Photo Credit: Sammie Vasquez,

In the mood to befriend fear today? Because the truth is, that fearful voice in your head is for you in a way. Think about it. Imagine it. Then step on into the game we’re about to play.

Befriend fear. Now. Try It.

After all, we each have our own version of Aunt Agnes Who Made Us Nervous, Professor What’s-His-Name who demanded perfection freshman year, or that jacked-up middle school baseball coach whose bully-rant we internalized. So let’s get strategic with the inner jerk who works us over.

How often? Well, basically, again and again.

Try hearing the fear you want to tackle in a voice you know you can dominate. Have fun. Give your fear an image, a name, a long green nose. A theme song! Let the conversation play out to a dreaded Worst Case Scenario.

And if you haven’t held your own in the past, here’s your opportunity. After all, it isn’t live TV. Keep workin’ it like Groundhog Day until you come out on top. For example:

Mrs. Witchy, Bitchy English Lit Teacher: Who do you think you are, Miss Big Britches? Better than the rest? Get a grip. Know your place.

Me or You: Hey, Mrs. Witchy in beehive and stilettos, I always thought you were kinda cool! Why did you mess with me that whole impressionable year in ways that have stuck with me in terms of fears?

Mrs. Witchy: How dare you think you’ll rise above your kin. That’s not what we do. Don’t you step up to that microphone where all the world might hear how ordinary you are. I’m just protecting you, silly girl.

Me or You: Aw, Mrs. Witchy, I didn’t know you cared. Thanks for clearing up where that public speaking terror came from. Now I’ve got this. Everything’s okay. Oh, and have a nice day.

No need for news conferences. Do your quiet best.

Let these encounters play out in your fertile imagination—in your heart and mind. Part of disrupting a fear’s power is about risk. About stepping right into that space. The truth is, when you offer a fear thoughts, feelings, intentions, and drives that counter its grip—that place in you relaxes. Maybe only for a bit at first . . . but that’s a game-changer.

And there’s no need to share your fear here and there or identify with it, as in, “I don’t . . . dot dot dot, because of . . . dot dot dot. It’s who I am.” Or, “Never. Never. I can’t do it.” Declarations like these just keep fear running the show, like a genie of dark thoughts hovering over the neighborhood.

Work quietly to befriend fear. Flex and feel the brand new muscles you’ll develop from these workouts. Exercise them daily. Watch, listen, confront, connect, coax, and whoop it up as you grow. And note: that’s as you grow. Not if.

Be kind and firm. Loving and tough.

Ultimately, the bottom line is this: consider that fearful voice a loving, even protective one. Speak to it kindly but firmly. Then forge ahead. And practice. Practice. Practice while you step on out into the world in the new ways that matter most to you. You’ll learn as you go.

Before long you’ll be smiling mid-stride, thinking back on some close encounter that ran its course. Because, despite Mrs. Witchy’s scary proclamations, we do form new mental habits and patterns when we do the work. We do make major strides forward, beyond what’s been possible before. That’s who we are.

New friend today, new friend tomorrow . . .

And yep–you guessed it–new fears do (and will) crop up like fresh weeds in a spring garden. And that’s human. Pay it no mind. Because part of the beauty of it all is that, with more and more practice, we do know better and better, with less and less drama, how to rap with our fears as we move forward.

In short, my dears, befriend fear to dominate it. And let me know how that goes.


Photo Credit: Sammie Vasquez,