How to Deal with Fear and Make It Your Friend

July 3, 2023 Joanna Satterwhite

I think a healthy dose of fear helps ensure the integrity and continuity of our person and the relatively rational decision-making process that keeps us moving forward in our lives, or at least keeps us stable. Fear is necessary, but when left unchecked, it has a tendency to take over our lives. It takes one to know one, after all. I've spent the better part of my life cowering at one thing or another, and it led to total paralysis. If you're constantly afraid, whether it be of monsters, murderers, failure, or—finally—death, you've lost your freedom. You're a slave to your fear, and every choice you make won't reflect your autonomy as it ought to but, instead, your imprisonment. But you can make fear your friend to increase its usefulness.

An Everyday Tool for Fighting Fear Before Making Fear Your Friend

Here's how it works. When you find yourself marred in a sticky pit of fear, say out loud (and mean it): "Fear will not be tolerated here."

I won't over-promise; uttering this incantation isn't going to make the fear disappear. It might not even make it shrink. What it will do is put the fear in its proper place, which is as your advisor rather than your dictator. By verbally drawing a line in the sand, you are making it known to yourself who's in charge. I used this tool just last night while stricken with fear that somebody had broken into my house. After a few macabre visualizations of what would happen when this somebody found me in the bedroom, I realized what was happening and said the magic words. I won't say it worked like a charm, but it worked. I was able to calm myself down enough to fall back asleep. 

Making Fear Your Friend

When you're out of acute fear, and you're in the market for something to change your life altogether, you can consider making fear your friend. This isn't a tool as much as a philosophy, and it will take many months of convincing your neural circuitry that this is what you now believe before it really sticks. The idea here is to realize that fear can be a catalyst for positive change. We've all heard the cliches about growth happening when you're uncomfortable, but I think they're true. We feel fear when we reach the boundary of what we know. Learning to stomach the feeling allows us to cross the boundary, and who knows what you can become out in that vast unknown. You can make fear your friend.

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2023, July 3). How to Deal with Fear and Make It Your Friend , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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