Why Fear Is Your Best Friend

Why Fear Is Your Best Friend

Fear is the greatest obstacle to learning. But fear is your best friend. Fear is like fire. If you learn to control it, you let it work for you. If you don’t learn to control it, it’ll destroy you and everything around you.
— Cus D'Amato

These days fear can get a bad name. "Be fearless. Don’t be afraid. Fear holds you back. Fear is an illusion. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

If you make fear your enemy, you will always be in a battle with it. If you realise it is your friend, if you realise that its whole intention is actually to keep you safe and away from any possible pain, then suddenly fear becomes this energy that you realise is full of power. All that matters is our relationship to it.

Harnessing Fear

Cus D’Amato was Mike Tyson’s early trainer and mentor. There is little else more frightening than stepping into a space with someone else, knowing that you are about to fight them. Mike Tyson was known for dealing with large amounts of fear before he would go into the ring, even when he was at his most dangerous, and yet, somehow he knew how to harness it…

Most people think of fear as something to be ashamed of, something to be really embarrassed about, but I teach these boys that fear is a normal healthy thing. I often ask them, “Who is your best friend?”, well they try to name individuals. I tell them, “No. Your best friend is fear.” Nature gave us fear in order to survive. Without fear we would all die.”
— Cus D'Amato

Fear is only a hindrance when we are completely lost in it, identified with it or in a resistive struggle against it. When we resist the feeling of fear we often make it stronger and it can feel as if we are trapped within the fear, rather than fear being an energy that arises within us.

Saying Yes To Fear

Saying yes to fear means that you can harness its power, but you are not consumed by it. Through saying yes to the fear you realise that it is a source of energy that is also trying to keep you safe, and you can harness this energy for useful purposes. Saying no to fear can lead you to become more closed down, avoiding situations or actions that would actually be beneficial for you or others.

Saying yes to fear means you still have a space for wisdom and intelligence to flow through. Hating fear means that the sense of space closes down.

Of course through resisting fear it is still possible to fight through it, but saying yes to it means that you can become empowered by it.

The quote “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” might be doing fear an injustice. Fear is a natural response to being tied to a physical organism with a finite lifespan. It is a safety mechanism. When it becomes tied to our imagination, our egos and our psychological sense of self, however, it amplifies and leaks into areas of our lives that we don’t really need it to be in. We find ourselves living to protect a certain identity that we have created inside us that does not want to be diminished or cease to exist.

The Great Protector

The antidote is always to say yes to however we feel. Fear’s intention is protection. What could be more noble than that? If someone kept jumping in front of you to try to protect you, even when you didn’t need protecting, would there be any reason to hate this person? When you see that their intentions are noble, it is easier for you to have compassion for them, and to more gently say “Actually, I don’t need you to be here right now. I’m not in danger. But thanks anyway.”

Push on fear, it will push you back. Open yourself up to feel the terror that fear is always threatening you with, and suddenly it can’t stick to you anymore.

The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters.
— Cus D'Amato

Our response to fear, our attitude to fear, our beliefs about fear are what can lead to our most heroic acts, or our most cowardly ones. Fear does not mean weakness. Fear is a reflection of self love, the desire to protect oneself or others at all costs.

Fear is a powerful and noble force, if embraced and even loved. And when love rises to the surface, some would say this can be an even greater protective force.

I hope this helps, please share with others if it did.


A quote from an article about fear being our best friend. Cus D'Amato was very much in favour of treating fear as our best friend, and harnessing its power where necessary. More on how to deal with fear at www.InnerPeaceNow.com

Inner Peace Now > Inner Peace Blog > Emotional Wellness > Why Fear Is Your Best Friend