Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Fear's Worst Enemy

Yesterday I shared an experience that illustrated how fear can get the best of us (see "Things That Go Grunt In The Night"). While it turned out to be a funny (and wet!) situation, the fear seemed very real as my imagination ran wild.

Fear, or as my friend and Life Coach Kathy Hadley reminds people, is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real. And she's right. Fear is nothing more than an illusion.

And it can be one of the biggest challenges we experience.

How many times have you been afraid to try something new?  Or afraid to change something, even though your current methods weren't working?

If you are like most, when fear strikes, you may experience physical symptoms, such as rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, paralysis or immobilization, elevated blood pressure, increased perspiration, tense and energized muscles, hives or skin rashes, just to name a few. This stresses the body, so to combat it, the body releases stress hormones, like cortisol, into your bloodstream. If the body is stressed over a period of time, severe conditions may occur, if not treated.

So, why do we let it get the best of us?

Fear is often based in a lack of knowledge or understanding. Not knowing the outcome of a situation leaves us to our imaginations. When we don't know or understand something, we assume. Many times those assumptions trick us into thinking the worst. The survival part of us wants to know exactly what is going to happen; it wants guarantees and safety. This lack of knowledge fans the flames of our fears, and suddenly we have a fiery monster breathing in our direction.

But fear has an enemy. The kryptonite of knowledge.

Rather than react to your fear, you can take a proactive approach by arming yourself with knowledge. Just becoming informed about that which scares you can shift everything. The "unknown" now becomes the known.

True, some fears may be deeper rooted and much more complex than anticipated; these may take more time to address and may require the help of a life coach/professional.  But oftentimes, our fears will vanish simply by learning more about the things we are avoiding.

Knowledge is our ally against fear. The next time you find yourself feeling great resistance toward something, take a deep breath, get out the kryptonite and inform yourself, and then poof! That monster of fear dissipates into a puff of smoke, and you become your own superhero.

In what ways do you use your superpowers to conquer fear? Please share below.


  1. Great post Penny!
    I love the Acronym False Evidence Appearing Real! isn't that the truth. Like you said just being "aware" of what makes you fearful can be enough to make the shift from fear to love.
    Thanks again for your wisdom!

    1. I love that acronym, too! Being proactive about facing our fears exposes them for what they are. Thanks for commenting!

  2. I love it Penny. I think my fears come from my inability to have control over an outcome. I have let go of that and have found that it is easier to conquer my fears.

    I so agree that we must educate ourselves about the very thing we are afraid of. We may find there is really nothing to fear.

    We should never base our fear on what someone else tells us. Their fear is theirs and they may have their own reason. It doesn't mean we should be afraid as well.

    Great piece. Thank you for sharing!

    Missy Bell

    1. Thank you, Missy Bell. I'm glad this resonated with you, and I appreciate your comments and insight. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way. Your point about not basing our fear on what someone else tells us is important. Why should we have to "own" someone else's fears? Their fear is theirs. Great point! Thank you!

  3. Penny - Loved yesterday's story & the follow up here about knowledge being our ally against fear. I had a major breakthrough earlier this year when given the knowledge of where my fears were coming from. A few things were stopping me because they represented a direct threat to my most cherished values - Freedom, flexibility & fun. Now that I'm aware of this, it's much easier to take action & step through the fear. Otherwise I'll end up robbing myself of the very things I desire most!

    1. Kelly, that's wonderful that you were proactive and able to breakthrough. Whenever we feel resistance toward something, that's our cue to step back, take a deep breath, and get informed. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  4. Yes, fear tends to appear when we have limiting perspectives, perspectives that disempower us and make things appear scary.
    Out of all the limitless perspectives we have, we 'create' fear when we distort things that lead to the 'sensation' of fear.

    There are many acronyms for F.E.A.R.....the False Evidence Appearing Real is one, another is F*** (or Forget) Everything and Run lol, as well as Finding Excuses And Reasons.

    It's about identifying what our source fears are, addressing them, and opening up perspectives and freeing up that energy :)

    1. Hi Hemal! You made me laugh with that alternate acronym! But it's true! We can face fear for the illusion that it is, or we can run and hide from it by finding excuses not to face it. Thank you so much for your insights!

    2. Lol! Thanks Penny! Have a great weekend!