Sunday, 13 May 2012

Fear Factor

Facing your fears can almost be a baptismal experience. Each week, I try to do something that I'm scared of doing, from small things to larger things. I might do the same thing more than once, if I'm still scared of it.

Last week, I went rock climbing for the first time. I'm the type of person who will never go too near the edge of anything, who will never stand on a high platform or rock to get a closer look, unless there's something secure to clutch onto there. Walking off of a cliff backwards, as I did for the rappel, is normally not my idea of a picnic. Yet, rope in hand, I slowly scooted backward off of a 50-foot rock formation. Subsequently, I found myself digging deep within to fight the nerves that told me that my climbing legs were not strong enough, that my body, that I, was not meant to climb 30, 40 feet. Other people did that. Other, braver people did that. I couldn't possibly. But, I did.

Had I not had a patient, yet perfectly "asshole"-ish instructor in my friend, Travis, I would not have know what I was capable of doing. I would have given in to my own whimpering at 15 feet and called it a day. Travis did not let me give up on myself. And, you know what? I did it, and came out with my "Confidence Meter" moved up a notch.

Every time you do something that you don't believe that you're capable of doing, you build up that confidence meter. Thinking or saying "I can't," doesn't help with anything. You need to acknowledge your fears and push past them, even if it's a little at a time. This doesn't mean you have to be a daredevil, but look at the things you don't do or haven't done with your time. It could be joining a club, going on a 3-day juice fast, trying a new form of exercise or a starting a blog. Why don't you do that thing? Is it because you are afraid of some aspect of it?

Fear is not an excuse not to do something. Plain ol' fear can often trump common sense. Even when you're not in severe physical danger, fear can stop you from doing something you might otherwise enjoy. Your brain will come up with every excuse in the book to get out of doing something you fear.

This week, I told myself that I was going to ride my bike to meet a friend for coffee. As a newbie biker, L.A. streets terrify me. As time to leave drew near, I started thinking things to myself, like, "Maybe you should just drive. It'll be faster. Besides, you don't want to be all sweaty when you get there."

"NO!" I told myself. "Stoppit! Backing out of this is not an option."

My chain came off just as I rode out of my driveway and I had trouble fixing it. I wanted to give up, turn around, grab the car.

"No!" I said to myself. "You made a promise to yourself and you're going to do this."

I finally got the chain to right itself and quit clattering, and I was on my merry way again. Yes, I may have looked silly to a family walking by as I tried to start my bike up facing a huge hill, but, I made it there. And I made it home again. I felt free, happy and my Confidence Meter jumped up again.

Part of being good to yourself is helping yourself to grow. Challenges are great fertilizer. And, I promise, they don't stink :)

1 comment:

Peg said...

I am so proud of you! I have always wanted to rock climb, but have been scared to death. Looks like you have a great time!