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Can We Conquer the Fears We Face?

By Linda Ward March 02, 2023 Mindset

Let’s have some straight talk about fear first. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions we have. As an analogy, compare it to the old childhood game, “king of the hill.” Fear bullies out rational logical thinking, peace, and inner calm, to occupy a prominent place in life. From there, it tries to powerfully maintain its position to keep rational thinking at bay.

Fear is a universal emotion that is experienced in every person, everywhere. That means we ALL are on the same playing field of feeling fear and figuring out ways to knock it off its lofty position as king of the hill.

Fear Can Help You

Don’t get me wrong. Fear has a use. It alerts us to danger. It is a form of emotional communication that we need to consider. There are countless examples of how fear helps us out. Fear of driving in stormy weather, or walking a dark street at night, or financially investing in something that is not proven to be sound, this fear can save us.

Fear can be a driver to adjust life to a better way. The newly single woman afraid of not having enough money, experiences fear that drives her to think deeply about all her options. The fear of being alone can be a driver to focus on making new friends and feeding those precious relationships.

Fear doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It can be information used to change life from going the wrong direction. Try this incredibly smart question when a fear pops up in you, “What are you trying to alert me to?”

Robin Stern, Ph.D., encourages us to “listen and be curious about what’s driving you to be afraid of something, rather than shutting down and ignoring it. You might see a new way to face those fears, or you might realize there’s less to be afraid of than you thought.”

Fear Can Hurt You

The other side of fear is how paralyzing it is. The fears we cannot conquer become barriers to our happiness. This kind of fear can lead to depression as we let it reign as king of the hill without being courageous enough to challenge it.

Author Karen Salmansohn has a series of books that talk about facing fear and being happy. She says, “It’s time for you to recognize fear for who it truly is. It’s a freedom-thief, love-robber, insatiable-liar, peace-abductor, inner-warmonger.” Yes, fear has these traits.

Science says that 80% of what we fear does not happen. Think of all that wasted time we have robbed ourselves of. Plus, we missed out on opportunities somewhere along the line when we let fear dominate. Do we really have time to waste on something that cripples our actions and never happens?

Ideas on How to Handle Fears

Can we actually control our fear? Surely, we can, and here are some ideas you can try:

Fear’s Message to You

When you are afraid, stop and think about what fear is trying to tell you. Really spend time on this, don’t blow it off or feel you can’t do anything about it. Fear may be trying to alert you to watch out for that new person in your life, or to conquer the old fears from past failures so you can live happily ever after with them.

Talk About Your Fear

Sometimes you need to talk about something – not to get sympathy or help – but to kill its power by allowing the truth of things to hit the air.

—K. Salmansohn

Could it be that just bringing the fear into the open helps it evaporate? Find someone who will listen. If you don’t have a friend that listens intently when you need them to, then find and pay for a coach or therapist. This will be money well spent.

They will help you challenge thoughts and fears to sort them out. The power those old fears have will weaken by allowing them to “hit the air” with someone who can help.

Write About the Fear

Write the fear out, in painful detail. Now it’s out in the open, and it doesn’t feel like its king of the hill, making choices for you that you had no control over. This is “finding a way to emotionally process your fears to keep going.”

Reach Out to Joy

Karen Salmansohn says she fights fear by reaching out to “people to hug or talk to, music, hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favorite food. I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of things that makes me smile.”

Sometimes making a list of things that bring you joy is all you need. When wondering what to do when struck by fear, try doing something on your previously made list. Get your mind off the fear and on to something you love, even for a short time.

Conquer Past Fears

If the fear is from a past event, please seek out help to conquer your thinking in that area. By the time we reach 50 or 60, we have lived through a lot and are wiser. Some of the events hurt so much, we never want to go through anything remotely like that again.

Yet, this is exactly what can keep us from finding friends, taking a chance on new love, getting a better job, living alone instead of living with the agony of a terrible marriage, or a myriad of other things that has brought us to where we are today.

We are so much smarter than we were when those past events happened. Let’s press on through the fear to allow possibilities, giving the event a better chance to bring satisfaction and happiness.

No Longer King

These strategies can bring calm to your brain where rational and logical thinking has a chance to help search for options and solutions. Courageously, kick fear off as the king of the hill.

Fear don’t stop death. Fear stops life. Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. Worrying takes away today’s peace.

—Steve Harvey

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you tried any of the above strategies to help you kick fear? What works for you to push through fear? Have you ended up in a better place? Do you need to kick fear out to find peace? Please join in a conversation to help others by sharing your stories.

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Thank you so much for this article. Writing about my fears was a powerful experience. It brought tears to my eyes. It also showed me I have a self-esteem issue I need to work on. Never before have I asked what the fear was really about, what was it trying to tell me. Very good article and well written.

Linda Ward

Dear Roxanne,
I’m really glad you decided to try a few of the ideas mentioned in this article. You are already building self esteem when trying these steps. Keep going, as I believe you deserve to feel confident and to have courage for your life. Linda


It was helpful to me in understanding my autonomic response as fear presented. Peter Levine’s work in Somatic healing was incredibly helpful as well as Stephen Porge’s Polyvagel Theory. Recognizing flight, fight, freeze was the fist step in helping me understand some very tough and old fear patterns I had.

Linda Ward

Thanks for mentioning what helped you Loretta. Breaking old patterns that no longer serve us is work! Sound like you worked at it until you saw results.

Lana Muir

Thankfully I have not had to face many “fears” in my life. My confidence has served me well over the years. The men and women that I have met over the decades who are fearful and worry endlessly are amongst the most neurotic individuals that I have ever encountered. I have a girlfriend who won’t even put her trash out at night because “someone is going to get her”. She is afraid of her own shadow. Professional counselling will help these people overcome irrational fears as opposed to rational fears.


hmm i have to say not all people who worry are neurotic!! I am 76 and i wish i didn’t worry but my mom was a worrier. Here’s the thing, pretty much all my life, things that have happened first made me more of a worrier, it’s not that i worried first and then things happened. so i just try to be calmer but it’s difficult – i envy those who are laid back! just one example when my daughter was 9, a young 7 year old was abducted and killed around the corner from my house (no we did not live in a bad neighborhood (that was 40 years ago, so i was a wreck while she was growing up. It’s things like that that are real! life can be scary so maybe the people you know have had some major bad experiences. just pray for us!

Linda Ward

Thank you for sharing your experience. Life can be scary-no doubt-and the circumstances that came so close to your home would absolutely scare anyone!
I encourage you to keep using whatever techniques you have found in your life journey to bring calm and peace into your everyday life.  

Linda Ward

Hi Lana, In my professional background I have encountered people who are in the category you mentioned. They experience irrational neurotic fear that brings consistent pain and suffering. If any of our readers feel this degree of fear, I encourage them to seek therapy or counseling to begin a plan to conquer fear at this level. This article though, is geared more to the average person who finds nagging fear keeps them from happiness and living the life they want. My hope is that knowing and trying the few simple steps mentioned above will bring courage and strength to their lives.

The Author

Linda Ward is a Writer and Life Coach living in Minnesota. She specializes in helping mature women find everyday happiness and a satisfying life. She zeroes in on life after divorce, retirement transitions, and finding courage no matter what the circumstances. Her inspiring new eBook is called, Crazy Simple Steps to Feeling Happier. Linda’s Professional background is Social Work and Counseling.

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