Blog – Getting “Hold” Of Our Fear

by Corinne Canter

Three months into the third decade of the 21st century and we’ve been witness to the most horrific bushfires Australia has ever witnessed, followed by an ever mutating pandemic, the worst floods seen in recent history and now the harrowing scenes coming out of the Ukraine. This era sustains at serving as a stark reminder that events such as these continue to bring us face to face with the fact that we are not in control. And frankly that’s scary.

Our brains are on to this of course and move us immediately into any number of defensive postures. When afraid we may at first suppress that fear, buckle it down tight to deny and hide it. If that fails, we may explode and come out fighting, landing the first punch as a way of staying safe.

What if rather than try to conquer, or fight our fears, we engaged with them and explored them?

It isn’t about making the fear go away, it’s about learning to be present with what gets triggered without disassociating or judging. I call this ability ‘holding a point of tension.’

To hold a point of tension requires that we know ourselves well enough to understand and admit how fear shows up in us. Fear comes at different volumes and with many names like worry, concern, stress, nervousness, discomfort. Sometimes as denial, avoidance, agitation, anger and even humour – the type that deflects, ducks and weaves the core issue.

Holding a point of tension involves noticing our feelings not with shame or blame but with calm compassion.

When we hold a point of tension, we are present, connected and unshrinking, fierce without being aggressive, and courageous because we do not look away or abandon ourselves even as every instinct is compelling us to do so.

By staying still and observing our feelings, thoughts and sensations, we can work out what we need and consciously discern what the next best step may be. While this doesn’t guarantee the ‘perfect’ outcome, it helps us deal with uncertainty and ambiguity.

Panic and potential are two sides of the same coin. While uncomfortable, our fears and insecurities can shine a light on our growth edge. You don’t have to bungy jump, climb Everest or free dive to be brave. There are far more opportunities for us to practice being braver in all the small moments of our lives. Countless opportunities to speak up, step up, be visible, and own our opinions.

How can you be a little braver and hold a point of tension with yourself today?


About the Author:

Corinne Canter is a Head of Consulting at Human Synergistics Australia. She has over 25 years of working with leaders to create high performing, toxic free teams, and positive workplace cultures. Get in touch with me to see how we can help you and your business unlock growth,



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