We are all afraid of something; some have fear of darkness, height, rejection, public speaking and the list are endless. Have you ever realized that when we were a child, we never thought about the consequences to our actions? That suggest that we did not know what fear was – we were not fearful of anything. If you look at a child, he is not afraid of jumping from anywhere, touching the hot plate, blowing the candles on his birthday and wishing for the stars or for that matter, taking a cloth and using it as a cape to be the super-power who is ready to conquer the world.
So where and how did we develop all these fears? We all come to this life with a positive view about the world. We were excited and imaginative, and we saw the entire universe as our playground. Then somewhere between college and middle-age, many of the us seem to lose that optimism for life. Possibly this stems from telling ourselves that we have to “grow up” and become more realistic. On the other hand, perhaps it’s caused by those doubts that creep into our heads, making us wonder if we are just not good enough to ever be that superhero. Or could it simply be the result of running ourselves ragged trying to meet the demands of those around us. Whatever the reason, we began creating barriers and limitations for ourselves that caused us to either try, fail, and give up; or even more prevalent, caused us to fail to try at all.
A great read about this topic is a book by Susan Jeffers in my early 20s about overcoming fear called “Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway.” The book helps explain that having fears isn’t something to be ashamed of, as everyone has fears. Rather, the book suggests that when we feel afraid, we should think through the possible outcome which is causing our greatest fear and then realize that even if that outcomes were to happen, we would find a way to work through it. Sure, having to work through a negative outcome may not be easy or fun, but we will, in fact, find a way to move beyond it. By going through the exercise of dealing in our minds with the worst-case scenario, it allows us to shift our thinking mentally, from “I can’t handle it” to “I will get through it.” This allows ourselves to move forward in spite of our fears.
I have a fear of water, as in swimming in the ocean or just dive into the deep water. It stems from an incident that happened at the Jumeriah beach in Dubai almost 16 years ago where I was saved by my husband from drowning. That time I did not know much swimming. Although, I can swim far better than that time, the fear that got imprinted on my brain still lingers whenever I am near ocean or deep water. This weekend I decided to get rid of that fear. I cannot say that I have fully conquered it, but I am better than when I started. I was at the beach this past weekend at the Pacific Ocean. The waves were really choppy and hug. The tides were huge and the water was reaching the shores so much that they were covering the whole sand part. I had made up my mind and was not about to let my fear keep me away from enjoying the ocean. What I did was, I faced the ocean and spoke to it and kept saying inside my head – “come hit me, how hard can you hit.” I could just see that I was not afraid of the water and could let myself submerge without fear. I did not realize but my husband noticed that for the first time, I was enjoying in the Pacific Ocean like a child. We all have it in our mind – conquer it, do not let it get to you.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it” –Victor Hugo
C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” It doesn’t matter what stage you are in your life right now. It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are. At any point in time, you can decide to change your life, to go after the things you really want. Would it be taking a risk? May be. Anytime we take a step into the unknown we are taking a risk. That’s why it’s called the unknown. So what if you don’t like the unknown once you get there? Then you will find a way to change it or to move past it. You will. And what if the unknown turns out to be more amazing than you could have ever imagined it to be? Well, there is only one way to find out, isn’t there.
So dig deep you guys – face the fears and do it any ways!!!!