How Overcoming Fear Helped Me Do The Scariest Thing Of All

overcoming fear

How Overcoming Fear Helped Me Do The Scariest Thing Of All

By Erin Christine, a traveler teaching English in Spain

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.  – Frank Herbert, Dune

This quote has been my inspiration, repeating over and over in my mind when I was faced with tough decisions. You could call this a mantra; a quote or phrase repeated to bring calm or hope in times of need.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer,” I chant to myself often.

And it’s true. If I’d let fear get the best of me I wouldn’t currently be in Seville, Spain, teaching English by day and dancing Flamenco, sipping savory glasses of tempranillo, and wandering famous sites like the Alcázar of Seville (Royal Palace) and the ceramic tile-lined Plaza de España. Instead, I would be working a job I felt unfulfilled in, constantly craving something more but left dreaming.

I owe it to my mantra.

overcoming fear

Plaza de Espana

I have found myself repeating these words for the past three years. One memory in particular involves me attempting to climb a mountain, fearing my gear would fail. I was rushing because it had started to rain. The next step was to “clean” the route by attaching myself directly to the rock face and re-adjusting the rope to run directly through the bolts. This would enable myself to rappel down safely. It ended up being one of the greatest experiences of my life. In fact, it’s one I return to frequently to remind myself of my strength and my ability to mentally turn fear to excitement.

There were other times this mantra has done me well; when confronting another teacher at my former job about a disciplinary action she took that I didn’t agree with, as well as ending a four-year relationship I’d grown comfortable in. Time and time again these simple words — I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. — have given me strength I didn’t know I had.

What's your #life #mantra? Here's mine, and how it helped me overcome #fear Click To Tweet

A New Me

The mantra has helped me get to the position I am in today; working towards making things happen in my life because, well, I want them to. We are all faced with pressures from parents, partners, bosses and society letting us know what we “should” be doing with our lives. There’s a sort of road map lined out for each us, designed by the various influencers in our lives. But what about when you want to take control of your own road map?

I realized recently that the Spain trip is the first time in my life I am doing something simply because I want to. I am not making decisions based on anyone else’s approval. It is terrifying, to say the least.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” Keep repeating it, Erin.

It can be hard to silence the voices of pressure that surround us. Letting go of #fear is Step 1. #life Click To Tweet
overcoming fear

Erin loving life in Spain

A Journey Inward

I recently dove into this journey of self-discovery and unknown adventures by removing myself from what some people might think of as a traditional lifestyle. I quit my full-time teaching job to travel and immerse myself in another culture — Seville, Spain — for nine months.

This is something I’ve fantasized about ever since I studied art history in Paris my sophomore year of college. Imagining experiencing another culture first hand causes a very visceral reaction inside me: racing heart, sweaty palms, shaky legs. It’s like having the most pleasurable anxiety attack.

I remember sophomore year how badly I didn’t want to leave Paris; but, I knew in my heart another opportunity to live in Europe would eventually come back to me. It took me some time to realize that it wasn’t going to just fall into my lap, I would have to take action to make it happen. I just needed to take it.

overcoming fear

Dancing Flamenco in Spain

Letting Go Of Fear

For a long time the only thing that was holding me back from taking these kinds of opportunities was fear; fear of failing, fear of letting people in my life down, fear of letting myself down. There was also a fear of having to figure out a slew of trip details relating to a foreign land I’d never stepped foot on. Oh, and the language barriers — an intense fear of taking ten minutes to conjugate verbs just to communicate that I prefer savory food over sweets and looking like a fool in the process.

So many fears could have prevented me from doing what I really wanted; but, in the end I didn’t let them. Many people want so badly to travel, or to start their own business or to ask their true love on a date, letting fear stop them and convincing themselves that the time isn’t right; if they just waited a little longer than the time would be right.

Well guess what? There will never be a right time or a wrong time. There will always be excuses and your life with always be uncertain. Take hold of the present. Let go of some of that fear.

Right now I am choosing to follow my heart; to put myself out into the world and be vulnerable, and to learn through this vulnerability. One step at a time.

Here's how I let go of #fear, quit my job and #traveled abroad Click To Tweet

overcoming fear

About Erin Christine

Erin is taking life day by day to learn and soak in all the world has to offer. Her interest in culture and people drives her travel and writing. As a profession, Erin is a trained and experienced teacher of a variety of levels and subject areas. Her passions include exactly that, teaching, along with nature, movement of any type (yoga, dance, running, biking, swimming, hiking, walking), creativity, and healthy living in general. You can follow and share in her experiences and stories at


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