Fear is a feeling we naturally want to run away from. From a young age, we’re asked what our greatest fears in life are. As children, we respond with things like spiders, heights and ghosts. Things that make us squirm or could hurt us.
Fear is defined as “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined.” It is also defined as “the feeling or condition of being afraid.”
What if I told you that we should welcome fear? That you should be feeling fear throughout your life and embracing it. That you should be moving through it, not away from it. Fear might actually be guiding us to our highest selves. Fear is testing us, and ultimately, it’s teaching us.
Fear is testing us, and ultimately, it’s teaching us.
If we avoid fear, then we will avoid living. We run away from hard things, and when we do, new opportunities of growth and change are lost.
Instead of our childhood fears of spiders, our truest fears are much deeper. They come in the form of change—whether that be a change of of time, location or relationship status. We have traumas in our lives that cause us to fear loss and grief at the deepest level. Instead of taking the leap, we often allow fear to paralyze us because we are terrified of the possibility of the fall. We stay put. Instead of thriving, we merely survive.
Right now, you might be facing unknowns and uncertainties at a fast pace. These changes may make you feel uncomfortable and confused. However, fear is there for a reason. It’s a feeling that allows you to decide for yourself what is worthy of your attention.
Fear means we are interested. We are curious. When we look past those surface level fears and look into the deep seeded fears that we carry it’s important to acknowledge why fear is showing up for us.
Acknowledge Your Fears
Maybe you fear one of the following:
- Leaving your corporate job to pursue your own business or side hustle
- Starting a family
- Being in a committed relationship
- Looking at yourself in the mirror
- Time, or the lack thereof
Fear might actually be revealing a hidden desire. I like to think that we fear the things we want most in life. We fear the things that bring us discomfort due to our own personal traumas or the unknowns ahead. However, just because discomfort is present doesn’t mean we should be still. We should be willing to take the leap despite the fear.
We should be willing to take the leap despite the fear.
Become Aware of Your Fears
When fear is present, it might mean that past traumas, the ones you thought you were over, may be unknowingly popping up. Do you fear starting that side hustle? Is it because you were told that the only way to have stability is by having a consistent, 9-to-5 job and healthcare? Thus, you second guess yourself and feel like an imposter for even wanting to try.
Maybe you fear starting a family of your own because you grew up in a dysfunctional family environment. Now, you think there is no way that you could be a good parent, leaving you constantly yearning for more.
Do you fear being in a committed relationship? Maybe that’s because you’ve been cheated on. Past partners have been non-existent. You’ve never received the love you gave. The fear of being hurt again leaves you alone and heartbroken.
Do you fear looking in the mirror? Perhaps, it is because society’s standards say you have to look a certain way. Perhaps, you don’t know how to be kind to yourself because the thoughts in your mind are telling you that you aren’t worthy.
Do you fear time? Perhaps it’s because you have lost someone you love. You know how suddenly a life can end.
Welcome Your Fears
Fear might actually be trying to tell you:
- You’re ready and wanting freedom.
- You are your own person. You get to decide what type of parent you want to be.
- You deserve love.
- You want to feel like you’re enough, to see yourself how others see you and feel the love you give.
- You want to live to the fullest. You have things you want to do, places you want to see and memories you want to make.
When feelings of fear come, so does opportunity. Once you acknowledge fear and welcome it, you give yourself the opportunity to lean into it rather than run from it. You allow yourself an opportunity to learn more about yourself and to heal from past trauma. Once you lean in, you allow yourself the chance to grow.
How do you process your fear in a healthy way? What tips do you have for dealing with fear?
Image via Alexa Glazer