Fear has a bad reputation and a lot of people think it’s a bad thing. But it can be a good thing too.

We could use our fears to guide us to higher ground.

Every thing has a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ side

We forget that things aren’t intrinsically ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Sure, every thing has a bad and good side, but every thing has both.

Take water. You can’t live without it, but too much of it will kill you. Good and bad aspects, right? The same goes for selfishness. Too much of it and you’re self-centred and think only of yourself. But without it, you constantly put others first, thereby sacrificing yourself and what’s best for you to thrive.

A balance is required and this is a fair position to take on everything. Meat, sun, exercise, stress and fear.

The problem is that we often fall into the trap of thinking that some things are ‘bad’. The truth is that by only seeing one aspect, that we’re limiting ourselves. We’re missing half the picture. Once we can open ourselves us to seeing both the bad and the good side of something, we open up life’s possibilities.

Fear is one such example of people overly focusing on the bad.

Fear is actually really important and keeps us safe. It’s essential for our survival, as are all our emotions. If we didn’t fear dying or being hurt, we might walk too close to the edge. Fear is only meant to show up when there is a perceived threat to our life.

Our emotions are there to guide us through life, so we don’t want to get rid of them, we just want them to be well-calibrated.

Unfortunately, fear is one emotion that gets seriously out of kilter and can sometimes rule our life. We mistakenly put it in the driving seat rather than accepting it as a passenger on the journey.

The problem from giving fear driving-seat status is that it becomes the dominant filter that we experience the world through. This can lead to us feeling fear on a daily basis which, over time, can really start to have a negative impact on our day to day lives;

Fear can mess with heads and twist our thinking

The fear takes over and makes us think things that makes us feel OK about having the fear.

Fear can paralyse us

This keeps us from taking action to get us to a better emotional place. It’s keeping us in this fearful place that we’ve grown accustomed to. We’re comfortable and familiar with it.

Fear can leech into other aspects of our lives

So our fear might start in relation to our job or relationship, but it might soon start to show up as a fear of other life things.

Having said all this, it’s important to consider the other side of fear. The good side.

The good side of fear

Fear warns us to possible danger. It keeps us safe. This is a heavy-weight emotion with a lot of power behind it. Unfortunately we tend to use the power to reverse ourselves into a ditch. Imagine if we put the car of fear into gear and pointed in a direction that was helpful to us?

What would happen then?

Lots of personal development books will tell you that your dreams are on the other side of fear.

Imagine if you used your fear to propel you forward.

… To kick you up the butt and figure stuff out.

… To push you to step up in a way you hadn’t considered or contemplated before.

… To learn something new and discover new aspects of yourself.

Imagine that for a minute.

How do we leverage fear?

If we want to leverage fear I think it’s worth thinking about what’s on the other side of our fear.

In my experience, leveraging our fears comes from facing them, overcoming them and moving forward despite them. There is enormous personal power and confidence from doing something that you were once fearful of. The feeling you get from having accomplished The Thing powers you through other experiences.

To me that is great leverage.

So how do we face our fears. That’s a post for another time, because the answer to that varies on so much. Sometimes, just doing the thing you fear is enough, because a big part of your fear before, was a fear of the unknown, Once it’s known, the fear goes away. But not all fears are that easy to ditch.

Alexia Leachman
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