Overcoming my fears

Back in April, I posted some content titled, “What are you afraid of?“. My purpose there was to unpack the idea that, deep down, everyone has something that brings them fear. For many, those fears are based in experiences or at least in stories that they have heard from others that trigger the fear. Some people will spend their entire lives dwelling in fears that have no basis whatsoever. Regardless, one goal that we all should have in common is finding ways to overcome these fears.

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. In previous writings, I detailed my fear of swimming in water where I was not able to see my feet. What is swimming below me? Is it going to bite me? Am I only moments away from being in pain? From what I have read, this is actually a fairly common fear.

I remember swimming in a pond just outside of Flora, IL once. We had been swimming for an hour or more with no issues when I put my foot down and I felt something move under me. After that, I was done swimming. Now that I think about it, that was probably the genesis of this fear for me. I don’t remember ever struggling with this prior to that day but it has been a real problem for me since.

However, recently, I took a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my family and spent four days on the beach. The ocean waters aren’t completely murky and dark. Yet, there is a point where you can no longer see clearly what is beneath you. As I made my way out into the water, that anxiety started to creep back up on me. As you’re reading now, this probably all seems very silly. You might even be thinking to yourself, “Stop being such a big baby.” I think it’s a little silly myself but it is what it is.

I spent four days in the ocean and only felt that anxiety once. Am I cured? Who knows? Probably not. The next time I am given the chance to go swim in a river or pond, I will most likely pass. I can use the excuse that it’s just kind of gross. It seems like this fear of mine is something that will probably present itself less and less as I get older since I don’t really swim much anymore anyways (aside from our campus pool anyways).

But, that brings me to an interesting thought.

Which is better? To let our fears lie dormant hoping that the situations that cause them will just go away? Or to face them until they are no longer fears? This article over at Personal Excellence gives us four reasons that we should engage our fears until they are no more. I encourage you to click on the link and read their article but I am listing the four reasons below.

  1. Fear Limits Your Full Potential

  2. You Can Never Fully Run Away From Fear

  3. Fear Is A Waste of Your Energy

  4. Fear Is All In Your Mind

How true is this? I have been avoiding lakes, ponds and rivers for the past 25 years because of my fear. Okay, once again, maybe a silly example but how does this list apply to you?

How much have you limited yourself because you were afraid? Maybe you’ve been running from something and you are simply getting tired. You’re out of energy. Something that your mind has manifest is now tearing you down.

It has to go….


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