Courage is not the absence of fear, but to proceed in the face of fear.
I can’t remember where I read this wisdom, but it has been a guiding light for a large part of my life.
We all fear. Fear is good. It protects us. It sometimes motivates us. Fear is our basic and very natural survival mechanism.
It took me a long time to look my own fear in the eye and accept it as an important part of who I am. Before I had the guts to do so, I held myself back in a thousand of ways. Even now, I know there is still fear in me. I find it in the subtle way I lie to protect my ego. It is in my disengagement with my current reality, in my procrastinations, in my forgetfulness.
But now I am in the process of exploring my fear. In the acceptance of fear, there is the liberation of observing my fear. Now fear has a message that I can weigh and evaluate. Sometimes it is an old message. One I disregard because the perceived threat has been exposed and dealt with. Sometimes I am not ready to face the message. Then my defense mechanism kick in.
When this happens I know I need to be courageous and confront my fear. Unfortunately, knowing and doing is not the same think. Then one of my Hero’s advice shows the way:
“It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly.” – Isaac Asimov
In the end, honestly facing your fear is the only way to be free of it. With each excuse, each defense mechanism we entangle ourselves in the web of slavery. Yes – we become a slave of that what we fear.
But when we start to observe our fear, we will find that most of those things we fear are “false expectations appearing real”. The perceived threat is an imagined threat. It was a smoke screen, a decoy.
Even if it is a real threat. It can be overcome. We are so much stronger than we think we are. The human resilience is amazing. When we cut ourselves, the wound heals, when we get the flu, our bodies recuperate. Look at the athletes competing in the Paralimpics. They do not allow their handicap to keep them back. In fact they focus on their ability and live with their dis-ability. They truly exhibit the strength of the human spirit.
So even if what you fear is real – it does not mean you must hide from it. It simply means you are in a real challenge (unlike the imagined ones). Your strength is being tested. Enjoy the moment.
Yes – that is right. Enjoy your fear. It is a gift. It one of your most powerful growth tools. It is the key to unleashing your courage. It is an opportunity to exhibit your strength.
With fear and love