Fear Can Be a Friend

There's usually a deeper message behind your fear — and you can learn to listen.

Posted Jun 01, 2018

We all have natural fears. They have been in our DNA forever. In our cave-dwelling days, a fear of heights (which is really a fear of falling) kept us from jumping off cliffs, and it still serves to remind us that falls from high places will most likely kill us. Yes, this natural proclivity that helps us to not plunge to our death is a good thing. And it has kept me from parachuting off a perfectly good airplane — even though it might be fun.

Another real fear tends to rule me along with millions of others. To be blunt, I don’t want to end up living in my car. So, I work very hard to keep that from even coming close to happening. That fear has given me drive, and I push myself to continue moving forward. I use my fear to make my life better, and every time I do, the fear subsides a little.

After some practice, you can use some of your fears to motivate yourself or to see things from a different perspective, like actors who use their fears to help them get into roles. You can use your feelings to get better at what you do. When you can integrate processing your own issues into your work or any other constructive outlet, it will help you in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Creatively, in dealing with difficult people, helping with relationship issues, and in the struggle for the legal tender, channeling your fears can help inspire you to reach new heights. I truly believe that my desire to continue to be of service and to take care of my family originates from my own fears, and it also keeps me from letting those fears run my life. 

When things aren’t going in the direction I would like them to, I usually say something stupid, and my wife reminds me that everything is fine. The good part about it is that I believe her, and my fear subsides. I used to hate the worry, but now I’ve come to understand it and have even made friends with it, because it is telling me that there is probably still something unhealed inside me that I need to work on. I actually like that reminder, because if I’m not working on myself, I feel like I’m not working.

That’s a good thing too, because once we stop striving to make ourselves and our lives better, it means we may have given up on some level, and when you do that, you become a victim. That’s another thing I’m afraid of, so again I am reminded that if bad things happen, I can survive and turn them around. I know this because I’ve done it too many times to keep count. That knowledge, derived from fear, has become motivation, and you can do the same for yourself. 

Invite your fears in for tea and talk with them. Tell them (yourself) that you will only keep the fears that make you better. Once you do that, the fears themselves stop being scary, and you won’t end up in your own horror story.