Facing the Unknown: Understanding Fear of Growing Up & 7 Steps to Overcome It

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Having a fear of the unknown is incredibly common because it represents the sum of all our worries and every potential obstacle or stumbling block possible. Obviously, for the most part, these fears are entirely unfounded. 

Growing up and striking out on your own to find your place in this world is terrifying to many, but nothing can pause or halt the progression of time. 

Luckily, there is a formula that you can follow to overcome any fear that you might have. 

Remember that Fear is a Natural Reaction

First, you must remember that fear is not unique; it is a byproduct of being alive. There is evidence of fear, anxiety, and trepidation in many other species besides humans; we are simply the only ones that can articulate our feelings. 

Envisioning the worst-case scenarios is often seen as a survival tactic developed to ensure that we are prepared for whatever may come our way. That being said, the likelihood of these scenarios occurring is slim, and indulging in this thinking is often incredibly limiting. 

Acknowledging that it is okay to have fears is the first step in trying to combat them.

Work Out the Cause of Your Fears

The next thing that you should do is try to work out the cause of your fear. Fear, as mentioned above, is a survival instinct. You might know what you are afraid of, for example, growing up, but do you know why you fear this? 

Often, abstract fears that do not directly affect your survival, like a fear of heights, open water, or loud noises, are the product of your negative self-talk and experiences

Try to think more deeply about why you are afraid of getting older and growing up. What is it about this natural aging process that fills you with so much anxiety and fear? 

Push Back Against Your Fears

Once you have worked more to identify the cause of your fears, you can begin to question and push back against them. Try to sit there and lean into it. Does any evidence support your fear of growing up in any real, tangible way? 

Think about other times you have faced your fears and successfully coped with the unknown. The questions are likely to continue. 

However, before too long, you will likely find that your fears have been blown out of proportion by indulgence in them. 

You Might Fail, So What?

Many people fear growing up because they see it as something they can succeed or fail at, something that can be won or lost. There is also a self-imposed time limit that many people deal with; they think that if they haven’t achieved their goals by a certain age, they never will. 

This is not the case. It is all about reframing what success looks like to you. So you might not have achieved all your goals by the age you had in mind, but it doesn’t mean you never will. 

You might fail initially, but it doesn’t mean you are a failure. 

There are a lot of people out there who are paralyzed by the thought of failing, so much so that they don’t even try, but the thing about failure is that it is arbitrary, and a perceived failure might be a blessing in disguise.

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Feeling the Fear

While the above steps are designed to help you understand your fears a little more and lessen their hold on you, the likelihood of completely combatting the anxiety is low. 

There will always be remnants of the fear left, whether this is butterflies in your tummy, a sense of unease, or even something like heart palpitations. 

Anything that takes you out of your comfort zone will be uncomfortable to an extent, hence the name. It is going to disrupt your life and come with feelings of uncertainty. 

However, these feelings tend to only appear in the initial stages as you venture out of your comfort zone. They soon subside as you get used to the new activity, location, or whatever the case may be. Your comfort zone grows to encompass this. 

The phrase “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” comes to mind in these situations. 

Learning to Embrace Change

Fear of growing up is often seen as a combination of a fear of the unknown and being uncomfortable with change. 

However, both are unavoidable; you cannot avoid change, and even if you lived a sedentary life, the world around you would continue to change and disrupt your life. Resisting change often only makes it all the more disruptive to your life. 

You need to learn how to embrace change or, at the very least, move with it. Change can be healthy and good for you; the difference provides you with new opportunities and the chance to grow both personally and professionally. 

Come Up with Calming Techniques

Lastly, as mentioned above, your fears are still likely to manifest in various potential physical symptoms despite all the work you have done to control and lessen their effect on you. 

Fears are held in mind; this is why it is worth thinking about a few calming techniques you can use when you feel these symptoms to get them under control. This could be meditation, yoga, or anything that helps to calm your mind. 

Self-care is essential, and it does look different for different people, so bear that in mind.

To Conclude

Getting older and growing up is simply unavoidable. There is nothing that you can do to stop it despite your fears. 

Having a fear surrounding the unknown is very normal, but indulging in these fears does nothing for you apart from holding you back, which is precisely why you need to devise a plan to combat them. 

This is what the seven steps listed above are designed to do. Of course, if you need extra help, the stress management techniques and products found on this site can greatly help. 

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Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos
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