The Fear of "Not Measuring Up" — When it Turns Into a Phobia, All Hell Breaks Loose!

It's pretty normal to feel fear. It's the human response, our body responding to stimuli, which helps to protect us. It activates the flight or fight response but a phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, is no threat and poses no danger.  

This is a normal reaction to the fear of flying; Sitting at the airport two hours early, worrying if your plane is going to be late, and if late, why? Biting your fingernails. Pacing. Sweaty palms. Clasping then unclasping your seat belt to make sure it works properly, squeezing the arm rests, closing your eyes and holding your breath during take off. These are all normal behaviours, consistent with the fear of flying.

This is a phobia of flying; You're best friend is getting married, in Cabo San Lucas. The groom has sent you a free ticket with hotel included but no, you won't go because you have to fly and you're afraid to fly and you miss out on your best friends wedding.

Getting nervous is perfectly normal; if you see a pit bull dog unleashed coming running around a corner towards you, especially if you are walking...


"Tinker bell," of course it is understandable that anyone would get a little nervous. But, avoiding walking "Tinkerbell" altogether because you may by chance encounter another dog, a pit bull or not, is considered a phobia, not normal at all.

Climbing a ladder is quite scary for some. The higher the scarier, that's normal. But it isn't normal to turn a job opportunity down because the office where the interview is being held, is on the fifteenth floor. That's a phobia.

Having hemorrhoids is pretty normal. It's a common problem for many. Not wanting to talk about it in public is perfectly normal, but afraid to go to the doctor because you're afraid to show him your bum, now that's a phobia.

What I'm trying to say here is that some phobias are quite common and are often mistaken for fear. 

For babies, ages 0-2 these things scare them; loud noises, strangers, separation from parents and large objects. We adjust as we age. For children 3-6 it's ghosts and monsters, the dark, sleeping alone and weird noises. All understandably scary to a very young child. Ages 7 and up we tend to have more realistic fears like getting hurt, sick, or dying, and natural disasters but the most important fear we develop, and this tends to start at a very early age is the fear of not measuring up. 

When the fear of "Not Measuring Up" turns into a phobia, all hell breaks loose, murders and suicide can't be ruled out. If you don't measure up, you're not smart enough, you're less successful, not as good-looking, a down right loser. Life's not fair.

All I can say is; be who you are, try the best you can and stop comparing yourself to everyone else, then you don't have to measure up to someone else's standards. Make yourself the standard everyone measures themselves by.

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