The Difference Between Fear and Doubt

difference between fear and doubt

Fear is not doubt. While fear can be your friend, doubt stops you in your tracks. Healthy fear — as in being alert and on your toes — can save you. Without fear we could get hurt. We can be out of touch. Fear is triggered when you feel danger or something amiss. Fear is not being oblivious to a situation but being aware of it and acting accordingly. Harnessed fear alerts you. Warns you. Activates adrenaline. Fear keeps you safe through healthy caution, motivates the mind to action, and avails self-defense.

But doubt is no ally. Doubt doesn’t rescue you. It is not discernment. It is not treading carefully. Doubt is the void, one of hesitation. It is paralysis. While healthy fear wakes you up, doubt demoralizes you. Facing a threat, doubt distracts and weakens your resolve. It can bring you to defeat because you do not act. It can be our worst enemy – because it is the one hardest to see. When we least expect it, in times of vulnerability, the enemy of the doubt hidden inside freezes us and stunts our ability to move forward, often ruining our chances to grow.

Self doubt is often bred in our formative years. Either because of the way we were raised or our school experiences, or perhaps some form of trauma (we may have been laughed at, invalidated or dismissed in other ways), many people live in stasis, trapped in the status quo, unable to move forward, because they assume that they will fail or that the world is against them. They may be jaded from past experiences and negative messages. Often, this lack of faith in our abilities is ultimately a lack of faith that we are connected to a greater purpose in life.

How can you beat the silent killer called doubt? By taking action and focusing on the end goal: Your own personal mission statement. The key is to take it one step at a time. One small victory at a time. Doubt will paralyze you if you try to take on too much. But if you take on one thing, then you can begin to feel empowered.

Choose one challenge that you feel you can handle. Just one. And handle it. That one victory will build your confidence (and begin to weaken your doubt). The day after, take on a second challenge. Victory breeds victory. Confidence breeds confidence. Like slowly exercising and conditioning your muscles, these small victories build your confidence. Even when you have a difficult day or face a setback, always remember: forge ahead. Know that you have an eternal flame inside you that can never be extinguished, even by years of doubt. Feed the fire with fuel: In every area of life, focus on one forward act at a time. And always know that you are standing on a secure foundation — the certainty that you are connected to an infinite light. Armed with your small victories and confidence in your secure base, you can and will experience the joy of overcoming doubt.


Go deeper into this subject: Doubt: The Silent Killer | Apathy: The Incurable Disease | Ronald Reagan

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5 years ago

Thanks so much for illuminating the difference. There is a lot of rhetoric in the world that reduces everything to fear. I can relate to how you discern between fear and doubt. Many thanks. This helps me acknowledge pushing through doubt to make a change in my life. ????

Alex Allen
4 years ago

DOUBT IS HELPFUL AS HELL?! Doubt is a part of our existence and should be seen and accepted!
Doubt is a weapon against belief- and any belief can change to ignorance. To doubt what is being said to you, to doubt whether what you see is truth, is so empowering, for when has anyone truly seen objective truth?
In a single moment, truth can be experienced. But clinging to it after that, fighting any who claim a different truth, is ignorance.
And I have watched ignorance cause suffering time and again.
Fighting doubt breeds ignorance- owning it builds confidence and opens us up.
Why blind yourself to be confident, when confidence can be found just by seeing the world as it is?

Rafael E Valdez-Huerta
4 years ago

Were did you get these ideas from? “a lack of faith that we are connected to a greater purpose in life.” “And always know that you are standing on a secure foundation” and “connected to an infinite light”? and why didn’t you give God the glory?

The Meaningful Life Center