"Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will." - W. Clement Stone
"He who has overcome his fears will truly be free." - Aristotle
Why is it so important for us to overcome our fears? What’s wrong with being comfortable and just doing the things that make us feel safe?
I have asked those questions to myself many times; especially during those situations when the Universe has forced me to deal with my fears or when I have voluntarily chosen to go bravely forward, despite my fears.
I believe that if we don’t face our fears head on and ultimately conquer them, then we are limiting ourselves to the endless potential and possibility that is in front of us. Without challenging our bodies, minds, and souls, we remain stagnant in our growth process, and we lose momentum and courage to continue onward when we are faced with life’s obstacles. We lose the confidence and capability to defeat the demons that live in our mind or in our world; and 99% of the time, those fears in our mind are illusions that suppress our inner strength.
Oftentimes, we have a fear of abandonment or loneliness, intimacy or love, rejection or failure, or we just fear change. Anytime we combat a fear, we gain a piece of freedom from the dreaded warden that holds us prisoner. Fear can be debilitating, and it can rule our lives, if we let it. But it can also be a motivating factor to push you forward, and a little fear can even be healthy.
I have never feared change that much, but I’ve definitely feared the above at some point in my life, like most people. Some of those fears have been small and some big. Some have been easy to overcome and others very difficult.
For me, putting myself in a situation where my physical self might be at risk is fearful. For example, sky diving or cliff jumping or any adventurous activity that is high up. I have an unfounded fear of heights that developed later in life (no fear of flying), but being really high up scares me! I think it’s the fear of falling off a ledge or the top of a cliff. I also have this unfounded fear of snakes which I’m not in any mood to overcome at the moment! Lol.
So, I’m not here to tell you to do crazy things that freak you out. And I don’t think you have to be a daredevil or risk your life to conquer fears, but I do think releasing fears is about taking action on what scares you, and what might ultimately be holding you back from living your best life.
I started doing things some years ago to overcome this fear of heights by going on the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago when the seats had no enclosures, walking on the glass Ledge on Chicago’s Sky deck at Willis Tower (Sears Tower to me), and most recently in Sedona, Arizona, hiking up to the top of a canyon arch, and taking a hot air balloon ride.
I know these things may not be scary to many people, but we all have something we need to overcome to get us to the other side. We all need to find that uncomfortable situation that is holding us back from living freely.
Conquering my fears has also been about trust and faith. Trust and faith in myself, and trust and faith in a higher power.
When I was hiking to the top of Fay Canyon Arch in Sedona, I met a couple of girls along the way, and afterwards, we went down the canyon the wrong way making it too unsafe, so we had to go back up the arch to find our original route. It’s hard to explain, but there was a point where I was in a precarious situation on the side of the canyon where there was just loose gravel and only a couple of rocks I could grab onto to climb up. I had my right foot on a rock and one hand above me on a rock, but there was no place to put my left foot to climb upward. In that moment, I was in fear because I thought I’m going to be stuck here! How was I going to get down or more importantly go up? And we were very high up on the canyon.
I was fortunate that one of the girls was able to guide my steps forward, but in the moment, I had to just trust that I wouldn’t slip and fall, and that I would be able to get my left foot up to this far reaching rock and pull myself upwards, which eventually happened, but I don’t really know how!
When I was safely on the ground, I was so exhilarated and excited that I did that hike and did something adventurous! I was so proud of myself for climbing to the top of this arch that was off the regular path, and conquering my fear of heights, again.
When we challenge ourselves to venture out of our comfort zones, we feel strong. We feel confident. We feel empowered. And we no longer think that things are impossible. With this positive mindset, we are fit to handle the trials and tribulations that come our way in other areas of our life.
However, if we allow the ego mind to rule the intuitive heart, we will never live the life we are destined to live because usually what’s on the other side of fear is what our heart truly wants- freedom in some shape or form.
We all hold the key to unlock ourselves from the mental prison within our minds and set ourselves free. Free to be yourself. Free to pursue what your heart desires.
And without this precious freedom, we are just birds in a gilded cage.