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The gift of fear: Do scary things!

Updated on September 8, 2013

The gift of fear: a present from hell or heaven?

At some point in life we are all confronted with our fears. You do, I do, your neighbors do, your teacher does, and you know what: the gift of fear is priceless! Fear as a gift? Yes! Fear can be your best friend in life. Sounds strange? Maybe! In general people are used to avoid what we're afraid of. We prefer our comfort zone, because it feels safe and secure. But is this the ideal situation? What is so challenging about leading a predictable life? Personally I think life is very boring if we continue living that way.

Our mission in life is to learn. Learning new things enriches your life. However if you stay where you are and always do the same things you won't learn a thing. It's like you're in some sort of 'standby modus'. You won't experience anything new, you always meet up with the same people, go to the same places and even perhaps eat the same meals.

Are you living safely in your comfort zone? Perhaps it's a good idea to step out and do something scary so you can experience the gift of fear for yourself!

Photo Credit: Surviving Survivalism

The gift of fear

The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
The Gift of Fear: And Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

A famous bestseller about fear and how fear can lead to a safer life, if you learn when to take it serious.

 
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm

Another wonderful recommendation for I selected for you!

 

Take your intuition serious!

Sometimes our fears warn us for dangerous situations.This is called intuition. It is possible to learn what the difference is between irrational fear and your intuition warning you for danger. Your intuition sending you feelings of fear is another gift of fear! A useful one! It can safe your life and that of others!

The gift of fear in the Oprah Winfrey show

Taking risks in life is rewarding

Life without taking risks is not very fulfilling! It is boring and doesn't motivate you to explore new areas in life. Most people live life this way. Taking risks means you step into the unknown, an unpredictable world where you don't know what to expect. This scares a lot of people. It makes them feel insecure. And that is exactly why most people avoid scary situations and don't see the gift of fear. When you don't confront yourself with fear you will never know the value it has!

Avoiding risks can be useful, for example in dangerous situations. Think about driving your car safely, don't let your children play with fire, keeping your finances in order, etc. It is only common sense if you don't take risks there. Taking risks is not meant to lead to life threatening situations!

In many other cases choosing the safe way isn't as rewarding as it might look like. Living a life without risks is based on fear. Or better said: the fear of fear. Because we don't know the outcome of new somewhat risky situations we're afraid, even if we don't know what is exactly is we're afraid of! That is what I mean with 'the fear of fear'. It's the fear itself that scares us most! Often we are paralyzed by fear!

It is an interesting fact that the best things in life often scare the hell out of us. For example: Traveling around the world, speaking in public, meeting new people, being successful and so on.

Deep down inside we want the best things in life. It is like bungee jumping: you're about to jump from a very high height, you want to do it, but you are also afraid. You're almost certain your jump will be safe, but still...

Imagine yourself in that situation. What would you do: risk the jump and have a great new experience, a risky jump into an unknown adventure... or would you let the fear rule you and would you stay where you are? What do you think is most rewarding?

What about you?

Taking risks rewarding?
Taking risks rewarding?

Do you think taking risks is rewarding?

See results

Don't let fear stop you from living your dreams!

Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.

-Author Unknown

How to face your fears - Do you have the guts?

What are you afraid of?
What are you afraid of?

If you let fear guide you it is definitely not a gift, but pure torture. You miss out on great chances! But if you have the courage to take the jump, the risk, your fear becomes your best friend. That is the gift of fear. Your fear becomes your best friend, because if you face it, it offers you the unique opportunity to use your inner strength to overcome it!

Deep down inside we all have things we are are attracted to, but we postpone doing them, because we're unsure, afraid of what the outcome will be. But the secret desire is still there! Perhaps you want to travel around the world, build your own business, pick up a new study, move to another place or even another country. But you worry about it, our unconscious mind is constantly working. That nasty little voice telling you you should stay where you are, because what if you lose it all... Sounds familiar?

The first step to face your fears is to recognize them, to be aware of the fact that your fears withhold you from following your dreams! Acknowledge that this is going on in your mind, observe your thoughts and what it feels like. Nothing more and nothing less. Don't judge, simply be aware of their presence.

Photo Credit: Vimeo

Make it a challenge!

Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.

-Henry S. Haskins

Don't fight your fears!

Overcoming your fear(s) is fun, even if you don't think it is right now. Perhaps the idea freaks you out. Don't worry, you are not the only one! In my life I went through a lot of fear. Most of the fear I went through was irrational, based on nothing. Some of the fear was a left over from my past. But didn't serve me anymore. Parts of my life have been a real nightmare!

When I was 15 years old I had an art teacher, she was a lovely lady. I trusted her a lot and I shared a lot of what was going on in my life. I was very scared and nervous. She made a change for me by giving me a book written by Tharthang Tulku, a Tibetan Nyingma Lama, called 'Openness Mind'. It was about our inner fears and how to overcome them. His teachings were (and still are) so very wise and I picked them up. I will always be grateful for his teachings!

He taught me that it starts with getting real and being honest, don't fight the fear but accept its presence. Fear is part of the ego, something we created, the ego has nothing to do with who we really are. There were several meditation exercises in his book on how to face what you're afraid of. One of them I loved: you imagine your fear getting bigger and bigger like blowing up a balloon until it explodes... your fear is gone.... flying in the air split in thousands of small pieces!

Openness Mind by Tarthang Tulku

Openness Mind: Self-knowledge and Inner Peace through Meditation (Nyingma Psychology Series)
Openness Mind: Self-knowledge and Inner Peace through Meditation (Nyingma Psychology Series)

This book was a turning point in my life, I learned a lot from this very wise Tibetan Lama.

 
Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga: A Complete Guide to Health and Wellbeing, 115 Exercises & Massages
Kum Nye Tibetan Yoga: A Complete Guide to Health and Wellbeing, 115 Exercises & Massages

Kum Nye is a fantastic method to learn meditation combined with Yoga, it's different than the Yoga you're used to!

 

The Fear Debate

Do you agree the gift of fear is the best thing that can happen to you?

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    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @Ruthi: The learning never stops Ruthi, but we become better every time we opened our gift ;-) We become stronger and better as a person and that's the best gift life offers if you want to see it. Thanks for your wise words!

    • Ruthi 3 years ago

      Maybe not the greatest gift but most certainly one at the top of the living list. There is a funny thing about fear... I have found that without my adventurous life spirit I would not have been able to conquer my fears. And as with all things, new gifts present themselves, a never-ending unwrapping of life lessons and possibilities leading us out of the darkness and into the light.

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @SteveKaye: Absolutely true Steve! Our intuition is the strongest tool we've got, but a lot of people lost connection with it. Because we think too much...

    • SteveKaye 3 years ago

      Your intuition is a powerful voice. Sometimes saying NO is the right thing to do. Read Seth's book, "the dip" to discover that deliberate rejection is part of achieving success.

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @lesliesinclair: It's an art to Master your fear! We always have a choice to let fear take over, or to overcome your fear, Papier!

    • lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      Yes, if it doesn't paralyze you, or cause inability to think and process what is happening.

    • Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @RebeccaRubia: It's the fear itself we are afraid of in most cases. Once you confront it, it will melt like snow melts from the sun. Fear can help us get stronger when we overcome it by doing like you have done, moving etc. Thanks for your visit Rebecca!

    • RebeccaRubia 3 years ago

      I do agree! It's how I always try to live. Each time I've moved abroad I've been terrified but it's always the best decision I make!

    • Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @SBPI Inc: That is very true, thanks for your comment!

    • SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      Overcoming fear is the best think that can happen as fear itself can become debilitating

    • Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      @changrcoacher: I'm going to write down that book, the title sounds promising!

    • changrcoacher 4 years ago

      Never though of it as a gift before. One of my favorite books is "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers. That pretty much describes me.

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      • Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

        @Colin323: Hey Colin, every time we face and overcome our fears we grow and become stronger. Fear is a strong and negative emotion which blocks your intuition, your love and feelings of happiness! Thanks foe your comment and for your likes!

      • Colin323 4 years ago

        I'm not sure it's the best thing, but fear (of failure) can make you prepare better, smarter, more intuitively for whatever it is that is bugging you, so that must be a good thing

      • Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

        @flinnie lm: Thanks Flinnie! I wish you lots of luck and happiness!

      • Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

        I think love and happiness are the best thing that could happen to me. Over coming and facing fear is a good thing.

      • Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

        @josietook: Thank you Josie! I think you can only experience love and happiness to the fullest when you cleared the road towards that from fear like emotions :)

      • josietook 4 years ago

        I wouldn't say the best thing, that's the gift of love and happiness, but over coming a fear can be amazing. Great lens.

      Do one thing a day that scares you (Eleanor Roosevelt)
      Do one thing a day that scares you (Eleanor Roosevelt)

      Push yourself forward: do something really scary!

      Not only Tarthang Tulku was an important teacher in my life, there were many more. Fear isn't gone in a minute, it is an ongoing learning process and so it was for me. You need to work on it and I love it now! I hope I can help you by sharing some useful tools to overcome your fears. The gift of fear comes in multiple ways.

      Give it a name

      First there is acceptance, that's the starting point: I admitted I was scared. Becoming aware of what you're afraid of is very important. What I did was write it all down in a journal. The small and the big fears. It was my 'Warrior Journal', because my intention was overcoming all of them. I started small. I was afraid of sleeping in the dark and always had a light on during the night. So that was my first one: I turned of the light and did breathing and meditation exercises. I gave my fear of the dark a name and talked out loud to her like it was a person bothering me. That is a real fun thing to do, you can do the same: give your fear a name and talk to this imaginary 'person'.

      Write down your fears, categorize them from mild to severe. Start working on 1 or 2 mild ones, those are easy to overcome! Think about what you need to make it a success, for me that was meditation, but maybe you have other ways that work for you!

      Write down what is holding you back and why. Think about all possible solutions to do what you are afraid of. Be patient with yourself, you want it to succeed. And once you have experienced the glory of victory you want more! It feels so great to beat your inner monsters :-D

      Make sure to celebrate your successes! Write them down and reward yourself! Give your self confidence a big boost! This is the gift of fear: you are so powerful, the fear was there to make you stronger, to grow and develop your inner strength! A gift from heaven!

      Photo Credit: Flickr

      5 Tricks for overcoming fear

      Go for it! - Stop thinking start doing!

      The biggest thing to overcoming fear is fear itself
      The biggest thing to overcoming fear is fear itself

      Photo Credit: joshuamcafee

      Once you have booked your first successes continue working on your fears! The things that scare you are a wonderful adventure! They teach you about the blocks on your road towards inner freedom. Clear these roads, don't stop. Become a brave warrior. Your life will be so much richer, you will feel more fulfilled and stronger. The gift of fear is priceless, once your fears don't scare you anymore you are on the right way! I wish you the best of luck.

      Share your thoughts, I don't bite ;-) - Thank you for your feedback!

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @Jogalog: Thank you Jogalog, you said some wise words here, of course I agree with you!

        • Jogalog profile image

          Jogalog 3 years ago

          This is a wonderful lens and a great reminder to us not to be held back by our fears and also to accept fear as a normal feeling and not to feel ashamed of it. We can then use our fear.

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @SteveKaye: Thank you so much Steve, for your kind comment! Let's all be risk takers! ;-)

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          SteveKaye 3 years ago

          Okay, I'll take a risk (smile). Excellent lens. The especially liked the video. Thank you for publishing this.

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @lesliesinclair: Thank you for your comment, Papier!

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          lesliesinclair 3 years ago

          I think fear of thinking and acting is that old troublemaker that leads to an "unexamined life." I don't like fear and don't invite it into my life, but do acknowledge that fear can be positively valuable when it can cause us to uncover the why's hiding beneath them.

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @Ben Reed: Thank you so much!

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          Ben Reed 3 years ago

          An interesting lense.

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          Anja Toetenel 3 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @steadytracker lm: 100% True, Steadytracker, thanks for your wise words!

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          steadytracker lm 3 years ago

          If you cannot face your fears, then you can never get ahead in life. After all, it is the things that we fear the most that offers the greatest room for advancement.

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          WriterJanis2 3 years ago

          I so agree about listening to your intuition.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @SBPI Inc: Thanks for commenting, have a lovely day!

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          SBPI Inc 4 years ago

          Fear Not, for the Lord is always with you.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @tammywilliams09: Thank you Tammy!

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          tammywilliams09 4 years ago

          Yes, I agree that fear comes from our past and many irrational thoughts. I believe the fear of failure and being ridiculed by others and then being treated like less than what we are worth prevents us from acting. Thanks for suggesting the Warrior Journal and the video about using 5 tricks.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @John Dyhouse: Thanks for sharing your story and your kind words! Never stop trying! You too can overcome your fears, it takes a lot of practice sometimes, just be patient with yourself and keep working on it! If you do nothing, nothing will happen. Good luck!

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          John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

          I really ought to take note of the messages in this lens, or rather I should have done when I was younger. I have always had to fight to overcome fears of failure and still find this is so. Or maybe, taking the risks when afraid means I have tried. It has never become easier with time however. very good lens, thanks

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @aesta1: Thank you so much for your kind words, I appreciate it!

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          Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          Thank you for sharing this. I love the idea of the gift of fear.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @anonymous: Wow, well done! Of course it feels a bit scary, because it's new to you, but I'm very sure you'll become stronger and you'll grow spiritually! Thanks for liking and sharing!

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          anonymous 4 years ago

          I've been doing things lately to step outside of my comfort zone. It's been scary, but I think it has helped me grow as a person.

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          Rose Jones 4 years ago

          Pinned to my inspirational board - there is a lot of wisdom here. The Oprah video you featured is a must see.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @takkhisa: Thank you so much! Wishing you a great weekend!

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          Takkhis 4 years ago

          Wow, this is a very interesting lens and what you have written here is truly great :)

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @changrcoacher: Thank you for your kind words!

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          changrcoacher 4 years ago

          I enjoyed this lens. Thanks for creating it.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @flinnie lm: You're welcome and thank you for the compliment!

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          Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

          Hi thanks for the great advice and info. We all have fears that we must get over.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @paynui: Thank you Paynui! And yes, we all have fears, some people only face mild fears, others more severe but we all have 'fear challenges' in out lives!

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          paynui 4 years ago

          Great lens. I guess we all have fear that hold us back

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @ChristyZ: You are such a strong woman Christy! You overcame your fear once and I am very sure you can do it again. Start with baby steps first, choose one or two mild fears that you already know are very easy to fix. For example talking to a stranger, reading a self written poem in front of other people, etc. Write them down and choose the easiest, this boosts your self confidence tremendous. From there on you take it a step further. Also write about your phobia for driving cars, what strategy can you come up with to give yourself tools to feel better in a car. I'm sorry you had such a big car accident, but you survived! Be a warrior, enjoy the growing process. You can do it! Let me know how you are doing and don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions! Good luck and thanks for your sweet compliments!

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          ChristyZ 4 years ago

          I have a major driving phobia. I was always scared to learn how to drive and overcame the phobia and was really starting to enjoy driving when a driver barreled through a red light (while I was going through a green) and my car ended up crashing into somebody's house. (What luck). So now I'm back at square one with the driving phobia. Even though I have some major doubts about overcoming the fear of driving, I am going to use some of these tips to help me overcome lesser fears.This is an excellent article, I found it very interesting and helpful!

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @Lorelei Cohen: So sorry to hear you're afraid of clowns! Maybe that is something you can work on? What would you need to become less afraid? Or even overcome this fear. You're not alone with it. Thousands of people are afraid of clowns. Thanks for commenting and liking this Lens!

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          Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

          No clowns please and I will be doing fine.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @josietook: Wow! Thanks for sharing. You are very strong an can be so proud of yourself! When we dare to face our biggest fears and challenge them we will win in the end! You are living proof, applause for you!

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          josietook 4 years ago

          Looking after a friend's dog after many fears of being scared of dogs was pretty amazing. At first I was petrified even to go and visit because of the chocolate labradors. Yes I know the most gentle of dogs, but now I adore them.

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          Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

          @stormy1990: Thank you for this lovely story Stormy! I will look up that kindle, hadn't heard from it yet! Have a lovely day/evening, thanks for taking time to read!

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          stormy1990 4 years ago

          When I was reading this article, a passage came to mind I have read a while back. Here it is... "One of our most popular programs is the Enlightened Warrior Training Camp. In that training, we teach that a true warrior can âtame the cobra of fear.â It doesnât say kill the cobra. It doesnât say get rid of the cobra, and it certainly doesnât say run away from the cobra. It says âtameâ the cobra."

          Eker, T. Harv (2009-10-13). Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (p. 167). Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

          This passage goes hand in hand with what you've talked about, that fear can make or break you. So I decided to share it with you!