Every person reading this post has faced some hardship  in life such as rejection, divorce, unemployment, death of a loved one,  loneliness, or an illness.  When life puts you in touch with your tremendous vulnerability, it is natural to experience fear and to have a sense of trepidation as you move forward.  After all, you understand clearly that simply living your life exposes you to risk.

Persistent fear is insidious and raises self-doubt, slowly seeping away your courage and shrinking your ability to fully engage life.  Left unchecked, fear can hold you hostage, convincing you not to take any risks because something bad might happen.

Should you succumb to the fear and stay safe, or find the courage to take another risk?  To me, the answer to this question depends on your answer to two others:

1.  Is it really safer not to take risks?  Think of the life experiences you miss when fear is in the driver’s seat of your life.

2.  Do you trust your ability to handle whatever life has in store for you?  Look back at what you have already survived, and reflect on what that tells you about your capacity to handle adversity.

Although risk can certainly be managed to some degree, there is no way to remove fear. Courage is the willingness to keep walking on life’s journey, even while fear lurks in the shadows.  Courage is ultimately about placing confidence in your capacity to persist in the face of whatever your life may have in store for you.

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Licensed psychologist in San Antonio, Texas.
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