Don’t Fight Your Fears. Instead, Cultivate Your Courage

Jeff Valdivia
6 min readJan 12, 2023

Fear is not the enemy you think it is.

Photo by Vadim Bogulov on Unsplash

You often wish your fears didn’t exist, don’t you?

They all too frequently stand, like terrifying monsters, in the way of getting what you want, don’t they?

Your fears stop you from talking to your crush. They stop you from pursuing your dreams. They stop you from expressing what you need to express in a relationship.

The “remedy” you often hear for these predicaments is, just do it, there’s nothing to be afraid of!

But, that’s not helpful, is it? You’re already afraid. If there was nothing to be afraid of, you wouldn’t be fearful!

Fear is a powerful emotion. And it makes a lot of sense that it is. The purpose of fear is to keep us safe and alive. If it wasn’t powerful, it would be easy to ignore and we could too easily put ourselves at real risk.

The problem is, your brain doesn’t really know what to be fearful of. The fears you hold come from some combination of genetics and learned responses to things. Your brain is just guessing at what to be afraid of, and sometimes, it’s wrong.

The question is, when you know your brain is being unnecessarily fearful, what can you do about it?

Stop fighting your fears

Your fear is not the problem.

Yes, you might sometimes hate it. It might make you kick and scream like a toddler. You might deeply wish it didn’t exist. But none of these things will actually help you act despite your fear, when appropriate.

Fear is a natural response to risk and threat. But threats aren’t just of a physical nature — they’re also psychological. These days, many of the threats we perceive are psychological rather than physical.

What is a psychological threat from your brain’s perspective? Potentially, anything that could change your attitude toward yourself or the world.

Let’s say you’re fearful of having an important conversation with your partner. You don’t feel like the two of you are connecting and you’d like to express this. But, you find yourself too afraid to raise the issue.

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Jeff Valdivia

Following my curiosity and hoping it will lead me to wisdom. I write about psychology, meditation, self-development, and spirituality.