When Fear Is Good

If you want to be happier and more enlightened, consider scaring the crap out of yourself once and a while. 

We’ve all heard Eleanor’s famous advice, ‘Do one thing everyday that scares you’.

But why? I’m always droning on and on about the importance of doing what feels good; of throwing out the shoulds and your I-have-to-do-everything-because-the-universe-might-crumble-if-I-don’t-story. I preach uber self-kindness. So why would I recommend that you intentionally experience the icky-ness of fear?

Because post-icky comes pure joy.

Research shows that we are happiest when we experience ourselves growing and expanding. No, not from too much Pumpkin Pie. I’m talking about growing as in evolving. Becoming a greater, fuller version Who You Are. And that comes from feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

Growth (and therefore happiness) comes from playing to your edge. Straddling the very thick line between being so completely comfortable that we’re numb or bored or asleep and being scared out of our gourd. There is a sweet spot in the middle. That sweet spot is absolute exhilaration.

Experiment a little and find your sweet spot. Think of something that sounds almost too scary to even say out loud, but exhilarating at the same time. And then plan to do it.

When you step up the plate, know that the fear’s going to be there waiting for you. It always is. Say “Hello, fear; fancy meeting you here. I see you, and I’m going to go ahead and do this scary- ass thing anyway. Thanks for all that you do, by the way.”

Then do the scary-ass thing and experience the post-icky joy.

The joy, by the way, has nothing to do with succeeding at that scary thing. It’s not about showing yourself that you can rock at something you thought you’d suck at. Sometimes—many times—you do suck at it. Become okay with that.

The joy comes from acting through the fear, regardless of outcome.

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