The Benefits of Fear
Fear is not always a bad thing. It can sometimes move us to greatness.
Posted July 19, 2013 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan
Fear is a tricky human emotion. It can paralyze you. It can keep you from your dreams. It can keep you small.
It can also keep you safe.
Fear can be your friend in just the right doses, but too much of it can kill you.
My friend explained to me how she recently used her fear to confront an abusive boss. Her workplace situation had gotten to the point of anguish so, despite her fear (or because of it), she knew something had to change. So she gathered up her fear and took it with her into the meeting. Her body shook, her knees grew weak, but her resolve remained unshaken.
Fear tells us we are in danger. But oftentimes it is imagined, not real. My friend managed to stake her ground and defend herself in a bad work environment. Her fear informed her that something wasn't right. And after her meeting, the fear went away completely and she realized it was a lot easier to have that conversation than she thought.
Therein lies the clue. We often think things are going to be hard and then are pleasantly surprised when they are not.
Stress, for instance, is a subjective thing. Unless we are talking about physical strain, stress is typically induced by our thoughts about what is happening. It isn't the actual event itself that incurs the feeling of stress. It is our thinking behind it that does.
Stress is fear-based. We worry that things won't turn out, that what is unfolding is somehow not right. So we take action—or not. Depending on how we respond to things, we are either more stressed or we go into a full release, allowing things to occur just as they might.
I prefer the latter. Releasing takes off the pressure, allows fear to go home, and for possibilities to take root in even the most difficult situations.
Love your fear. That's all it needs. It only grows when you let it consume you and that usually happens when we forget how helpful our fear is trying to be. It really wants our best, however irrational it sometimes is.
Fear can be a very good thing indeed. It has its place—in moderation!