We all know fear. Some of us feel fear when we’re about to take a big exam. Some of us feel fear when we must get up and do a speech for public speaking class. Some of us feel it when we’re having struggles within our friendships and relationships. We all experience fear in different capacities and for different reasons, but no matter what… fear can be terrifying.
Fear often talks us out of doing things that we should be doing. It tells us: “What you’re about to do is scary…maybe you shouldn’t do it.” And because of that, it can talk us out of choosing to be brave and courageous.
Imagine you just watched a student in your class tell a classmate that he’s stupid. You have two options: to be a bystander or to be an upstander. We want YOU to choose to be an upstander every single time… but we know it’s not that easy, because we tend to have conflicting voices inside of our heads telling us what to do or not to do. Courage is the voice inside of us telling us to be an upstander and stand up to the bully, but fear is the voice telling us to be a bystander and do nothing.
The thing about fear is that it’s never going to disappear. No matter how hard we try to wish it away or declare to ourselves that we’re going to be fearless, fear will still exist. We might experience less of it, but it will always be there. Fear is real, everlasting, and ruthless, but it must be tackled.
So how do we tackle it? I think we tackle it similarly to how we tackle other obstacles in life: we acknowledge that it exists, but intentionally choose to not let it stop us. With the previous example, tackling fear might be saying to yourself “Yes, I might be afraid to confront this bully. This fear is real and I acknowledge it, but I’m not going to let it dictate my actions. I choose to show courage and be an upstander.” It can be as simple as that.
- Acknowledge the fear.
- Tell the fear that it’s not going to dictate what you do.
- Choose courage and bravery.
We challenge you to use these three steps when you’re confronted with fear. It will help guide you in the direction of being an upstander instead of a bystander AND will help you in tackling fear and choosing courage instead.
By Lexi Breunig