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  • Writer's pictureDr Kalanit Ben-Ari

Fear is Not an Option

In the therapy room, I listen attentively to uncover the underlying reasons why individuals struggle to pursue their deepest longings and desires. Working with accomplished individuals such as professors, elite athletes, CEOs, leaders, producers, and actors, I witness firsthand that despite their accomplishments, there are areas in their lives where something holds them back.

And that something is fear.

Fear takes many forms—fear of judgment from others, fear of failure during public presentations, the fear of disappointing loved ones, the dread of being ridiculed, fear of the unknown, or the fear of stepping outside our comfort zones. It can even manifest as fear of submitting that job application or sharing something deeply personal with a loved one.

But what if we could eliminate fear as an option?

What if, when an idea arises in our minds—one that doesn't jeopardise our well-being—it sparks excitement and growth without the weight of fear?

Embracing this mindset opens us to a life of adventure, enriched experiences, and abundant opportunities.

Not all fears are equal. Some fears serve a purpose, guiding and protecting us, while others are conditioned responses that limit our potential. The wisdom lies in discerning between the two.

Here are 7 tips to break free from fear:

1. Embrace the power of saying YES to exciting opportunities within the first five seconds. Don't allow fear to seize control of your mind. Trust that you will figure out the "how" along the way. For instance, if someone invites you to speak at an event you've always dreamed of, respond with an immediate YES. Details can be sorted out later!

2. Remember, the opposite of fear is not fearlessness. The opposite of fear is courage. Cultivate the courage to explore new territories, take calculated risks, learn from failures, and step beyond the familiar and conditioned. Courage is a skill that can be developed, and yes, you can do it.

3. There's a beautiful Hebrew song quote that says, "Better glorious failures than dreams in the drawer." It reminds us that it's far more fulfilling to pursue our dreams boldly, even if we stumble along the way, than to keep them locked away, untouched by the world.

4. Understand that fear and excitement trigger the same physiological response in our nervous system. So, when fear arises, reframe it as excitement. Remind yourself that the sensations you feel are signs of anticipation and eagerness. Embrace the exhilaration and remember, the presence of fear can indicate that you are on the right path!

5. Empower yourself with the affirmation: "Fear is not an option!" Acknowledge your fears, confront them head-on, and declare that they will not dictate your actions or hinder your progress.

6. Surround yourself with individuals and communities that inspire you to overcome your fears. Connect with people who embody authenticity and courage. Engage in conversations, ask questions, and seek guidance. The presence of such individuals will nurture and strengthen your own courage.

7. Believe in yourself and your abilities, for they are far greater than any fear that may try to hold you back.

And as I was about to publish this, I received an email from a client saying, "Kalanit, I did it! And it went better than I thought."

How would you ever know if you don't try? Go for it! You got this!

If you are seeking effective mindfulness techniques for calming fear and anxiety,

look no further!

My comprehensive guide presents 10 research-proven practices to promote emotional well-being and resilience.

This article was written by senior couples therapist and parental advisor Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari. With a doctorate in Psychology, Dr Ben-Ari has worked in the field for over 20 years and runs a private clinic in Hampstead, London. She is also an author, speaker, international trainer, therapist supervisor, and was the Chair of Imago Relationship Therapy UK from 2013-2023.


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