Fear as a Guide

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

Why is it that our inner voice tells us things we often deny before we finally admit that that voice not only scares the hell out of us but simultaneously excites us? It’s big. It requires change. It commands you to leap out of your comfort zone. I’m not talking about something harmful or illegal, but rather something that takes guts to do. Something that is fear-inducing.

I’m always in awe at the complexity of our inner selves. Living consciously is more satisfying but definitely not easier. When you fear what your inner self is guiding you toward, consider these thoughts.

  • Confirm that it’s your inner wisdom speaking and not some other voice, such as society saying you should have a high-paying, stressful job that doesn’t excite you.
  • Remember a time when what you are doing now sounded scary. Appreciate that all new experiences come with a dose of fear.
  • Your wise inner self won’t pressure you into making irrational, terrifying changes.
  • After looking at the situation from different angles, if you feel strongly that the guidance is from your wise, calm, inner self and you’re still afraid, it may be time to accept the fear and do it anyway.

I ask myself these questions when I feel afraid: “Is this the wrong thing to do? Or is this the right thing to do and I’m just scared to do it?” When I answer these questions in my mind, I pay attention to how I feel the answers in my body. I know it’s the right thing to do when I feel butterflies of excitement in my belly. It’s time to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Get Curious

Write in your journal using the prompts below or respond to them in a visual way such as painting or cutting images from magazines.

I am afraid to know...

(Blank) scares me because...

If I could orchestrate my dream outcome, it would look like...

My dream outcome would feel like...

Go Deeper

What did you learn about your interaction with fear?

What situation terrifies and exhilarates you now?

How might that fear be guiding you toward something exciting and worthwhile?