Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feeling the Fear

Sometimes, as we travel through life, it may seem that we are the only ones with problems. The only ones who feel fear. We may read the stories of these big successes, people we admire, and think, There's no way they feel like I do. We tend to look at the outward positive things and tell ourselves a story, when we can't see the fears that are inside of someone else.

I feel fear. As I start to dream big, after the creative retreat I attended a couple of weeks ago, my fears are growing to match. I recognize now that my fears have accompanied me on every step of this creative journey. Fear of sharing my work. Fear of putting my honest self out here on the blog. Fear of trying something new. The only way I've grown is to face the fear and move past it.

The bigger the steps we take on our creative journey, the bigger our fears become. Last winter, as I was getting ready to start my first run of the Find Your Eye class, I was assailed with an attack of, "Who do you think you are?"  Who did I think I was, to create a class and put it out there to the general public. To think I had something to contribute to the conversation, since I don't have a photography degree or years of professional experience under my belt. Luckily, it was too late - the class was being advertised, people were registered - I was committed and couldn't quit. It didn't mean I felt those fears any less, however.

We all feel fear. Fear of rejection, ridicule, failure, hurt. Maybe even fear of success. Fear is there to protect us, to keep us from getting hurt. Everyone has doubts and insecurities. The face we put out to the world may be a brave one, but I guarantee there is some fear going on inside. We are not alone in this. While it may be a comfort to know others feel fear too, it doesn't make it easier to deal with our own fears.

The only way I personally know how to deal with fear is to acknowledge it. If I can define the fear, understand where it is coming from, I can make a plan to deal with it and move ahead anyway. If I can name it, I'm less likely to let it stop me. The fear doesn't actually go away, I just carry it along for the ride. I think of it as having a conversation with my fear, "Hello there Mr. Fear. I see you lurking there. I see what you are trying to do. Thanks for trying to protect me, but this time I'm not going to listen to you. We are moving ahead anyway. You can come along with me and see how this turns out." Somehow, that helps. But believe me, it's not comfortable, to carry this fear along. It would be easier to run away in the other direction.

Now, as I get ready to hit the submit button on this post, the little voice of fear is talking in my head. Should I admit my fears publicly? Won't this just look weak? Maybe it will to some of you, but to others, it might bring a sigh of relief. You aren't alone.

What do you do when faced with fear? How do you recognize and address it? Move past it? Please leave a comment, and today let's help each other deal with fear.


  1. Hi Kat,

    I'm glad you hit the 'post comment' button, I think this is one of your strongest posts yet! I've read several books on the subject of fear, which has helped me personally to get to understand, fear is part of living on this planet I'm afraid! As you say they can be for our protection, but sometimes they go into overdrive and try to stifle our dreams! Those pesky little fear blighters!

    Sue x

  2. My dear Kat, I'm so happy to see that you've pressed that 'Publish' button for this post and showed fear who's the boss. To me this is the best way to cope and fight the fear - to feel the fear and do it anyway, just like you did with this post and with your course and everything you did despite the fear. Taking action, no matter how small or big is the way for me to deal with fear. And yes, it's hard every single time, but it's so much harder to give into it and not act on what we want to do, what we dream of achieving.

  3. I'm totally with you on this Kat, I feel the fear all the time. I am fighting the fear at work right now as I am faced with a huge project that is a bit out of my comfort zone. I give myself a pep talk, and I project confidence so no one else knows that fear is there! Thanks for posting this.

  4. am eyes closed tight shut and ignoring any of it right now. keeping my eyes on the prize and carreering forwards! fear is somewhere over there at the moment. you are a brave and splendid lady! it was such a pleasure to meet you. looking forward to seeing what you get up to next. hmm another thought. what is it exactly you are afraid of.... that is the one that helps me. because mostly its nonsense. and to do with what people (what people? who are they anyway) will think.

  5. i got my first follower on my blog yesterday, thrilling! but then the fear started creeping in. I've been merrily blogging away for two months with no-one to answer to but now the fear is saying 'what i blog may effect someone,she may not like me,she may figure out I'm not a real photographer (no degree either)'

    thats why i so appreciated your blog today especially when you said 'fear of putting my honest self out here on the blog'

    it struck me that is exactly how it should be, put out our honest selves and hit the publish button, in everything we do!

    thank you!

  6. Thanks Kat , for writing this post and for been honest. For a moment I thought you were reading my mind. This is what I feel at least once a week or maybe more. I could have written this post, I can relate to all you said!. Thanks for the inspiration. Specially this week when I am "changing lanes" and learning so much about licensing. I sent a licensing proposal and then I asked myself "who do you think you are? " So funny reading this from you at this moment. I spent two days talking to myself and convincing me that I can, that my art can be licensed. I have learned that some of the the posts I write are what I want to tell myself and that is why they can inspire others. The same happens with this post . Thanks for your honesty. I believe i you Kat!!

  7. Kat, great topic and most likely something everyone can relate to! As I wrote my post yesterday for The Inspiration Studio, about dreaming and some of my big dreams, I definitely faced fear and hesitation upon hitting that publish button! My thoughts ran like this - what if I never accomplish my goals and I've put them out for everyone to see?, what if folks think me arrogant or silly for having big plans? - those what if's can be crippling. I find fear is usually based upon two things, or at least my fears are, the fear of failure and the fear of being judged by others. So, let's see, if you're never fearing failure, then you probably are never trying anything new and how sad is that! As for folks judging you, I've come to the conclusion that is just what some people like to do and they are usually very insecure and/or unhappy themselves. So, forget about them, please yourself and care about the people in your life that you love. And so, the bottom line is - I hit the publish button, too!!!

  8. Kat - great post today - you have expressed in such eloquent fashion what I feel each day as my fingers hover over the Publish button. Like Helen, I am a new blogger coming up on my 4 month anniversary. It is scary to release yourself into that great Internet void. To ignore the fearful questions like "Will anyone read my words or view my images?" or "Who am I to think I have something to say?" or "What makes you think you can call yourself a photographer?". It's hard to be gentle with ourselves. I say that we be brave together.

  9. Kat, thank you for sharing this post. Strange to say, since I had to decline the meeting opportunity prior to the retreat, similar kind of fear that you have felt has been creeping up on me. Everytime I read the blogs about the retreat, I knew that I have missed out the big opportunity (although I could not physically go), at the same time I knew I might have felt overwelmed by so many talented people and probably increased the fear more so. To be honest, I do feel fear all the time, hence I am taking a slow steps each time I fell or go backward, which is not so nice! But like you said, we have to accept it, acknowledge it, not ignoreing it. I do agree and I have been trying to do so everytime I face them and everytime someone gave me positive feedback or liked my work, trying to overcome the fear. (I don't know if this make sense to you...) Anyway, I must say you ARE a phographer, the great one! That is for sure, I say no fear for that. xm

  10. Interesting... When I first saw your headline, I thought you meant you had a feeling of foreboding, of something bad about to happen. I've been writing about that kind of fear of late on The Displaced Nation, a new blog for people who cross borders.

    Still, even though I may be offending bloggy etiquette by doing so(?), perhaps it's worth mentioning my latest post, In the jaws of political or natural disaster: When reality bites for expats, in the context of discussing fear of failure. Which fear is worse -- fear from external sources or from within?

    In any event, I very much enjoyed reading your post...

  11. Thanks for this wonderful and honest post.It really hits home when I think of all the missed opportunities caused by fear.On a positive note,doing something I have been afraid of always leaves me with a feeling of exhileration and triumph!

  12. Your post resonates with me too....fear has prevented me from doing lots of things, which now I regret, of course! So in my middle years I am getting braver, and taking more risks. Its still hard, but I ask myself "what is the worst that can happen here?" and I realize I can handle it!
    Thank you for your honesty here, Kat--great post!

  13. Kat this post was eloquent and brilliant and resonated with me on so many levels. I feel fear all the time but it wasn't until recently that I noticed how that fear has grown and adapted to new opportunities (because that's totally what fear loves best) as they came along.

    Moyra - I agree that in naming them and defining what exactly it is you're afraid of usually results in nonsense.

    Maki -don't feel bad! I feel fear all the time as well. It's a lil gremlin that just manifests in different ways, growing as we grow. I was so nervous before going to the retreat (it was my first one) but a wise lady told me "if you never push up against fears you can never push through them!" Who knoes, Maybe we could have a lil Europe creative women meet up one weekend before Kat leaves? :)

    Kat thank you for posting this - you are such a rock star! (High five!)

  14. If it's important enough to me, I simply close my eyes and go for it!!! Not to say that it always works, but you don't know, if you don't try!

  15. Hi Kat,

    I had a bad day focusing yesterday! When I lay in bed I had a vague 'fear' feeling I had typed something 'wrong' a feeling of 'oh no a mistake' I suddenly realised I had typed 'push the 'comment' instead of 'publish' button! Silly me!

    Normally I don't correct myself on-line, it's no big deal, but I got to thinking about when I first started blogging these were 'real fears' that put me off for a while, but I soon learned to quash them with the 'after all who doesn't make a mistake soother' ;~)

  16. Of all my beloved people, I think of you as among the most fearless. So I find comfort here. I don't even know what I'm fearing lately, because I have such supportive people in both personal and professional realms. But I'm in procrastination mode, and I know from experience there's usually fear behind it.... thanks for the excellent timing, my friend!

  17. I had a fear day the other day. You know, feeling no energy, can't do it, not good. More than that, fear in the belly for no apparent reason. Oh, wait, is that fear, or exhilaration? Sometimes they feel almost the same.


What's your view of the world? I love to hear yours too!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.