When Fear Is Your Frenemy - by Jen Hatzung for MotherHustle
“Fear and I are like Gossip Girl besties: not really friends, but fear knows my deepest darkest secrets.”

Fear and I go way back. We have a love-hate relationship.

Fear is what often pushes me out of my comfort zone. Fear is also what stops me from pursuing a lot of things.

I have a fear of flying. I’m not exactly sure when it started, but I think a lot of it has to do with the lack of control I have when I’m up in the air. I still fly, but man alive is it annoying to have the most ridiculous scenarios play through my head as we take off.

I have the most morbid worst-case scenario thoughts about so many things.

When my daughter was a newborn, I had vivid thoughts of me falling down the stairs with her.

Why?

Probably because I was afraid this sweet baby we prayed for for years was too good to be true.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been a worrier.

Worry is just another form of fear.

I was always worried no one would show up for my birthday party as a kid…most likely, it was probably fear that was taking control. I was fearful people didn’t like me. And honestly, I have that same fear today: that I will plan a party and people won’t show up.

I imagined it would be a cakewalk to write about fear because fear and I are like Gossip Girl besties: not really friends, but fear knows my deepest darkest secrets.

But the reality is, when your fear controls you, it is hard to write about because it means you have to admit the control fear has over you.

I have a fear that this beautiful life I live will one day come crashing down.

Why do I think that way? I think because, oftentimes, I feel unworthy of the life I live.

Fear for me is often the emotion used to mask my feeling of unworthiness.

Despite how hard I work at something, or how much I know I am worthy of things like praise, a job that pays me my worth, or even that I am worthy of being a mom, I often times live in this weird place where I think God got it all wrong and that I am not worthy of these things.

So I live in fear.

I am fearful of screwing up motherhood.

I am fearful of never being able to hit these big crazy entrepreneurial goals that I have.

I am fearful that the work I do is not good enough and someone will fire me.

I live in self-created fear.

But what I have the most fear about is what others will think of me.

The fear of what others will think of me if I do X, Y, or Z is what usually cripples me.

If I try something and fail what will others think?

If I post this thought or emotion what will others think?

If I start this new business and it fails what will others think?

Motherhood has allowed me to see my fears and begin to tackle them head-on. I don’t know exactly why, but having a daughter has shifted my way of thinking.

I don’t want her to not pursue something because she is afraid of what others might think of her.

I don’t want her to be afraid to fail. We all fail at things, but it is the getting back up that gets us to success, and I want her to see that.

I have to tackle my fears to show her it is ok to fail.

When I let fear control me, it means I’m never giving myself a chance to succeed. Fear says I’m not good enough, so why even try??

When I look back on certain choices I made in my life, I can see how and when I was letting fear take control. Instead of being ok with possibly failing at something, I would just say NO. I would let the opportunity pass me by.

When I start to dig into my fears, I begin to see that I do not value myself in the way others do. I don’t give myself the credit I deserve. I don’t give myself the encouragement and pep talks I so willingly hand out to others.

The fear is rooted in perfectionism. If it can’t be perfect I can’t do it.

That used to be my thought process. Until I realized it is impossible for something to be perfect. Something I often forget.

I have to check myself on a regular, probably daily basis, to see if I am letting perfectionism and fear control me.

Motherhood has opened my eyes to the reality that nothing will ever be perfect. It is instead wonderful and beautiful to live and work through the mess.

Seeing your almost two-year-old experiencing and exploring the world with such enthusiasm reminds you that fear can cripple you.

The fearlessness of a toddler is the best medicine for a perpetually fearful mama.

The way she looks at the huge staircase and thinks, “I can climb those!” is the best reminder that I too can tackle my fears.

The way she is willing to try something new without fear of the unknown is the encouragement I need.

The less I live in fear of what others will think and instead focus on the regret I might have for not trying something, the less fear controls me.

I am not sure I’ll ever be released from fear, but I do know that when I am able to dig deeper into that fear, I am giving myself the opportunity to work through my feelings and emotions. I am giving myself the freedom to push back.  I am giving myself the opportunity to dive into that fear and figure out what the real issue is, and instead of just avoiding it, I can challenge it.


MotherHustle panelist Jen Hatzung is a business strategist + podcaster (podcast currently on hiatus) who lives in Norfolk, VA with her naval officer husband, toddler and dachshund. She can be found drinking copious amounts of coffee or wine (depending on the time of day) while making lists and strategizing when she can fit in her next run. She currently co-leads her local MOPS group, has her own direct sales business selling lipstick, and does the preschool/naptime hustle helping small business owners with their online engagement. If there is any time left in the day she has her nose in a book or watching HGTV. Find her onInstagram.

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