Cultivating Courage to Face Fear

Going after our dream is a little bit like a Halloween adventure. We don our costumes – a vision of ourselves — and set off to claim the promised rewards.

Trick or Treat - Cultivating Courage to Face Fear
Along the way we may encounter dark shadows and scary entryways. There may danger and unpleasant surprises. We are scrutinized and judged as we struggle with performance anxiety and shame. Very often we fail to receive our expected rewards.

Some of us, disheartened by these results, restrict ourselves to the doors we already know, expectations diminished. Others give up on the adventure all together pretending disinterest. A few adjust our costumes, revise our dreams and move forward with renewed hope and determination.

Fears about doing it right, being judged, and losing the rewards are a common experience on this road of life. I have often longed to quiet their paralyzing refrain. However, recently, I had an epiphany.

Fear never goes away!

Fear may change, it may upgrade, but as long as we engage in life, there will be challenges that will provoke discomfort and fear. Fate, spirit, divine intervention, whatever you call it, is always pushing us to the next level of our dreams and with that come new fears.

Remember the first time our mom asked us to return a purchase to a department store? The sweaty palms, the squeaky voice? No problem now! Speak to a stranger? Pissh!

Our fears have grown with us – mortgage payments, dying parents, struggling children, illness, diminished capacity, loneliness and death. Perhaps the worst fear of all, failure to live fully.

The trick of life, of a fulfilling life, is to friend fear.

Fear keeps us on our toes, sharpens our mind and focuses our sight — provided we don’t freeze. An inspirational speaker said that she takes on a new challenge every month to keep her flexible and in sparring form with fear.

By challenging ourselves, be stepping out of our comfort zone, we cultivate courage. Courage, from the French word, corage, meaning heart or innermost feeling, enables us to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence and resolution.

Love, the opposite of what fear brings, expands the heart, relax muscles, and soften the breath. Love quiets fear. It allows us to accept ourselves imperfect as we are, with compassion and acceptance.

It is through our passion and purpose that we feed the heart with love.

After my parents died, I was inspired to create my film series, Secrets of Life and Death. Watching them die put everything in perspective. I discovered that there are things far my important in life then my petty fears. Death motivated me to stop playing small. My love for my parents gave me the courage and the desire to make a difference for others. I owed them that. This passion continues to move me forward even now.

In any moment there is always a choice between fear and courage.

Our ability to choose courage over fear hinges on how we think and what we focus on. Unfortunately, much of this has been conditioned from early childhood and built upon through years of wounding, disappointment and loss. It is difficult to heal the wounds and change the programming without mentorship and guidance.

If you would like to know more, please Contact me.


WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief, Loss and Death Expert Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps professional women struggling with grief and loss to have peace-of-mind, closure and a life worth living. If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way of being with death and loss, a new way of living your life, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at



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