Why Fear Will Never Leave You (Unless You Do this One Thing)

follow your bliss

“Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” – Joseph Campbell

Can you jump up and follow your bliss after reading this quote?

I used to feel even more fearful after reading quotes like this. Why weren’t the quotes catapulting me to a blissful life, happily ever after? What was blocking me?

One day after reading the above quote about not being afraid, I realized I wanted to be fearless once and for all. I had enough. What was going on here? What was I so afraid of anyway?

I felt like I was living my life on a leash, and it was time to figure this out, so here is what I did.

I took 30 seconds to identify my fear.

I looked into my own eyes in the mirror. What or who was I so afraid of? The answer came right to me. It was 6 ft. 2, boss-of-the-house Dad.

I felt like a prisoner of an energy that was lingering around me far too long.

“Children should be seen and not heard, look like a perfect young lady when you leave the house. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Don’t shame the family name.

Homework? Your job is to help your mother with your siblings”.

Harry Potter had the invisibility cloak. I wore the cloak of fear.

So here was adult me, living small and fearful in the corner of my mind, afraid he would get mad at me and he wasn’t even alive anymore.

The way I dressed, still putting everyone ahead of me, the way I viewed myself in general was in no way leading to following my bliss.

So when this Joseph Campbell quote says ‘Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open…’ I could now see who was blocking those doors from opening for me.

My monster fears about Dad. It was time for a sendoff. Here are the 5 steps I took to shake my fear forever so that I can follow my bliss:

1. I Took 30 seconds.  I looked at myself in the mirror for 30 seconds and asked myself what I was afraid of.

2. Decision Time. I decided what my beliefs were and wrote them down.  I decided that I am no longer a fearful child – I am an adult that can live the life of my own choosing. I wrote out what I DO believe are my thoughts and opinions of how I want to live my life. Re-reading my own desires and beliefs daily drowns out the old fearful messages and voices that aren’t mine.

3. Dig for the Good. I hung up a picture of my father when he was young, in the navy, handsome and charming, before he had us 11 children and a wife to care for. I realized there was more to him than the person I feared.

4. Find Something Bigger. I started riding horses. I needed to do something in the physical world that I was afraid of, not just think and write my fears away. Terrified as I am, the towering magnitude of horses remind me of my Dad who loved to ride.

5. Add Love. Adding love drowns out fear. I pay more attention to being present when I am with people I love, and who love me, such as my children. They have so much love to give me if I am open to it.

I spend more time doing creative things I love, even if it’s sneaking my child’s rubber band loom and looming a rubber bracelet after she’s asleep, or drawing on my iPad for a few minutes.

You too can go ahead and ‘follow your bliss, and don’t be afraid…’

There’s a reason this quote is so famous, because it’s so simple, yet it takes such a mysterious leap of taking yourself on a magic carpet ride to discover your own fears and desires.

Give yourself a few moments to go through these 5 steps and think about your own life. What comes up for you? Write it out and start on a journey to conquer your fear with a life force that is all your own, perhaps with a mentor, coach or friend.

Life has a way of surprising us. When doors open unexpectedly, it’s because we unlocked it by looking at something difficult, and shifting a belief in ourselves. We invited more love and processed and let go of fear.

So what’s behind door number 1 in your life? “…doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

How exciting is that to contemplate. It’s certainly worth peeking and when you do, there’s no turning back.

Photo by Laura Katharina

26 thoughts on “Why Fear Will Never Leave You (Unless You Do this One Thing)”

  1. One of those posts that gets you thinking! We have to deal with our fears and find some peace with the past (people, events) which is what your story shows. For me, I there was always an underlying fear of not having enough, that the money would run out, when I was growing up. So thanks for the nudge to being bolder, following my bliss and whilst acknowledging that fear not letting it get in the way.

  2. There have been times I follow my bliss and doors have not opened. It makes me wonder if I need to re-direct my attention on something else…or a deeper fear is that when working toward my goal and it not happening, maybe I am not meant to live it?

    1. Cindy, I think that sometimes we want things to happen on our own timeline and when they don’t happen that way we think it’s the ‘wrong’ goal, or just won’t happen. Also – it’s really helpful to get a coach or mentor that can be of great guidance.

  3. Esther,

    For you it was your dad. For me it was my mom. I was an only child, and she was all I had. The fear she taught me stayed around until I was in my late 40’s when I finally realized I had nothing to be afraid of. I spend as much time as I can in the present moment because there’s no fear or pain. It’s a great place to find bliss, and it’s always there when you need it.

    I’m a little different than you in that I don’t believe we can ever be rid of fear once and for all because fear is so powerful and has a real purpose in our lives. What we can do is recognize when an irrational fear is trying to hold us back in an effort to keep us in our comfort zone. That’s when the power of the present moment can be used to help us to let go of the irrational fear so we can find our bliss.

    Great quote. I’ll be using it soon!

    1. Joe, I so agree. The present moment is all there really is, and no matter what’s going on, being able to be present helps so much. I especially love Eckhart Tolle’s book on this topic.

  4. This is not just another post on dealing with fears, Ester. You have some excellent concrete steps to help deal with fears we all face. Doing something physical and dig for the good stand out.

    You mention you spend more time doing creative things you love. Do you think doing creative work also helps you face and move past fears, maybe creating a type of positive feedback loop?

    1. Don, absolutely. Doing creative things helps tons in both feeling calmer, happier, more excited about life and also lots of answers can be found in creative work. Doing something physical is so important because our process needs to be anchored in something. And digging for the good, well that’s actually really hard for me! But it helps being grateful for the good. : )

  5. Hi, Esther!

    What a wonderful post.

    I am glad that you are coming to terms with your father and thereby finding your bliss. I think that your search for the good in your father did you some good. Your father was responsible for the well-being of twelve other people that he loved (assuming that your mother did not have time for a career with eleven kids to care for).

    Fortunately, for all of you, he was able to shoulder that responsibility! I don’t doubt that he might have been a little gruff under the circumstances.

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have written a beautiful guide to how we all may be happy with where we start in life and how we can move on from there.

  6. Esther~ I love how your process encourages us to hold up a mirror, face what is important and what is fearful and then ground it in the body and in love. By giving our fears chances to be in the light, they become less intimidating, smaller and without as much influence. The pressure builds when fear is buried and it will come up stronger. As we use gratitude, love, affirmations, and face our fears, our authentic selves shine brighter and we can find the gifts in the fear.

  7. I believe all of these messages about living your bliss are all around us and we see them when we are ready. There are many ways to skin this cat and I love that their are so many approaches/interpretations to this idea.

  8. Thank you Esther for such a great post, I love the Mirror question, very powerful. We all know that most people get their fears from childhood, whether it be from their parents, teachers or peers we all end up with fears. These can hold us back as adults from achieving what we would really like to in life, which is pretty sad, but fears live in our minds and the mind is a very powerful thing, it can make or break us.

    Any post that encourages people to take on their fears and rid their mind of them is worth its weight in gold, so well done for a well thought out piece of work that I am sure will help anyone who reads it.

    1. Thank you so much Robert. Yes, childhood holds lots of clues, and if we dare to look we can find many answers that will help clear the way for a more peaceful and less fearful adulthood.

  9. Erin, so true. The answers are all around us and within us, and it certainly takes readiness on our part to recognize what they are and get through our fears. Thanks for commenting : )

  10. Wonderful article, thank you for sharing, Esther! I think it’s amazing that you managed to look yourself in the face like that and pinpoint what it was that was bothering you. I find there to be a lot of power in meeting someone’s eyes, and our own is no exception. The funny thing is, taking the very actions we’re afraid of is the best way to tamp down and eventually dispel fear altogether. Now to follow your advice …

  11. I so appreciate this site, and your blog. Fear is a big one for me. I would love to say that it has totally gone away, but it has not. What I will say is that I am learning to make friends with my fear. It takes being really gently. I have realized over the last 8 months that fear was the reason I ate a lot. So as I have let go of the overeating, more fear pops up. It is not longer being stuffed down. I have to deal with it bits at a time. But the one thing I have realized is that you can live through fear. For me that meant still getting healthier, still pursuing my dream of being a life coach, and still going out and living my life. Loved, loved, loved your post:)


    1. Thank you so much Leslie for your comment. Check out the book Shrink Yourself By Dr. Gould. He also has a website and it’s amazing. : ) Good luck on pursuing your dream of being a Life Coach. You can do it!!!

  12. Hi Esther, going through the 5 steps made me realized that fear lives within us, for older people, growing old alone is one great fear, but as what you have said, paying more attention to the present, loving the people that love you more will help conquer that fear. I’ll be sharing your post to some of my friends and I’m sure they will love it too.

    1. Thank you so much Leslie for your comment. Check out the book Shrink Yourself By Dr. Gould. He also has a website and it’s amazing. : ) Good luck on pursuing your dream of being a Life Coach. You can do it!!!

    2. Lynne, I’m glad that you took the time to go through the 5 steps and realized your fear of growing old alone. Just like you said, paying attention to the present moment does wonders : ) Marianne Williamson has a great book for women on fear of aging that is amazing!!! Check it out : )

  13. Amazing post Esther. One fear that I struggle with is fear of success. I don’t believe that I am worthy of good stuff happening to me, even if I have worked my butt off and earned it.

    It’s a process, but I am working through it and starting to accept successes and accomplishments that come my way.

    It’s nice to not feel guilty about the good things in life :)

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