Anxiety and Courage: An Unlikely Pair

September 15, 2019

“Always remember, anxiety is a sign that you’re about to do something really brave. Anxiety and courage always exist together – always – so take your strong breaths, your powerful thoughts, and that brave warrior of yours, and go be amazing.”

Karen Young, “Hey Warrior”

Pema Chodron writes that “we can never avoid uncertainty. This not-knowing is part of the adventure. It’s also what makes us afraid.”

Anxiety and fear are a part of life. They certainly have been a part of mine. For such a long time, I thought that fear and anxiety were “bad” feelings and found myself doing everything possible to avoid them. Then one day, while talking with a good friend, a realization hit me. What would happen if I held these feelings gently in the palm of my hand instead of pushing them away? And sat next to them rather than running away from them? I discovered that when you invite difficult feelings in, you develop the courage to sit with uncertainty and discomfort and have compassion for yourself.

Fear and anxiety still are a part of my life…some days more than others. The difference now is that I try to remember to “just be” with them and invite them to walk beside me while I navigate this life of mine with as much courage and grace as I can muster.

As Brene’ Brown puts it: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

One of the reasons I chose to become a therapist (besides how much I love to talk) is because I feel passionately about helping others have the courage to navigate life with fear and anxiety. What I’ve learned is that everyone has something to teach us. We just need to take a moment to listen.

Be gentle with yourself. You are doing the best you can.


written by

Christine Coyle

Christine is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-C) and co-founder of Anchored Hope Therapy, LLC. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Widener University. Christine’s work has focused on implementing evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment to help children, families and adults cope with traumatic stress.
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