FEAR & CONFIDENCE
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
June 8, 2023
“The opposite of fear is confidence.” Lillian, 7 years old
While writing this blog post, I asked my daughter what she thought the opposite of fear was. That was her reply. Last week, my blog post stated that my children are my greatest teachers. I was right.
Confidence is absolutely the opposite of fear. But one of the unique aspects of fear is that once you break through the debilitating nature of it, you can embody its opposition. Fear is an emotion. And emotions will come and go throughout life. And while it’s impossible to control our emotions, we can learn to understand them. And by understanding our emotions, we can transform them into something useful.
As Anne Rice wrote in The Vampire Lestat, “Fear was once again breaking the shell around me so that something else could spring to life.”
Break the Shell
There is a purpose to feeling fear. If a person or situation has caused pain or proven to be dangerous, it’s natural to feel fear. Fear is a sign that we need to pay more attention to our surroundings. By feeling fear, we can heighten our senses and survive. But what we do after that fear is far more important than feeling the fear in the first place. By harnessing fear, we can learn how to feel confident in the face of danger. We can transform parts of our life and learn how to move forward with confidence. By harnessing fear, we can provide strength to others. And we can forge a new way of life.
As Amanda Lovelace wrote in To Drink Coffee with a Ghost, “When life gives us new beginnings, we need to take them, because there are never enough of them.”
Some of my greatest new beginnings to date have come after pretty traumatic events. My favorite is motherhood. Pregnancy and childbirth were some of the most painful and dangerous experiences of my life thus far. And yet after having both of my children and overcoming the fear, my life changed for the better. I learned to be more confident. And I learned to trust myself.
Once I let go of fear, I discovered the confidence it left behind. I stand a little taller. And I learned the true definition of transformation.