It’s been said that FEAR stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real”, but the fact of the matter is that fear is a very real thing to the person experiencing it.

Fear generally falls into two categories – the fear that arises in response to a true threat to our survival, and the fear that we manufacture in our minds.

Most often, we are dealing with the second type of fear.

It can show up in many different forms – the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of rejection, the fear of the unknown, the fear of our own power, the fear of others reactions to us, and so much more…

Fear can prevent us from moving forward in whatever area it rears its ugly head. And, the fears we don’t address can ultimately become our limitations.

So how do we recognize fear?

Shortness of breath. Increased heart rate. Shallow, fast, irregular breathing. Butterflies in the stomach. Tremoring or shaking in the body. A sinking feeling. The desire to run, hide, numb out, avoid. Procrastination. You know the drill…

So here is a cool thing. Your body experiences the same sensations when it’s nervous and excited as it does when it’s afraid. Our brain tells our body if it’s afraid or excited. So we have to check in with our thoughts. Are they fear-based or are they simply arising from excitement? We can tell our body how to feel by changing our thoughts from fear to courage!

Fear tells the body to run away. Courage tells the body to press into fear to move forward.

Matthew Kelly said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability to move beyond fear.” And in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, The Big Magic, she explains that courage cannot be present without fear.

For me, courage is looking fear square in the face and saying, “Oh no fear, not today!” When we courageously press into fear, it dissolves into nothingness. Courage releases us of the bondage to fear – the bondage to the unknown that fear creates.

Danger is real. But fear (the way we respond to real or perceived danger), is a choice. Sir Winston Churchill said, “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”

So when fear presents itself we have a choice. Do we, “Forget Everything and Run”, or do we “Face Everything and Rise”?

The choice is yours.