Throughout the course of our lives, we’re consistently taught to “face our fears” in order to beat them and achieve our goals, essentially solidifying the belief that fear is something bad and wrong about us. Fear may be unpleasant to experience, but interpreting it as something bad or wrong puts us at war with ourselves.

Accepting and even loving our fears can help us understand ourselves better so we can work with our feelings rather than against them. Every human being has felt fear in their lives — it’s normal and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

While fear certainly makes things more inconvenient, it serves a valuable purpose. When you start looking at your own fears as something that can actually serve you, you open yourself up to being able to start loving your fears so much so that they eventually dissolve completely.

If you’ve faced your fears in the past, but only found yourself feeling fearful all over again later on, consider thinking about your fears from the following perspectives. This is how you transform your fears into love and break the cycle of facing them without necessarily beating them.

1. Fear lets you know something is important to you.

The very fact that you feel fear represents a deep truth about yourself. Whatever you’re afraid of, there’s something deeply meaningful about it to you. Try exploring these feelings in your meditation practice to pinpoint the exact components of your fear that you want to accomplish or be successful at doing. Just by becoming aware of these meaningful components, you’re moving further in the direction of love.

2. Fear always signifies the potential for growth.

Growth is always on the other side of fear. And the greater you fear, the greater potential for growth. So start thinking more about how much you could grow if fear were not standing in the way. Use your imagination. Fill in all the details. And remain aware of negative self-talk trying to pull you away from imagining the endless possibilities of your personal growth.

3. Fear can encourage us to practice mindfulness.

Those days where your mind is running wild with thought, when you’ve been emotionally provoked, or when you’re just having a bad day in general are they days when you need meditation the most. Mindfulness meditation can help you observe your thoughts and emotions created by fear from a conscious distance so you can find a little peace in knowing that your fear is not necessarily real.

4. Fear is an opportunity for healing.

The fears we experience as adults are often linked to emotionally traumatic experiences from childhood. You may not remember or be aware of a specific event that was emotionally traumatic in childhood, but your subconscious does. Using mindfulness meditation to look inward, we can accept our fears and feel into them in a way that releases suppressed emotions and fosters healing.

5. Fear can trigger you to start listening to your intuition.

Most of our fears are about inadequacy and rejection these days rather than being killed and eaten by a predator. Since the majority of our fears today don’t really present any real danger to us and are often exasperated by overthinking and overanalyzing, you can turn to your intuition, which never lies, to tell you the truth. Fear may keep you safe and in your comfort zone, but your intuition knows what you really need to do.

Why hate your fears when you know you can learn to love them this way? Focus on this and you’ll be surprised to find that someday, your fears will have dissolved into pure love.