The DTR – Fear

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DTR with Fear

How fear can and will control your life until you define the relationship

Anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows about the DTR.

It is that moment when you realize that you’re not sure where the other person, or maybe even you personally, stand in terms of the relationship that you’ve been building. Is this just a friendship, or something more? Are we just casually hanging out, or is this an exclusive, committed relationship? Am I the only one hearing wedding bells, or do they share the same feelings?

Sooner or later, the moment arrives, and it’s time to have the DTR; It’s time to “Define The Relationship.”

The clarity that comes from having the DTR is nothing short of spectacular, regardless of the outcome. At the very least, this conversation empowers you to take action according to what is real, not based on all of the imaginary scenarios and questions that have been spinning through your head.

You now have permission. Permission to give everything that you are to one another, permission to leave and pursue other people, or permission to stay on course with where you already were.

Permission is the desired outcome of the DTR.

It’s time to have the DTR

It’s time for us to talk about one of the longest standing relationships in your life, because it’s not going away anytime soon…


Fear has been courting you since your infancy, and it will continue to court you for the rest of your life.

As a child, fear took the form of monsters in the closet or under your bed, waiting for the lights to go out so they could come out to scare you. As you grew older, fear morphed into the rejection and opinions of others, the not being picked for teams or just being picked on in general.

As much as we’d like to say that we grow out of it or overcome it, the truth is that fear has always and will always be a major part of our lives. Until you have the DTR, much of your life will be dictated by fear’s terms, rather than your own.

Imagine you’ve lost your memory…

There is a famous quote from pastor Robert Schuller that says, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” For the purposes of this conversation, I want you to consider it this way: What would you attempt or choose to do if fear were not a factor?

For example, if there were no fads, fashion critics, or judgments of style, how would you dress? If you had no memory of past relationships, how or who would you date? If you knew that you were LOVED and that you are ENOUGH, how would you act?

Realistically, we know that we can’t eliminate fear or these experiences and external forces from our lives (at least not without a lobotomy, but we really don’t want to go there!), however we can define how and in what ways we will allow them to affect us. We can give ourselves permission to control our relationship with fear.

Defining your relationship with fear

As we’ve already determined, fear is here to stay, however you can decide whether fear will be your lifelong friend or your worst enemy based on how you “Define The Relationship.”

How much of a factor is fear playing in your choices? How much is fear guiding, protecting, or keeping you from living your life? Fear can either be an exhilarating motivator or your worst enemy, and it all depends on how YOU define it.

Hall of Fame NFL Wide Receiver Jerry Rice is considered to be the greatest wide receiver in NFL history. Here is his Hall of Fame acceptance speech:

“I’m here to tell you that the fear of failure is the engine that has driven me throughout my entire life. It flies in the faces of all these sports psychologists who say you have to let go of your fears to be successful and that negative thoughts will diminish performance. But not wanting to disappoint my parents, and later my coaches, teammates and fans, is what pushed me to be successful.”

Here is a man who has clearly harnessed the power of fear, and used it to his advantage for the advancement of his career and life in general.

If you choose, fear can be one of the greatest sources of motivation in your life. It can push you to challenge yourself to reach your true potential. You can take the nervous energy that it feeds you and use it as fuel to drive you forward.


You can allow fear to paralyze you. As your worst enemy, fear can control you and hold you in your “comfort zone,” ensuring that you will never extend yourself to your true potential. Fear can fill your head with doubt and “what ifs” (most of which will NEVER happen), and serve as the most controlling, abusive relationship in your life.

So, which do you choose? What will your life look like if you don’t make a change? What will happen if you don’t harness the power of fear?

It’s time for you to define the relationship.


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Donald Jenkins

My personal story is an ongoing adventure, and it’s one that I love to share with others. My life has taken me down many roads; from selling books door to door, to developing and leading sales teams in the healthcare industry and through business consulting, to volunteering with high school kids as a YoungLife Leader, and watching close friends of mine rise to fame in country music.

2 thoughts on “The DTR – Fear

  1. Edye Button says:

    I really enjoyed this article Donald and I would like to add DYR as an option. It stands for Define Your Relationship. Once you have done DTR and know where you are standing as a relationship you can take it one step further and check your DYR to see what value you are bringing to it as well. If both parties are getting value then it is a strong relationship regardless of its definition. Some of my best relationships are friendships that have lasted for years.

  2. Aimee says:

    Love it Donald. This blog about fear can be applied to so much more than just relationships, too! I am currently reading a book called Lean In, written by the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg. One of my favorite sections of the book thus far focuses on – “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. Let’s just say, this is written everywhere from my planner to my heart now. Great post.

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