Sunday, November 20, 2011

How To Overcome Fear - Be Honest, Be Curious!

Joss Whedon at the 2010 Comic Con in San DiegoJoss Whedon - Image via WikipediaBy Steve Nash

How are you with fear?

Most of us, if we think we are being honest, will say that we are okay with fear, and okay with challenging it. There may be some situations - talking to strangers at a party, speaking in public, doing something new - that make us feel uncomfortable, but - still! - we are okay with fear.

Hmm. Well I've come to believe that this simply isn't true. I've come to believe that we have fears so terrifying and scary, that we daren't even acknowledge the fear let alone face it.

So rather than the most common fears that people admit to - fear of snakes, fear of heights, fear of public speaking even - I believe the top fears are those that dare not be talked about.

And these are the fears that Franklin D. Roosevelt refers to, I believe, in his inaugural presidential address:

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance" - Franklin D. Roosevelt

So when I ask you how you are with fear, this is the fear I refer to. So that question again, how are you with fear? ... Let's talk about a 'real' most common fear then, the fear of being alone. Joss Whedon can at least recognise his own fear, here:

"Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there" - Joss Whedon

As for me, I know that I can do almost anything to avoid this fear:
* I can be in the wrong type of romantic relationship, so as not to face my fear of being alone
* I can get angry with my friends when they are too busy to spend time with me
* I can work, work, work (like I'm doing now!), or distract myself in some other way (Facebook, anyone?) rather than spend time in my own company, and with my own silence.

Does this sound familiar? So, once more, how are you with this kind of fear?

It is exactly this type of 'real fear' that James Stephens' inspirational fear quote is about, I believe:

"Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will" - James Stephens

How does it actually feel, being alone, for example? What does it mean to you? What's going to happen? Aren't you at least a little curious to find out? Here's another example, another example from my life.

So I hate it when things go wrong in my house - like the boiler stops working (or the bathroom tap starts to leak, and I don't know how to make it stop). I hate it because a) I have to find someone to fix the problem, b) I have to trust that they'll do a good job, and c) I have to hope that they *DON'T* do a bad job, because...

Because if they do a bad job - and they either don't fix the problem properly, or they charge me too much money - then I may have to challenge them, be assertive, and tell them that I'm not happy with what they've done (plus, there's an underlying fear that I am not being 'a man' if I can't fix these problems myself!).

And it's these final two situations that scare me the most about 'things going wrong in the house'. And even then it's only the thought of the situations that scare me. Instead, I need to be curious about what happens in these (and similar) cases.

So, with curiosity I welcome the boiler man and wonder what's going to happen. And I trust that he's going to do a good job, rather than worry that he's going to do a bad one. And if the job goes well - great. If the job goes badly - then, calmly and patiently I address the situation until the job is done properly. Simple. No drama. No need for fear. Whatever ends up happening. No need for fear.

This is the curiosity - the actually examining the irrationality of the fear, moment by moment - that can transform the fear and make it dissolve away. And this is the honesty that's needed, too, in order to overcome our true (and deeply hidden) fears (the honesty I share in this fear article, with you and with myself).

So from today I want to be curious about my fears, as they inevitably pop into my highly sensitised fear-radar. And I want to be curious about what I think is going to happen versus what actually happens from now on.

How about you? How will you be both honest and curious with your fears?...

You can share how you overcome your fears here at guru-free -

And if you'd like to be inspired by inspirational quotes - inspired into reflecting on their meaning in your life - then you can subscribe to the Monthly Marvel and Weekly Wonder newsletter here -
From Steve M Nash - Editor of

Article Source:,-Be-Curious!&id=6702066
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