How To Turn Fear Into A Blessing

Bless you for your fear for it is a sign of wisdom. Do not hold yourself in fear. Transform the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear. — Yoko Ono in our book, The Way Ahead

Everyone knows fear. It can come in an instant and throw us into chaos, yet it can also save our life. Fear is a natural response to physical danger, but it can also be self-created, such as the fear of failure, of being out of control, of being different, or of being lonely. There is a fear of the future and of death. We fear loving because we fear being rejected, fear being generous because we fear that we will not have enough; we fear sharing our thoughts or feelings in case we appear wrong, and we cannot trust because we are dominated by self-doubt and insecurity.

This self-generated fear is found in its acronym: F.E.A.R., or False Evidence Appearing Real. It appears real even though it is a fear of the future and is not happening now. Therefore, it has no real substance, arising when the ego-self is threatened, which makes us cling to the known and familiar. Such fear creates untold worry, apprehension, nervous disorders, and even paranoia.

The immediate effect of fear is to shut us down, and, in particular, to shut off the heart. Just for a moment, let your body take the stance of feeling fearful. What is your posture? Most people hunch their shoulders forward, fold their arms across their chests, or assume a similarly contracted position to shield the heart, fear having triggered the need to be on the defensive. In this self-protective place, the heart goes out of reach and we cannot feel love or even friendliness. Try saying “I love you” with real meaning while your arms are firmly folded across your heart. Hard to do!

As long as we push away, deny, or ignore fear, it will hold us captive and keep us emotionally frozen and captive, unable to move forward. In that place, we become untrusting of love, of spontaneity; we get angry or hide. But where fear contacts and closes the heart, resisting love, love expands and opens the heart, embracing fear.

“There’s a world of love and there’s a world of fear, and it’s standing right in front of you,” said Bruce Springsteen in David Hepworth’s The “Q” Interview. “And very often that fear feels a lot realer and certainly more urgent than the feeling of love. The night my son was born, I got close to a feeling of real, pure, unconditional love with all the walls down. All of a sudden, what was happening was so immense that it just stomped all the fear away. But I also understood why you are so frightened. When that world of love comes rushing in, a world of fear comes in with it. To open yourself up to one thing, you’ve got to embrace the other as well.”

So now try taking the posture of love. Watch how your body responds, your arms reaching outward, accepting and inviting. Fear may still be there, but love can welcome fear—it can embrace any negativity. Watch how your breathing gets deeper, fuller. Where fear shuts out love, love holds fear tenderly. It is like the sky that contains everything, the stars, the moon, the wind. With your arms stretched wide, try saying, “I’m frightened” and really mean it. Hard to do!

Remember times you have met fear and moved through it, so many times when fear arose but you kept going? Those are moments of fearlessness. Fear may close the heart, but courage comes out of heartfulness, out of releasing resistance. Fear will stop us from facing our shadow and participating fully in life, but fearlessness will give us the courage to dive into the unknown.

In other words, being fearless does not mean we deny fear, it is not a state of being without fear. Rather, it is fully experiencing the fear, naming it, getting to know it, and taking it by the hand so that it can become our friend and ally.

Being With Fear

Allowing fear in and making friends with it is no small feat; fear is a powerful emotion that demands understanding and patience. But trying to block it will simply create further anxiety.

Fear comes—we breathe and let go. Fear comes—we see how the mind needs reassurance and tenderness. Fear comes—we replace it with love. When we do this, we are inviting the fearful and anxious parts of ourselves to get to know each other, even to sit down for a cup of tea together.

Meditation enables us to be with fear. As we do this, then we begin to see the benefits of fear, the unexpected insights and flashes of understanding that move us into courage and a deeper awareness. In this way, fear becomes our ally.

Meditation: The Way It Is

Sit comfortably with an upright spine, take a deep breath and let it go.

Focus your attention on your breathing, just watching the natural flow of your breath.

Staying aware and open, allow whatever feelings are present to arise.

Have no judgment, rejection or aversion. Accept whatever you are experiencing as simply a part of what is.

You do not need to change anything.

Just be with whatever the feeling may bring up in you.

Be kind and caring to yourself.

Keep breathing and accepting, breathing and being with what is.

What do you do if you feel fearful? Do comment below.


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Elisa F.
Elisa F.about a year ago

Thanks for the Great Article.

Kathleen Tyson
Kathleen Tyson2 years ago

I was an r.n. on an oncology unit about 40 years ago.
I live only lived four houses away from the hospital ,so I walked to and from work.
I worked swing shift (3:00 to 11:30 at night).
As I finished my shift I took the elevator down to the first floor,went through the automatic doors and proceded to walk home.
As I started out I noticed a man walking past the hospital.
I immeadiatley became not fearfull,but aware that he may follow me.
So,praying my husband was awake,I slowly began to walk,feeling for my house keys in case he wasn't.
I thought to myself,just turn around and look quickly,I did,I saw him hiding behind a tree.
Then my fear kicked in,how ever I prayed and asked God to protect me and keep me calm I thought if I panicked and ran he would give chase.
I got to the front door and it was unlocked,I went in and told my former husband,"Honey I think someone is following me".
He got opened the door and the man had his hand on the doorknob,my ex- husband a former Marine gave a blood curdling and gruff scream and started to chase him.
It was such a surreal experience,but if I hadn't listened to my intuition and not give in to fear I may have become a statistic that night.
So while I think fear is healthy,we can also try to manage it in different situations.
Great article.

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

When I'm afraid the most useful thing is to write, although sometimes talking about it helps. Or turning my fears into a to do list, so you replace anxiety with action. Another good thing is to make an appointment with yourself to worry at, say, 5pm. Chances are, you'll forget!

It's a very lovely article, and I particularly like the idea of having tea with your fears and worries. I'm fond of tea...

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Nerosh Jaichand
Nerosh Jaichand5 years ago

THis is what makes us human. Thanks for the article as well.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Eli Is Here
.5 years ago

Wonderful article. Thank you!!

Nellie K A.
Nellie K. Adaba5 years ago

flight response. Fear can kill if it's not overcome or make you sick. It's like stress. I won't reveal certain secrets if I know that someone is going to tell on me.

Nellie K A.
Nellie K. Adaba5 years ago

I've overcome and still overcoming and facing most my face with a poem that I wrote during my Spanish Poetry class for my Spanish Masters 3 years ago.

Kelly B.
K Burch5 years ago

All you need do is when fear appears, say this:
"Screw this! I'm going home!"
click your heals three times
be a fairy godmother
think: this is not the worst thing that is going to happen to me in my life, but if I die thinking about it for another second it WILL BE>
Screw this! I'm going home!
(works for Carmen)