Courage Is The Opposite Of Fear
Love is the opposite of fear. We hear this axiom regularly and I'm not sure I concur. It's closely related to We're either coming from love or we're coming from fear. Well, for better or worse I'm a stickler for detail and if I probe it a bit, I translate these to we're either coming from a state of expansion or a state of contraction. THIS is a concept my mind fully comprehends. Expansion. Open. Contraction. Closed. I totally get that. I also get how love is associated with expansion and openness and fear is
associated with contraction and being closed. But I also believe love is big enough to hold everything and that includes contraction and being closed. So this is where I run into a snag with these statements. I see them as simplifications that easily lead us to conclude that love and fear are opposites. So if I'm afraid to dive off the diving board, is the solution to love? Love what? Love myself? Love you? Love the diving board? Love the water?
This morning I woke up asking myself ... what IS in fact the opposite of fear? and what IS the antidote to fear? I could only come up with one answer that resonated for me and that was COURAGE. I love that word. COURAGE. From Old French coeur "heart", from Latin cor "heart". That gets me excited! There is an immediate call to action ... an activation of the will. I see courage as a muscle. The more you use it, the less you are controlled by fear. And when I speak of fear, I don't mean natural and healthy fear ... like the fear that fills us if a rabid dog is coming towards us. Not all fear is unfounded or unhealthy and it's a good thing that my body reacts with lighting speed to a real physical threat. I'm happy about that. That kind of fear serves me. What doesn't serve me is debilitating fear ... the kind that is created by thinking certain thoughts like I can't, I'm not good enough or I'll be rejected, etc. Such fear paralyzes me and is the kind of fear that is definitely worthy of investigation. Based on my own experience, the best way to conquer these kinds of fears is through acts of courage. Standing on the diving board of life, I might be filled with fear at the initial shock of the water and learning how to navigate in a somewhat foreign environment. But I will never learn to be at home in the water unless I jump in, find out what works and what doesn't work to keep me afloat. And before you know it, after a few goes at it, I am no longer someone who fears the water. Courage is the opposite of fear. It is also the antidote.
You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous.
You cannot be loving if you are not courageous.
You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous.
You cannot enter into reality if you are not courageous.
Hence courage comes first... and everything else follows.”