Last week I chose a quote on fear. This week I’m doing the same, because I think fear is something all of us struggle with.
Fear is not always a bad thing. Fear can keep us safe, because there are things that it is healthy to be afraid of or decide not to do for fear of what may happen.
For example, I like to stay away from the edge when I’m walking on things that have a long drop down. Years ago I went on a Geography Field Trip to Morocco. I was hiking with some of my classmates on Toubkal. At one point I was on a donkey along an arête, when the donkey tried to overtake a Dutch woman on foot as the path widened slightly. The guide had disappeared for a second and as I tried to warn the woman and somehow stop the donkey that I had no control over (there were no reins like there are on a horse) the donkey pushed passed her and she fell. The next thing I knew I was holding onto her as she was almost hanging off the side of the highest mountain in North Africa yelling for a guide. Had I let go, she likely would have died or been severely injured.
However, I generally have no issue rock climbing. There are ropes and harnesses and I’m generally not afraid of falling – the rope and harness will catch my fall. I won’t lie and say that I enjoy the coming down part, that moment when you lean back to be at a 90 degree angle to the rockface is a trust exercise. There’s a moment of fear that crosses your mind ‘if the rope doesn’t catch me – I could fall and die’ and then somehow you push through because you know the likelihood is low.
I don’t think we should be ashamed of fear.
I do think we need to practise choosing to face fears when we know there is going to be a potential positive outcome if we do. That is what breeds courage….when we triumph over fear.
Every time I get on a plane, I’m having courage over fear. It may not look like it when I’m jumping at every noise made by a fellow passenger fearing they are going to be ill. But I am. Usually when I get on a plane, it’s with the knowledge that at the end of the journey I don’t want to take there’s a destination that is going to be worth facing my fear for.
I find that how I find courage, is knowing that there are people who have my back.
I was afraid to go to Morocco all those years ago. I was quite as afraid of being on planes as I am now, but it was a factor. There was also a 12 hour minibus journey. And I was afraid of people getting sick from the food or water. The difference was that we weren’t going on a coach, and four of my good friends were going too. They knew me, they knew my fears and they had my back. All of those things I was afraid of happened. Someone was sick on one of the planes – but thankfully I was seated at the back with our friend who kept me distracted through the flight and I didn’t know about it until after. One of our teachers got food poisoning during the 12 hour minibus journey. My friends covered my ears, hid my face and hugged me close so I wouldn’t be able to see or hear anything each time our bus had to stop.
I’m sure there are other things people have found helpful to help them gain courage in the face of fear. I’d love to hear how you find courage…maybe we can all find some tips for facing our fears so we can triumph over them.