What To Do When Your Dreams Scare You

Written by Leslie Carr, PsyD

Do you have dreams, desires, and goals? Then, chances are, you’ve struggled with fear at some point. I hate to use the word “normal,” but fear is so common that I’d be more surprised if you’ve NEVER experienced it.

The only thing that’s unusual about fear, really, is that people tend to feel alone with it. It’s as if everyone’s out there, doing their thing, feeling a little freaked out — and imagining that they’re the only person in the world who feels freaked out.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The brutal reality is that “putting yourself out there” requires courage. Having a dream and going for it takes guts of steel — and the only way to conquer fear is to make peace with it.

How do we do that?

First, by recognizing that fear is a “normal” and healthy part of the human experience. It also helps to gain some insight into WHY we feel afraid, so that we can understand and transcend it.

So let’s talk about why you feel afraid: One major reason (one that’s often overlooked, in my opinion) has to do with an underlying concern about what someone else will think about us, or how our success might impact the people we love or rely on.

Many of us, perhaps women in particular, are raised to feel afraid of shining. We get the feedback from others that our success is a threat because our greatness makes them feel small.

Let’s say, for example, that you’ve always dreamed of being on Broadway. Your mom was a dancer, but she quit early to start a family. If you make it all the way, would that secretly hurt her feelings? Would she resent you? Would she think you’ve “gotten a big head?”

Or if you were to get your own TV show, but all of your best friends are working comfortable office jobs and diligently saving for retirement, will they be jealous of your success? Would you lose your connection to your past?

I’ve seen themes like this come up over and over again in my practice.

While there certainly are other reasons we can feel afraid of putting ourselves out there (fear of judgment or failure, negative concepts about ourselves, or self-limiting beliefs — all of which are “normal” as well!) this one is perhaps the most insidious because it’s so underestimated.

Does this apply to you? If so, listen up:

This might sound a bit funny, but sometimes we just need “permission” to do something we want to do — and it can come from anyone, even from a stranger.

If you've been waiting to go out and live the life of your dreams, consider this blog post your permission to go for it!

Don’t let someone else’s fears hold you back. The reward of becoming the person you’re meant to become is too great to ignore.

Have you been waiting for someone to give you permission? If so, tell me about it. I’ll be here replying to questions and comments for the rest of the day.

Leslie Carr, PsyD
Leslie Carr, PsyD
Leslie Carr, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist (PSY 25306). She offers therapy and coaching,...
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Leslie Carr, PsyD
Leslie Carr, PsyD
Leslie Carr, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist (PSY 25306)....
Read More

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