The great Himalayan sage Swami Rama advised his students to examine their fears. He said, "Fears, if not examined, will develop strong roots, though they are often rootless."
Fear is a strong motivator. It impels one to action. If the fear is based on reality, it can save one's life. It is sensible to be afraid of wild tigers and poisonous snakes. But often fears are based on misperceptions and imagination. When that's the case, one's reaction is at best a nuisance, and at worst can cause harm.
So, rather than accepting fears at face value, they can be examined to find what they are based upon.
It's easier to examine fears when they are based on material objects. A hiker comes upon a snake and is filled with panic. But a momentary examination may show the snake is actually a dirty mud covered rope. A child fears monsters under his bed, yet a simple examination proves they are not there.
It is more challenging, although perhaps even more important, to examine fears that are completely in the mind. A person may avoid public speaking, fearing people will laugh at him or her. But how likely is the feared scenario? Even if it happened, would it be so terrible? Many comedians make their financial success out of being laughed at.
One time, I was in India at the time of the Holi festival. Holi is a celebration of the colors of spring and people become very rowdy and throw colored powders and colored water on one another. In past years at the time of Holi, I stayed indoors to avoid getting colors thrown over me, fearing my clothes would be ruined and that I'd get ill from the chemicals in the powders or from some microorganisms in the water. But on this particular year I decided to face my fears and went out into the fray.
Yes, I got colored from head to toe, my clothes got ruined and I did get sick. But the illness passed in a couple of days and the clothes were replaceable. In the end, the fear was worse than the reality. This is so often the case.
So, if you would like to have a sense of more freedom in your life and greater inner peace, take a few moments to examine your fears.