We are born with only two innate fears:
- Fear of falling (basiphobia or basophobia) and
- Fear of loud sounds (phonophobia, sonophobia or ligyrophobia).
The rest of your fears are learned fears.
They may include natural fears where you’re predisposed to fear certain animals like spiders and snakes because of evolutional bias. Research studies have shown that even preschoolers react more quickly when asked to pick out non-threatening items like flowers.
As you age, fears are developed because of association between the triggor and the fear outcome. It could from personal experience, what you read, how you see others reacting or believing what others are telling you. It will be influenced by your environment and culture. Fears that are often irrational or the result of our overactive imaginations.
“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.” – Rudyard Kipling
It becomes a balancing act between your sensory reaction within the brain’s amygdala (your ‘impulsive’ brain), and the rational reaction from your brain’s prefrontal cortex (your ‘smart’ brain).
During my time talking to clients and people in general about their fears, the one that consistently keeps coming up is Fear of other people’s opinions = Allodoxaphobia.
Often people mistake their fear as something else. “I have a fear of public speaking” or “I have a fear of speaking up at meetings”. However what they really fear is the opinions of others as they’re speaking, but even more than that it’s the outcome of those opinions.
Unless you actually ask someone directly what their opinions are, and how it will influence their decisions, it can only be a guess. We will never know for sure.
Instead our very creative irrational part of the brain takes over and we imagine that people are thinking …
- They don’t know what they’re talking about
- What they’re proposing isn’t a good idea
- They look nervous therefore I’m not confident in them
- What they’re suggesting doesn’t fit with my agenda
- I don’t agree with what they’re saying, and so on …
However more importantly, you worry about what the outcomes are of people thinking these type of thoughts. That’s your real fear.
- Will they reconsider why they’ve employed me?
- Are they going to ask me to leave this committee?
- Will they decide not to promote me?
- Is this going to impact their judgement of my skills?
- Will they see others as more suitable for certain projects?
These all come back to you feeling like you’re not good enough. So what can you do about it?
One of the 5 techniques I share with clients is learning how to rely on ‘truths’ that dispel your fears … ‘I do know what I’m talking about it’ and have proof of that already.
Recalling situations or data that will back up what you’re saying and more importantly, give you the confidence that what you share is going to reinforce why they hired you, or why you should be considered for promotion. Teaching the brain to associate more positively.
Do you have a fear of other people’s opinions and what the outcomes of those opinions could be? What are you doing to balance this fear?