerson says, too…

“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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About the Author

Steve M Nash believes that you are your own self help guru. And that’s why he created – to let you help yourself, and help others too. You’ll find the subject of fear discussed, there, as well as ‘fear of commitment ‘ –

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