The Good Fear And The Bad Fear

February 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

Photo by Angie Rubin

Fear is often debilitating but it doesn’t have to be so.

In its “pure” form fear is an instinctual response to potential danger. It is a “good” fear because it gets our senses focused, our pupils dilated, our muscles tightened.  We get ready to fight or flight.

But fear should never be our reaction to experiencing new things. It should not send us into an anxiety attack with the mere thought of us stepping outside our routine or our comfort zone.  When that happens, it is a real shame, because trying something new is the surest way to expand our knowledge and emotional existence. Without risk, without something new the world and we would still be in the caves.

Think of how excited we get when we receive a gift without knowing what it is inside of the package.  The excitement is often greater than the actual gift.  The anticipation where all of our senses come together to imagine what the gift is, is what keeps us vibrant and alive.  Not risking, being afraid of trying something new is like never wondering what is inside of the gift box.

Taking risks – not talking about jumping off a plane without a parachute – forces us to focus, learn and stretch our wisdom.  But many of us equate risking or trying something new with the possibility of losing everything or of putting what we worked so hard for in jeopardy. But without taking risks, without experiencing something new we become passive passengers on our own journey.  We stop making decisions and instead hope nothing will happen.

But if we want to feel energized and curious it is imperative that we balance our fears with the excitement for the new. So how do we do that?

  • Give some thought to the new endeavor/experience remembering the answer you are looking for is not necessarily should we do it or not, but if we do it, will this be of benefit to my life?  To better answer that, imagine what your life will feel like by going through this experience.
  • Once you decide to try something new, take one step at a time.  Like a mountain climber you shouldn’t keep looking at the peak.  It can be overwhelming. Instead think about the next step you need to take. Look at what is right ahead of you.
  • If anxiety hits, remind yourself you have thought through the risks and decided the process of going through the change was worth it.  Then take a deep breath and again think how exciting it is going to be to try something new and how great it will be to achieve your goal.

Once you get used to putting your fear in check, taking risks, growing, changing, will be as exciting as having the greatest ice-cream at a most beautiful beach.

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