The Opposite of Fear Poll


I was talking with a dear coaching colleague about trends we’re seeing in our coaching clients these days, given the economy and the national (is it global?) mood.  We both have been seeing a lot of fear in our clients, and we debated what is the opposite of fear?  I’ve always thought it was trust…in fact, one coaching question I find myself using quite a bit is, “Who or what do you need to trust right now to replace this fear?”
I’ve always believed that fear and trust could not co-exist.  What do you think?  Vote below and you’ll see the results immediately!

Comments (14)

It makes the most sense to me that the opposite of fear would be trust. It’s pretty hard to have faith, hope, love, or confidence unless you can trust; either in yourself, in others, or in a spiritual being. Once you have these, fear seems to subside. In fact, having trust that fear will subside goes a long way in eliminating fear.

A great question for these times!
Many years ago I read and re-read Jerry Jampolsky’s “Love is Letting Go of Fear” – it’s got lots of useful ideas and exercises for easing fear out of one’s life. Not all of them were easy, but meeting the challenge i worth it.
Best regards

I don’t agree that trust is the opposite of fear. I believe courage is the opposite of fear.
As to whether fear and trust can co-exist, consider the biological basis for fear – you are endangered (or feel you are). What, then, does trust add to the mix? Depending on how you mean trust (have confidence in, believe the competence of, or something else), I can imagine the two feelings residing in a person or group simultaneously. I am afraid of losing my job, and I trust that I will find another one.
How do these thoughts interweave with your Suzi?

Oooh, great thinking, Sharon! I didn’t even consider COURAGE and of course that makes perfect sense! I wonder if I can go back into the poll and add that in as an option…

The opposite of fear is knowledge. Fear is mainly about uncertainty, the unknown. Will I get cancer? Will I go bankrupt? Will the economy continue to collapse? Will my spouse leave me? Will the government protect us from terrorism? Will I be a bad parent? Knowledge diminishes uncertainty, and leads to either 1. acceptance of a feared circumstance that cannot be changed or 2. ideas on how to change/avoid the circumstance. As for trust, trust of others or of institutions is earned based on our knowledge of their actions/inactions.

Great thoughts, Stew! Yet how do we know that the knowledge and evidence we’ve sought is accurate, true and right? That often comes from trust or faith or courage…I’ve seen plenty of examples where ‘knowledge’ has been misguided or just plain false. I agree that knowledge diminishes uncertainty…yet what removes uncertainty? Or, otherwise thinking…what creates certainty? Knowledge takes care of the head part, but what about our hearts and guts? Fear lives in the gut as well as the head. Doesn’t trust or love or something bigger than knowledge impact things at the gut level? Thanks for engaging in the dialogue! You got me thinking!

Suzi, I am looking forward to our following each other on Twitterdom. More about me: I am a left/right brain, melancholy/sanguine accountant who is trying to find clarity to her authenticity. I have been on a long journey to discover the business I really want to own. Right now my accounting business is to pay the bills and my dream is to be People Builder.
Thanks for asking. I love your blog.
Celebrating You!

Thanks, Debbie! Live your dream, because life is short and while paying the bills is critical, wouldn’t you rather rock a life you love? You wouldn’t have the dream to be a People Builder if it wasn’t your work to do. Go do it! 🙂

I recently heard that love is what exists in the absence of fear. That resonated with me, especially when I heard it stated (perhaps from the same source) that love is acceptance. Deep stuff — GREAT stuff. Love, Steve

I woke up afraid. I don’t have a job and I am afraid I won’t get one. You guys are smart! According to Erik Erikson, trust versus mistrust is the first thing a newborn learns. Will they be taken care of? This first issue resonates throughout all the other stages.

Hi, Jany. First of all it’s completely normal to wake up afraid when your survival is at stake. The question becomes, what can you trust, and what actions are you taking to create your own future job? Can you hold both your fear of not getting a job with your clear intention of doing everything in your power to get a job? Both can exist at the same time.

Suzi your question intrigued me and I asked myself; if ______ is present fear cannot exist. This thought guided me to choose either peace or love as the opposite of fear. An old quote says “perfect love casts out fear” and I’m thinking that may be true. If we were loved perfectly by our parents or spouse we would have a trusting outlook I believe. We could face difficulties with courage and assurance that fear can be overcome. All consequences of this perfect love; not opposites. Of course this is all theoretical as none of us have been loved perfectly. Which leads me to the above quotes implied opposite. Imperfect love creates fear and anxiety. So I vote for love. As to courage, I’ve heard a definition of courage is: feel the fear and proceed anyway. I believe both can exist in the same person. Thanks for your intellectual stimulation.

Thanks, Steve! Great thoughts.

I’m a bit late to this conversation, but a google search directed me to this page. I have great fear because I need to have surgery and I’m afraid of the pain afterwards. I’ve had surgeries before and I always have a really hard time controlling the pain.
So looking at this discussion I think it greatly depends on what the fear is from. If it’s public speaking you know you’ll be ok afterwards but if you know you’ll probably be in pain how do you deal? I’ve been trying to focus on the long term outcome which is positive but I just can’t get past the pain part. Any thoughts ? It would be greatly appreciated as it’s going around and around in my head.

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