A Reflection on My Fears of Failure, Public Speaking, Losing My Marriage, and Losing My Father

Everyone has fears in their lives, or at least people, places, or things that tend to make them feel uncomfortable. My biggest fear is what keeps me up thinking day in and day out. Everyday people live their lives in fear. Fear of not knowing what to do or what to expect. Everyone lives their lives searching for joy and happiness, but it is hard to escape experiencing fear. It is an unavoidable emotion.

In my opinion, fear is what keeps us on the tip of our toes.

It does not matter your age, everyone has a fear in their lives. As a child, children may fear sleeping in the dark, on the other hand, an elderly person may fear losing their life. Ever since my freshman year of college, I feared having to take a public speaking course. Yes, people may overcome their fears, however we will always go through fear throughout our lives. The purpose behind this essay is to explain my fears of public speaking, losing my marriage and losing my father.

According to Kendra Cherry (2017), “emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior” (p. 1). Fear is a distressing emotion aroused by imminent danger; it is the feeling of being afraid. It is an emotion that is pre-programmed into all human species as an accustomed response towards danger. The fear I have had the longest in my life is my fear of public speaking.

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As far back as I can remember, being interviewed on television after a basketball game has resulted in me fearing to speak in front of people, or sometimes, stuttering when forced to speak in front of a group of people.

Back in the fall of 2012, I recall a time when I was interviewed after having a tremendous basketball game. I was so nervous, and all I did was stutter and repeat myself during the interview. I did not like the feeling of having to be interviewed on camera. Fall of 2013, I entered my freshman year of college and had to take up a public speaking course, and every time I had to present a presentation or do an oral speech to the class I would get nervous, hot, and I would end up stuttering throughout the presentation or speech. One time, I skipped class and cried to my professor because I felt I could not continue taking the public speaking course. For all these reasons, my fear of public speaking has been nothing but a downfall.

Growing up, I have come across family and friends who have dealt with difficulties with their marriage which lead to some displeasing consequences. I have witnessed my sister cry day and night because she was afraid of losing her marriage in which she could not see that there was anything wrong from the beginning. But, because of her internal fears, it led to external problems. Her being afraid of losing her marriage led to her marriage displaying issues she initially feared from the start. My sister’s fears resulted in doubts, false accusations and several arguments with her husband. As a teenager witnessing her situation led me to fearing loss in my future marriage. It is understood that when actions are noticed in fear, people almost always make poor decisions that lead to displeasing consequences. Fear is an emotion that leads many to act out of anger or frustration.

When you fear losing someone you love, it could shatter you completely. As a child, I have always been a daddy’s girl and I have always feared losing him unexpectedly. In August 2016, my father was hospitalized for weeks because of an unknown illness and the doctors explained that he may not survive the illness. I was worried, continuously crying day in and day out trying to find where I went wrong. The feeling was so bad that it sent chills running through my body.

I understand that fear prevents individuals from living their lives but I admit losing my father would have left me lost in a cold world. Emotions are difficult to cope with. According to Social Development, Clarke-Stewart and Parke (2014), “They involve a subjective reaction to something in the environment, are generally accompanied by some form of physiological arousal, and are often communicated to others by some expression or action” (p. 126). I will admit I have fears, just as everyone else in this world. And overcoming your fears is difficult to cope with.

Whether you are a child or an elderly person you will fear something in your lifetime. Who knows if my ongoing fear of public speaking, losing my marriage or losing my father will ever go away. My fear of public speaking is slowly going away because I am faced with having to communicate daily in front of a group of people. Losing my marriage, again, is a fear because I have witnessed my sister struggle trying to perfect her marriage and ended up destroying it because of her internal fears.

Even then, witnessing my sister’s marriage go down the drain because of her internal fears, helped me understand the stepping stones of overcoming my internal fears so it wouldn’t lead to external issues with my spouse in the future. Finally, the fear of losing my father is my worst fear because it is mortifying and traumatizing to lose someone so precious in your life. Over the past years, I have gotten over many fears. I know there is a chance that I will eventually get over fearing loss of my marriage and public speaking in the future. But, I may never get over the fear of losing my father. Overcoming fears shows a sign of growth and maturity as human beings. But, throughout everyone’s life, there is always something someone fears.

According to Randolph Cornelius (2000), there are four important theoretical perspectives on emotions. The four theoretical perspectives are known to be Darwinian, Cognitive, Jamesian, and Social Constructivist. The Darwinian Perspective is the knowledge that emotions are developed through experience. Because, as humans, we have issues we have once faced.

In my opinion, emotions are evolved and developed overtime. The Jamesian perspective is much like the Darwinian perspective. According to James, without having bodily changes, it is impossible to have emotions. According to James (1884), “the nervous system of every living thing is but a bundle of predispositions to react in particular ways upon contact of particular features of the environment” (p. 190). My understanding to James response is that, humans, and/or animals react in certain ways when they come in contact of certain situations.

For example, fear. When I entered my freshman year of college and had to take a public speaking course, my reaction was, “no, I cannot do this, I’m in fear of speaking in front of a group of classmates I do not know.” My reaction to having to stand in front of a group of individuals just made me not want to go through with taking the course.

The cognitive perspective is concerned with a learning process. It involves mental processes such as memory, use of language, problem solving, perception, thinking, and emotion. According to Randolph Cornelius (2000), “the central assumption of the cognitive perspective and its associated tradition of research is that thought and emotion are inseparable” (p. 3). Like the Jamesian perspective, James believed without having bodily changes, it is impossible to have emotions. As to Arnold, she believes that you cannot perceive an emotion without an appraisal. Moreover, the social constructivist perspective is a sociological theory of knowledge. Knowledge in which is generally constructed through interactions with others, such as family, teachers, and peers.

Fear acts instantly. It is something that enormous amounts of people have encountered at least once at some point of their lives. It has caused a variety of outcomes, many of which are negative. Fear is, perhaps, nature’s way of stopping us from doing things that may hurt us, such as trying to fight someone bigger and stronger than us. Fear can range from little scare to paralyzing terror. At best, we feel some muscular tension. At worst, our muscles either go completely rigid or totally weakened.

In my opinion, fear can also be quite exciting rather than just being scary. For example, when my twenty-five-year-old brother rides a roller-coaster, he knows he is safe but he automatically have fear reactions because his adrenaline is rushing and he gets nervous as the roller-coaster is spinning around in different angles. It is understood that we can suffer from extreme fears in irrational phobias such as fear of spiders, small places and so on. Being on this earth for twenty-three years, I have dealt with many different fears. Fears such as, being afraid of the dark at an early age to being afraid of public speaking, loss of my dad, failure and death as I matured to better understanding life.

Transitioning from childhood to an adolescence can be difficult. It is not unusual for social anxiety disorder symptoms to begin appearing around the age of thirteen. During early childhood, I feared loud noises, darkness, ghosts, monsters, and animals. During adolescence years, I began to fear being different from my peers, public speaking, worrying about what others thought, physical appearances, failure, death and so on. Fear of public speaking is a common phenomenon that many people around the world struggle to cope with.

I have always admired those who seem to be able to just flow through their speeches without as much as a hint of nerves. For as long as I can remember, public speaking has always been one of my greatest weaknesses. Whether it is a simple in-class presentation or a speech in front of an audience, I could barely get my words out from the anxiety and stress that had built up inside. It usually sends chills down my spine. My chest gets tight and it feels like I am burning up.

During my first public speaking course, I began to feel my heart pounding faster than usual. I noticed how moist the palms of my hands were, and how cold the room had suddenly gotten. My professor went on relentlessly about nothing I can remember. He may have been one of my favorite professors, but my fear of public speaking led me to itching to run out of the classroom before it was my time to present. But, I kept repeating to myself, “stay calm, you have nothing to worry about.”

There are many definitions people may have on the term fear but, however, fear is ultimately an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. The main issue people have about the emotion called fear is the profound impact it has on their lives. Often, when people feel the emotion of fear, it results to doing things they would not usually do or making poor decisions based off being in uncomfortable situations. Death is something no one likes to encounter. Whether it be a parent, friend, or family member. It is commonly understood that it is the feeling of total sadness. Losing someone close to you leaves you in daze as if you were dreaming.

My strongest fear is losing my father. I would be totally speechless because he has always been the backbone in my life for twenty-three years and being without him would have me lost and confused.

Some people may say public speaking, failure, loss of a marriage and loss of a parent is not a fear in their lives. But others may think otherwise. Coping with the loss of a close friend or family member may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face. When we lose a spouse, sibling or parent our grief can generally be intense. Loss is understood as a natural part of life, but we can still be overcome by shock and confusion. One of the hardest things about losing a parent is feeling that nobody understands the pain you are going through.

This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life, it was like getting the wind knocked out of my body. I felt grief and frustration like I never felt before. I may have had family members who have passed away, but to hear doctors tell me that my father may not survive was something within itself. I was totally speechless and confused and it had me shattered to pieces.

In the article “How Fear Works”, fear is defined as a chain reaction in the brain that starts off with a stressful stimulus and comes to an end with the release of chemicals (Layton 1). Marriage is the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship. But, when couples marry, they vow to stay by one another side forever. It is commonly known that divorces today are more the norm than ever before. Growing up, I watched my sister throw away her marriage because of her internal fears. Her internal fear led to external problems.

Although we deeply desire the security and joy of a lifelong relationship, we tend to still fear losing marriage because of internal insecurities. Witnessing my sister cry day in and day out about losing her marriage led me to having a fear of losing my future marriage. It is understood that when actions are noticed in fear, people almost always make poor decisions that lead to displeasing consequences. Her fear resulted in doubts, false accusations and several arguments with her spouse that was unnecessary.

Garofalo (1981) interprets fear as an emotional reaction in which is characterized by a sense of danger. Nonetheless, my fear of failure is characterized by a sense of worriedness. According to Conroy and Elliot (2004), the fear of failure has been viewed as an important influence on different behaviors such as an achievement behavior. Several people fail at some point in their lives. It is a necessary and fundamental part of life. It is understood that failure is not a means of end but it gives us the boost to find success in our lives. In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to go through life without experiencing failure. People who do probably live their lives cautiously.

From an early age, I feared failure in life because of the ones I was raised around. Growing up, I have been around many people who have failed in life because they could not balance work and play. For example, my older sister’s husband is an example of failure. He would bounce from job to job because he could not keep a stabled job. He constantly wanted to be out drinking, partying, or smoking with friends instead of taking care of business to take care of his family. It is understood that there needs to be a line drawn between work and play, and for some people they do not know where to draw the line. When it comes to fear of failure, I fear of failing to make my family happy.

It was way back when that I witnessed my family struggle day in and day out. My mother was a stay at home mother who had to maintain taking care of six children, along with cleaning the house and providing food for the family. On the other hand, my father worked very long days to provide for my family with a means of sustenance. There was plenty of love from both my mother and father to nurture me and my siblings, but all the challenging work had stress built up inside of them. Out of the six siblings, I am the youngest. I was the star. I was the one who received the most attention.

Even though I was the youngest, I always noticed the lack of happiness in my family and it made me want to make a change. Being that I was the baby, I could not do what I wanted to do to take care of my family. Around the age of thirteen, I began to see my families’ happiness go down the drain. My father’s father passed away and it sent my parents into depression which led to worse of things. My fear of failing my family came into play.

Around age fourteen, I took it upon myself to do everything in my power to help make my family happy, whether it was work and go to school or go to school a pursue my dreams of basketball. During the adolescence stage, adolescents search for a sense of self and personal identity, through an intense exploration of personal values, beliefs, and goals. As an adolescent, I became more independent and began to look at the future in terms of how I can make my family happy. I am now twenty-three years old and a senior in college. I was the first person in my family to graduate high school, to go to college, and in less than eight months I will be graduating from college with my BA in Psychology.

I still fear of failing to make my family happy but I have accomplished a goal that have satisfied my families happiness. In my opinion, it seems as if failure becomes hindrance in continuing our lives. The fear of failing can be immobilizing. It can cause us to do nothing, and end up resisting to move forward. But when we allow fear to stop our forward progress, we are more than likely to miss out on some great opportunities.

Even though many fear to fail it can still be a growing experience. For example, for many years I feared that I would fail at making my family happy; it led to me going out and doing everything possible to make sure I can satisfy their happiness. Moreover, everyone has different assumptions of what failure really means, simply because we all have different values, standards and beliefs. A failure to me can possibly be a great learning experience for someone else. Many of us fear of failing, but it is understood to be a tool of motivation for us to pursue our dreams.

Even though I have feared many things throughout my twenty-three years on this earth, my biggest fears came around my adolescent years. On various occasions people would ask me why would I fear at failing my family. The first answer that came to mind was, “family is everything to me and all I would like to do is make them happy.” In conclusion, everyone has different perceptions of fear, but my fear of failing my family stems off how I watched them struggle while I was growing up. People try to not think about it too much, but it is inevitable, it is something many people have to cope with because of what they witnessed growing up.

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A Reflection on My Fears of Failure, Public Speaking, Losing My Marriage, and Losing My Father. (2022, Dec 11). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-reflection-on-my-fears-of-failure-public-speaking-losing-my-marriage-and-losing-my-father/

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