Originally Posted by MeeraReed
For a long time, I was afraid to try dating new people because I was terrified that I would once again ask a guy for coffee and break his heart.
The way I have learned to tell the difference for myself is to ask if I am acting out of fear. If I am doing or (more often) not doing something because I have unaddressed fears, then that is usually not a good decision for me. I am missing an opportunity to learn something, experience something new (which can be painful).
I don't ignore the fear - fear is useful and should be respected. But I try to figure out the underlying issue. Usually once I have sorted that out, then I can live with the fear and I often choose to go forward with whatever was freaking me out. And often, whatever I feared turns out not to be a big deal and the fear evaporates.
Asking if I am acting mostly out of fear also reduces feeling regretful for me. I usually feel regret about situations where I acted out of fear. If I reduce the incidents where that happens, then I have fewer feelings of regret in life which is a very good thing as far as I am concerned. Addressing and acknowledging my fears is one reason why I'm not someone who dwells or obsesses much.