We all have fears. Whether it’s fear of failure, being alone, or making the wrong choice, fear can leave us feeling paralyzed and hopeless. It can affect our relationships, our decisions, and our emotional wellbeing. While some level of fear is healthy and keeps us safe, most of our fears just hold us back. At some point, we will have to face our fears or they may end up hurting us.
Facing our fears isn’t easy. You may have a perfectly valid reason for being afraid of something. A past experience can leave us terrified. On the other hand, sometimes we have no real reason to be afraid of something. We have no real experience with that thing or situation. In that case, what we are really afraid of is often uncertainty and the unknown.
It can take a lot of courage to face your fears. After all, bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but courage in the face of it. It takes fortitude and resolve. Two things you might want to have when you face your fears are mindfulness and compassion. Mindfulness is being present in addressing the things that scare you—it means you stay with your experience. No blundering through without much thought. When you add compassion to facing your fears, you can be kind to yourself in the situation. You won’t judge yourself for being afraid or wanting to quit. Compassion helps you to not respond with anger.
In the end, having compassion for yourself will free you from harsh self-criticism. You may have setbacks and failures, but if you have compassion, you won’t let them define you. You’ll also learn that you aren’t defined by your fears. Compassion lets you acknowledge your fears and allows you to feel afraid sometimes without self-judgment.