Fear has been a powerful force in my life.
When left unchecked, it has been my ruler—keeping me stuck in destructive patterns for much longer than I care to think about. Fear is tricky. It’s insidious. Sometimes, it’s so much a part of our subconscious we don’t even realize it’s there.
Fear doesn’t always show up in our lives with big bursts of adrenaline and physical responses. That kind of fear is useful in keeping us safe from harm and is typically obvious and easy to identify. Fear can also be subtle—it shows up in our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs about ourselves.
This quiet fear can present as worry. Worrying occurs when we let our subconscious fears control our imagination. That little voice steps up to remind us of all the things that could go wrong, all the ways that we could fail, or get hurt, or find disappointment. Worry is never going to solve a problem for us. If anything, it just sucks the joy out of every moment we devote to it.
Fear can manifest as self-doubt—causing indecisiveness and second guessing. It creates confusion in our minds, making it impossible to move forward. Fear gives us all the “what ifs”—like worry, it reminds us of all the things that could go wrong. It brings up the pain from our past to remind us that we can’t possibly have, do, or be everything that we want. It shows us obstacles: real ones, and ones that we’ve created in our own minds to keep us from what we desire. It creates insecurity, depletes our confidence, and makes us forget how perfectly capable we are.
Fear can also show up in our lives as avoidance.
We shy away from the things we most desire because fear is there to tell us that we can’t have them. We build up walls to keep ourselves safely separate from people we care about, because fear reminds us that if they get too close, we might hurt each other. We don’t chase our dreams because fear is there to remind us that dreams are not attainable. Allowing fear to dictate our actions this way keeps us spinning our wheels at the jobs we hate, stuck in the wrong relationships, unwilling to take risks or make progress in our lives.
In the most extreme cases in my experience, fear has paralyzed me. It kept me from making the big changes in my life that I most needed to make for my own health and happiness. Fear kept me clinging to the familiar, unable to imagine what would happen to me if I let go.
Truly, I can see that fear manifests in my life whenever my higher self is nudging me to do something that my physical self doesn’t feel prepared for. My fear is the resistance I feel when I’m not aligning with myself and my purpose completely. It is an indicator that a period of growth is beginning.
I used to view fear as negative thing. I considered it a weakness, a flaw in my character. Now, I see that it’s a sacred part of my human experience. It is normal to be afraid. It is healthy to honor my fear, to acknowledge and witness it as part of me.
Embracing my fear helps me to trust that I am on the right path. Every big decision or change I’ve made in my life was proceeded by fear. Pushing through that fear—feeling it and making the step anyway—has shown me my strength and courage. It has helped me believe in myself, and trust that no matter how scary something feels, I can handle it.
Most often, what I fear is uncertainty.
This fear comes from not being able to see around the corners of my life. It’s not knowing what will happen if I let go of this to reach for that. It’s holding onto what feels safe, instead of stepping toward the things worry and self-doubt tell me I can’t have.
The only way to combat this fear of uncertainty is to take those big, scary leaps of faith whenever life presents them. It’s trusting that even if I can’t see exactly how things will work out, they will. It’s knowing that when I’m making choices from a place of self-love, life will always support me. If I just make that jump, somehow, my feet will land on solid ground.
Embracing my fear as a sacred part of my human experience allows me to see it as a tool. It’s a way for me to gauge my own forward motion. If I’m always in my comfort zone feeling safe and secure, I’m not really living.
I need to challenge myself—my personal evolution, growth, and development depend on my willingness to give up complacency and step into the unknown. Overcoming my fear gives me tremendous power to create the life I want for myself.
Author: Renee Dubeau
Editor: Catherine Monkman