I recently spent far too much time googling “what’s the opposite of fear” in my quest to see if there is actually an opposite, or absence, of fear.
Why was I curious about it? Well, one of the things I’ve been reflecting on during my personal wintering is the fear that appears to have made itself known to me, by its absence. Confusing, right? You see, I’ve lived most of my life with an underlying, background feeling of discomfort, angst, worry. A niggle that something isn’t quite right.
In my late thirties, I became aware of what it was and have befriended Fear ever since. It’s deep rooted but it’s something I’ve been managing fairly well for a long time. But, as always in personal development, more pops up for us to learn from.
At the back end of 2021, just as winter was about to start, I took a full-time employed role. A 6-month temporary contract to bring a regular income into the household. It was a sensible thing to do, the right thing for our circumstances.
Having left my last full time employed role 2 years prior, I was clear about the type of work I didn’t want. I didn’t want something that was going to consume me, that was going to stop me doing all the things that I love doing in my life. And whilst I’ve had less ‘free’ time available to me, the job has been a gift. Not only has it provided a source of regular income, but it’s also been enjoyable work, with a good team, and has allowed me physical and mental space. Space to do my personal wintering, to spend time pondering and reflecting on my personal growth.
And it’s been in the pondering and reflecting that the absence of fear has become clear. That underlying fear of no income, of not being able to pay the bills, and the consequences of that on my creativity and intuition, nevermind the family. A fear that I didn’t really know had been there until I got into the depths of my wintering. So, in pacifying my dear friend, Fear, I have had the gift of the mental space to give real attention to what’s most important about how I want to live my life and the work I want to do.
And so now as I emerge into spring, my respect for my friend Fear has deepened and hers for me. We will still walk through life alongside one another, but our friendship has got lighter again.
So, is there an opposite to fear? I don’t think so. I think it’s more about how we respond to it, how we embrace and befriend it. I’m reminded of two mantras to live by for a successful relationship with fear.
“Feel the fear and do it anyway” Susan Jeffers
“Choose courage over comfort” Brene Brown
Questions for your musing and pondering
- How does fear show up in your life and what more can you be doing to befriend her?
- Where might you choose courage over comfort?
- Where can you feel the fear and do it anyway?