Overcoming our fears is one of the great challenges we all face. They can get inside our heads and stop us doing what we really want to do in life.
We can become so consumed by them that we stop living.
But the truth is, fear is just created in our minds. It’s not “real”. Don’t get me wrong, danger exists. But fear doesn’t. The quicker we realize this, the easier we’ll be able to ignore fear and get on with our lives.
But the first step we need to take is to confront our fears head on.
Below, I have an epic story from Buddhist Master Pema Chodron that reveals the cold hard truth to letting go of our fears. Check it out:
“Once there was a young warrior. Her teacher told her that she had to do battle with fear. She didn’t want to do that. It seemed too aggressive; it was scary; it seemed unfriendly. But the teacher said she had to do it and gave her the instructions for the battle. The day arrived. The student warrior stood on one side, and fear stood on the other. The warrior was feeling very small, and fear was looking big and wrathful. They both had their weapons. The young warrior roused herself and went toward fear, prostrated three times, and asked, “May I have permission to go into battle with you?” Fear said, “Thank you for showing me so much respect that you ask permission.” Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.” – Pema Chödrön
What can we learn from this story?
You can’t control your emotions, but you can control how you react to your emotions. Our natural instinct is to cower when we experience fear and not act.
But that means that fear has won. Instead, it’s more powerful to acknowledge your fear and then act anyway. That’s true courage.