We can't live without fear.
For thousands of years, people have been trying to change the world so they won't have to feel fear. Nasty animals in the woods? Kill 'em. People with weird ideas? Burn 'em at the stake. Wild rivers flooding close to home? Dam 'em up. Fireworks? Make 'em illegal.
But then, having made things all nice and safe, we go out and climb mountains, jump out of airplanes, race cars and do hundreds of other unnecessary things that bring back fear. Why?
If you never have fear, you can't learn courage. If you’re never afraid, you probably aren't learning much about yourself either.
Fear is the body's way of warning us about a possible threat. A threat is anything we aren't sure we can handle successfully, and where not handling it successfully could be a bad thing. Threats can be things like being hurt or being robbed, or they can be things like being embarrassed. We get afraid that people will think less of us if we mess up.
When we’re threatened, we may need to act fast. We have to be alert before trouble starts. So our body and mind get ready to take on the threat. Your heart beats faster, your muscles tense, your breathing speeds up and your mind gets sharper. Most of the time you won't need all this alertness, but your body makes you ready just in case. That's why we have fear. It makes us alert. It makes us focused. It makes us ready.
But what fear doesn't do is tell you what to do next. For this you still have to think, and that can be hard when you’re afraid.
You can't stop having fear, but you can control how you react to it.
Your fears are a natural part of you. If you can accept them, you can do something about them. They don't have to control you. When you take time to understand where your fear is coming from, it's often not so big. With practice, you become someone who can face fear. You become truly courageous. You become calm, confident and capable.