fear or trust?

Are your actions and reactions more driven by fear or by trust?

I’ve come up with this theme for today’s post as our Toastmasters meeting tonight had the theme, “Fear the fear and do it anyway.” I had a bit of difficulty relating to that theme as fear doesn’t play a major role in my life.

Are you afraid of the unknown, or filled with wonder?

Are you afraid of the unknown, or filled with wonder?

I’d never really thought about it before, but I can’t really say I’m afraid of too much — other than being mugged or accosted if I was walking alone down a dark street at night. And I wouldn’t put myself in the circumstances to be that position unless it was absolutely necessary. For the most part, I avoid situations where there seems to be unnecessary, obvious risk. That, to me, is just plain common sense.

But one of our members tonight made the observation that “fear and trust go hand in hand” based on the assumption that you fear less if you trust more. I could really relate to that assessment.

I think I fear less because I trust more, and for the most part, that has served me well.  Being a trusting person has opened the door to having conversations with people I may have otherwise avoided, taking chances that life circumstances will work out favourably, not worrying and being an optimist. It has opened many literal and imaginary doors and presented numerous wonderful opportunities for growth, challenge, excitement and unexpected knowledge.

But on occasion, being trusting has resulted in my being taken advantage of, being lied to and having a diminished image of the human race. I wrote about this previously and still feel saddened when I think about how some people make their livings.

What has been your experience? Do you find fears hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest? Or do you have an overly trusting nature that may have put you at risk on occasion? Or are you fortunate to have found the perfect balance to guide your actions and reactions?

Please share your thoughts and experiences with us. We have an amazing community here, and if you haven’t yet read the responses to the previous post about Success Journals, please do. There were some terrific ideas and perspectives shared among us.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

13 Responses

  1. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Marg. I always love hearing your perspective.

  2. Margaret Ullrich says:

    Thanks, Doreen, for posting about this topic.

    Fear does have its place for our survival. Only infants don't fear. Why should they? They can't recall having anything bad happen to them. I remember what happened to you, which you wrote about in an earlier post. Being too trusting can be dangerous.

    But I love what Larry and Mark Twain wrote about fear. Sometimes our imaginations can get the best of us. Mark Twain certainly had enough imagination to create a truly fearful scenario. We can indeed get psyched out by ourselves.

    I have 2 neighbors who are good examples. One has cancer. He goes for his treatments and continues to enjoy what he loves to do. Life to him is good. Another neighbor is afraid he has cancer. He's had tests – all negative. He has attempted suicide twice because he is afraid he has undiagnosed cancer. What a pity.

    The trick is to know when it is only right to be fearful and when we are just letting our imaginations ruin our chances. The inner voice isn't foolproof – especially when dealing with true con artists – but it's a start.

  3. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks, for your comment, Larry. It's always great to hear from you.

    I love that Mark Twain quote. Too true.

    I hope you will continue to join us here, even though life has taken you across the pond. And with any luck, I may see you next year in the UK when we launch my book. Cheers and ciao for now.

  4. Larry Stefanuik says:

    FEAR as Jack Canfield put it is Fictitious Events Appearing Real. In reality it is the thing that holds us back the most from doing the things that we really want to do!

    Fear of what others will think of us if we do it, fear of succeeding at it, fear of a preconceived outcome we attach to the action.

    There's a great quote "I've suffered a great many catastrophes in my life. Most of them never happened." – Mark Twain (1835-1910), I've always loved this one because it shows how silly our mind can be at psyching us out.

    When it comes to trust, you need to listen to that inner voice that guides us and trust it to keep us in the right direction, too many of us suppress it, again for fear that by doing something that we really want to do will become a failure so we never even try. That's too bad because sometimes our perceived failures can be our greatest learning events and point us to something even higher then we dreamed.

    Fear is good if you are being attacked, but that about the extent of it usefulness. If I listened to fear I would never get anything done. Great article Doreen.

  5. wizardofwords says:

    I like your mother's advice, Christine! She's spot on. If our inner voice is warning us … generally, we should heed it.

    My problem seems to be that I am highly persuasive, but also seem to be easily persuaded. There seems to be a correlation.

    Thanks for joining the conversation. It's always great to hear from you.

  6. Christine Peets says:

    When I was a teenager my mother gave me a great bit of advice–"If in doubt, don't." I think it was her way of saying "trust your gut instincts." By doing that, I've avoided doing some things that I likely would have regretted. I almost always trust those instincts, and that serves me well. I think most people would find the same thing. There is such a thing as a "healthy fear" and that has to be respected. Whether it's protecting personal safety, personal finances, or protecting ourselves from being hurt emotionally, when you feel that fear, you have to listen to it. By the same token, sometimes, as others have said, and as your TM theme pointed out, you sometimes have to "feel the fear and do it anyway." But by first feeling the fear, you proceed in a smarter way.

  7. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much to Stacey and Satinka for their comments.

    Stacey: DO join Toastmasters. It's simply amazing. Go to http://www.toastmasters.org and click on "find a club." It will bring up clubs in your area. My advice is to check out 2 or 3 clubs before you join, to be sure you've found the best club for you. Each one will have its own distinct personality. Find one that best suits your own.

    Satinka: You did such a brave thing leaving all that was familiar (even if it was not the best place to be) and heading into uncertain territory. I really admire your strength for having the guts to do that. You felt the fear, but trusted that what was beyond the known would be better. And it was.

  8. Satinka says:

    Hi Doreen,

    I read the book “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway” some years ago, when I was in the throes of leaving the family religion. I keenly felt the fear of breaking away from family-held fear-based traditions.

    Indeed I know now that "fear and trust DO go hand in hand" based on the assumption that you fear less if you must trust more. I would never have been able to relate, except internally I felt something unmistakably like an assurance that everything would be okay if I left. When I heard the news that the religious elders had “disfellowshipped” me, the most amazing thing occurred. A feeling of peacefulness which I had never experienced before in my life enveloped me like a big warm hug and I just knew I would be okay without that religion of fear.

    People need to see the need to grow before they can actually undo the conditioning of their upbringing. I believe the soul has a path that leads us to where we need to go in this lifetime. Now that I have experienced the reassurance from within, it is easier to let go of the fear with which I was raised — and instead trust myself knowing that my soul safely leads me. The story about my disfellowshipping can be found at http://hey-whichwayisup.blogspot.com/2010/11/tribunal-of-religious-elders_20.html.

    Thanks for bringing up the subject! 🙂



  9. Stacey says:

    I agree with you Doreen that being a trusting person definitely makes you less fearful. I tend to trust in people's goodness, which can provide great disappointment at times, for sure, but I am still glad to have that kind of mentality. I think fear has held me back in some areas, but it's not so easy to even realize it when it's happening. For example, a fear of success. How does one spot it other than doing some real self-introspection. One thing that I know for sure that I fear is public speaking so I think it's great that you are involved with Toastmasters. I have been wanting to go to a meeting for years but am afraid, I have to admit. But, I suppose just pushing through the fear is the only way to get to the other side, and I know how good I'll feel if I challenge myself in that way.

  10. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks for your comment, Yvonne. It's always great hearing from you.

    You are SO right! Wouldn't the world be a divine place if there was no fear and no need for fear. If only we could all be true to ourselves and to everyone else.

    I also rec'd a comment from Dianne Gray-Wysoki who was having trouble posting and asked me to share this comment:
    "I believe in my business, fear is one of the main reasons many people who so want to and need to start a Melaleuca referral business, don't. They have fear of rejection, fear of success, fear that they are going to be taken advantage of, etc. If they could just trust their initial instincts when they first saw the overview of the company and the products, and continue to trust themselves on their decision to open an account. Instead they let other's opinions pull them down and stop them in their tracks. My view! Thanks, have an awesome day! Dianne"

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dianne, and for bringing in the sales perspective. We discussed that quite at length at our Toastmasters mtg last night, and by chance, there were several members who have sales careers and find that they deal with fear everyday. The customer's fear as to whether they're making the right purchase, and their own fears as to whether they'll meet their sales objectives for the month. Sales is definitely one profession where there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty, and I think uncertainty results in fear.

  11. Yvonne Perry says:

    Nowhere does fear show up more than in our close relationships. Because this "lack of trust" disguises itself in many ways, we don't always recognize it. For example, when we have an argument with someone we love, we feel that they are wrong and we are right (or at best, both are wrong). The situation may be resolved with each person offering forgiveness, but what I learned in A Course in Miracles (Lesson 134) today is that our idea of forgiveness is a man-made answer to justifying our having perceived someone as being guilty of doing something wrong. Love (the true opposite of fear) is innocence in which we see no wrong, bad, or guilt in anyone–not even ourselves. It is all energy anyway–everything is energy.

    I say all this to show that fear is a lack of love or trust. When we fear anything, we are trusting in the lie that another person is anything but innocent–anything but God. If we all saw ourselves as the Divine beings we are, we would have no fear, war, discord, or struggle of any kind. Boy, would I enjoy that state of being!!

  12. wizardofwords says:

    Thanks so much for getting the conversation going, Rusti, and for sharing your personal sentiments as to what you are experiencing in your relationship with your son.

    I, too, hope that he will learn to trust more. Although there are risks to trusting, in my opinion, they far outweigh the risk of living in isolation because of our fear to trust.

  13. Rusti L Lehay says:

    I know of the book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. I often quote the title to people who are afraid or anxious. I may never read the book as the title is enough to motivate me when I meet up with something that challenges me that includes an element of anxiety. Deepak Chopra says there are only two real emotions, love and fear. All other "emotions" arise out of fear.

    Take anger for instance. We are most angry when we are afraid, afraid of losing something, afraid of risk, and being afraid of losing a marriage can bring about great anger. The people often spend more time in anger than risking vulnerability by saying they are afraid. My son is avoiding relationships because to him they are forever and he doesn't believe someone else would stick it out. He defines his commitment to relationship as lunatic in this modern day world. It is love and fear that guide and govern our lives, or as you say Doreen, trust and fear. My hope is that he fears less, trusts more and opens his arms, eyes, and heart to love.

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