How To Face Your Worst Fears

“Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it.” —Bear Grylls

My son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease.  He has major hurdles to face with this disease.

As mothers, our worst fears and concerns often center around our children.  I watched my own mother lose her youngest son 11 years ago. My brother was killed and his homicide case is a cold case today.  As a mother, I witnessed my mother going through the unimaginable.

In each of our lives, we have a “worst” fear that we may or may not have to face.  However, if we don’t acknowledge and face that fear, it will most likely drive our behavior, and we will suffer more than grieve.

Some of us don’t ever want to face our fears so we bury them deep inside or push them away. 

But guess what?  What you resist persists and it can get even bigger and scarier this way.  Just like our thoughts, fears can subconsciously drive our behaviors, which create the life we have today.

I found that practicing a form of inquiry called The Work of Byron Katie, helps me stop suffering.  Your task is to become conscious of your thoughts and the stories you tell.  Are they stories you want to live out?  If not, create a new and more empowering story.

Here’s what I am doing right now to help me stay present and take care of myself so I am present to help my son.

Name your fear:  In ancient cultures, the tribe would name the good and feared deities.

What is your worst fear?  Write it down.  Examples:  I will lose my job.  I will run out of money.  She will leave me.  He will die.  I will end up on the streets.

This form of inquiry is called The Work, which was created by Byron Katie.

Question it:  Go into the situation where you believe it’s true and answer from that place.

Q. Is it true?  Answer as a yes or no depending on if you believed it was true or not.

Q.  Can you absolutely know it’s true? Yes or no

Q.  How do you react when you believe that thought?  Write down the emotions you feel and where you feel them in your body when you BELIEVE your worst fear.  The important piece here is to notice how your body and mind react when you believe this thought.  See how this thought causes suffering, and feel it and name it.

Q.  Who would you be without this thought?  If you couldn’t believe this thought (I touched you with my light saber and the thought disappeared), who would you be and what would you be doing without this thought?  See yourself doing your life without this thought in your mind.

Turn the thought around.  You want to look at this fear/thought from different perspectives.  The mind seeks evidence for anything it believes.  Your mind has been focused on that fear or a related stressful thought.  Just like a horse wearing blinders, your mind is not seeing anything but what it believes to be true.  What we are doing with The Work is looking at your worst fear from different angles to open your mind to find your real truth.  This is how you get free and find some peace.

Original thought:  I will lose my job.

Turn it to the opposite:  I will not lose my job.

Give three genuine specific examples of how the opposite could be as true or truer than the original thought.  The key is to be as specific as possible because your mind will not believe generalities.

1)   In reality, today I have that job.  So I can be present (not in a future story) because today I have my job.

2) My thoughts tell me I will lose my job.  I don’t have to listen to my thoughts and be afraid.

3)  Being good at my work is my job, and I can’t lose the knowledge of my work.

Turn it to yourself.  Put you in place of the “other” – the job.

I will lose me.

How could it be as true or truer that you will lose you if you continue to believe you will lose your job?

1)  I will lose me if I live in fear of losing my job.  I can choose to stay present.

2)   I will lose me if I allow myself to suffer and stay in the story of potentially losing my job.

3)   I will lose me if I don’t eat well, exercise and take care of myself.

Now turn it around to the “other” – in this case it’s the job.

My job will lose me.

1)   If I don’t stay focused on my work while I am at work, my job will lose me.

2)   My job is to take care of myself so that I don’t lose myself.

3)  When I’m not present, the best of me doesn’t show up to do my job.

I can still hear her words, “I can’t believe I won’t ever see Byron on this earth again.”  Watching her go through the unimaginable was heartbreaking.

We all get to decide what “story” we want to live by.  Today I am choosing to live an empowering story that I have been in training for the past six years for this time in my life, which is facing my worst fear.  Six years ago, when my younger brother was killed, I sought to go inside and do deep personal work.

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Related Posts:

Facing Fear is a Victory for Your Soul

Use Fear as Rocket Fuel for a Courageous Life

5 Ways to Overcome Fear

  1. Sherold, I am so sorry to hear of your troubles and my heart is with you, but I’m amazed to watch you lean into this and grow. We all have fears and ways we think we’re dealing with them but this ‘Work’ is such a wonderful tool to see past what you think you’re afraid of and really get to the heart of the matter. Thank you so much for sharing this! I plan on asking myself the same questions and rewriting my own story. I know you’re courage will pull you through this! Please know that your family is in my thoughts and I’m sending light your way. xx

  2. Lazarus – I feel so connected to all of you B Schoolers. I am going through this to learn from this and to polish myself almost like a tumbled stone. I feel that others might learn how to do this if I can lead. Much love to you.

  3. Sherold –

    My thoughts and prayers to you and your family. As a mother myself, I simply cannot imagine how you are feeling. I have witnessed Byron Katie do The Work with several people, and it is simply amazing. Nearly breathtaking. Yet, it was on video. You’re explanation and illustration makes this so easy to use – and something I can use right now.

    Thank you for sharing your story and The Work in such a real way. Powerful stuff!

    Jennifer Peek | Business Coach for Creative Entrepreneurs
    Find Your New Groove
    The Freedom to Build Your Business Your Way

  4. Thanks for sharing, Sherold. What a good reminder.
    The examples are helpful as well. Thanks. Best to you and your family. F

    1. Christie – thank you for reading and commenting. And thanks for your kind thoughts.

  5. Jennifer – that is good feedback that the way I described how to do The Work was easy to follow. Thank you for that feedback.

    Felicia and Christie – thank you both for your feedback too. I have been listening to Pema Chodren lately and she has some amazing CDs on fear. Love the Buddhist way.

  6. What a thought provoking post. I love the series of questions that guide you through challenging fear and even turning it into a positive. What great tools to assist one in facing fear HEAD on and questioning it vs. allowing it to rule you and potentially hold you back. Your personal story paints a picture to me of the strength of two amazing woman and a family who have endured a terrible loss. Many hugs coming your way!

    1. Anastasia – thank you for reading my blog. Thanks for your thoughts and hugs;)

  7. Its a real good way to handle fears,a direct approach at what i fear the most I will try it out.

  8. Hisherold,

    It was worth reading……… my question to you is that by this way we can help ourselves from fear … But how to help our dear ones to build such attitude who are grieving or having some disease with this method???/ Please guide??

    1. Hi JYOTI – I have been through life experiences that are the most unimaginable. So these loved ones must go through the grieving process and FEEL their emotions to get them out of their bodies. I would suggest naming your or their worst fear – they need to do that for themselves.

      Name it like this if there is a disease:

      I won’t get well.
      I will die.

      Go to the deepest darkest fear.

      Question it:
      1. In this situation, is this true? (yes or no)

      2. Can you absolutely know it’s true? (yes or no)

      3. How do you react (emotionally and physically), what happens when you believe this thought?

      4. Who would you be in this situation, without this thought (if you couldn’t think it at all)?

      Turn it to the opposite:
      I will not die.

      Now find three SPECIFIC examples of how this could be as true or truer than the original thought or fear.

      I will NOT die.
      1. My soul will live on when my body is gone.
      2. I am not dead yet.
      3. I will always be in the hearts of my loved ones so I won’t be dead.

      OK I made this up as an example.
      I recommend that you or your loved one call the Helpline (it’s free and 24X7) to have a trained facilitator in Byron Katie’s Institute facilitate the painful thought. This is how you get free.
      Hope this helps.

  9. Every since i was little my worst fears have came to be. I remember being scared my parents would did and id be alone. I usedto worry something bad would happen to my big brother. Another one was being homeless and being afraid of ghost. Well im 33 now and when i was 17 my parents and my brother all died within six months of each other. I used to be scared of being alone but now aftermy second divorce im raising three kids all alone. And i think my house is haunted but thank god were being forced to move. Though i dont know where we will go. So the point is, embrace your fears and find a backup plan for if these fears do become reality. Before its too late.

    1. Jason thank you for writing. You must be very strong to have survived despite all of these “hell and back” life experiences. To help you get these fears out of your body and emotional body – check out Nick Ortner’s new book called the Tapping Solution. He has lots of YouTube videos as well. Tapping will help you reduce the fears and get you back to a state of peace.

      Then you can always call the Byron Katie Helpline to get your worst fear questioned or question the story that you are telling yourself to find your own truth. Go to and look for the Helpline under “Resources.” Thank you for writing, and I hope this helps you. Keep the faith.

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