Throughout our lives we are faced with things that we fear, that frighten us or that simply present the unknown. This can cause us stress, anxiety or, at worst, create phobias. Simply put, fears can impact the quality of how we live our lives.
Over the years I have been fearful of things like the dark, the boogie man, heights and even spiders and snakes can send a shiver down my spine. I have been afraid of many things and continue to be challenged on a daily basis yet most of the time I always find a way to turn fear into curiosity and face my fear with courage, confidence and creativity. Eventually I become eternally grateful for the lesson it brings and the daily reminder to trust in life and love.
One of my biggest fears that I have had to face recently, as strange as it might be, is my emotion. I am a very kinaesthetic and sensitive person, so I feel everything and experience a range of emotions every day, to which I can choose to react or respond. Past experience would indicate I react more often than not, creating negative outcomes and a continuous cycle of blame and regret. I have tried to suppress my emotions, run from them and fight with them at times, but all to no avail. In fact it’s only made it worse.
My epiphany came when I recently took to the water to start boogie boarding and learn Stand-Up Paddle boarding. Firstly there is just something peaceful about the beach and the sheer size of the ocean reminds me of the bigger picture. The irony of it all, of course, is that the element of water actually represents the emotion of life.
Stepping out into the ocean to catch waves with my boogie board, I remember thinking to myself, if I swim out deeper; I can catch the bigger waves and have a better ride. Only to be hit the next moment with thinking about the possibility of sharks and the strength of the tide. ‘I’m just not sure if I’m safe’, I would say to myself. What’s the worst that could happen I thought? What’s the best that could happen if I conquer this fear?
Then the following week, I was in the ocean one morning as I was learning to Stand-Up Paddle board; unsure of my balance and fearful to fall in, I would tense up and start thinking about those sharks again. I kept hearing my instructor say, “relax, be one with the board and feel the water as it ebbs and flows. The more you relax, the less likely you will fall in and the more enjoyable the ride will be”.
Seeing the synchronicity of my experience in the water to my fear about emotions, I started to realise that I needed to relax and accept my emotion. Feel it and face it with curiosity rather than judgement, and explore it and master it in order to conquer my fear. Why am I feeling this? What can I do about it? How can I use this to make my life better?
Slowly but surely, I’m starting to master my emotions. I realise it’s what drives me to connect back into myself when I’m preoccupied with the outside world or too busy to stop and take a breath; it’s what teaches me to care about others and be compassionate, it’s what motivates me to want to make a difference to the world we live in so our children and our children’s children can live an even better life than us.
So my epiphany was that my fears actually teach me how to live.
So why are we fearful?
Past experiences can teach us old habits or the unknown can make us feel out of control or out of our comfort zone.
What can we do to conquer our fear?
ACCEPT IT: Rather than supress it, run from it or fight with it, accept the fear for what it is, feel it and face it.
EXPLORE IT: Discover the REALITY that lies behind it, underneath it, what drives it or what the fear is there to remind you of.
MASTER IT: Make it work for you to push you past your comfort zone, to learn something new or to even master your dreams and aspirations. What’s the worst that could happen? What’s the best that could happen if you conquer it or let it go?
So what fear do you have that, once conquered, could change your life for the better?
Courtney ‘Co-Creator’ Wilson
m: +61 (0)417 107 888| e: firstname.lastname@example.org