tryst with fear…

Unknown, new and challenging situations often come along with a strange feeling in our guts. Doubts, questions like “Do I really want that?” arise and immediately our brain starts to find excuses and justifications to protect us. And with every excuse we feed our reluctance and convince ourselves to avoid facing our fear.

A simple example:
Last week I was at the danube with friends to enjoy the last warm summer days and to practice flips, twists and all kinds of tricks.

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A friend who was with us for the first time was scared of heights and she didn’t want to jump. A part of her wanted to do it, but every time she came closer to the edge she said “No, I don’t want to jump into the water anyway. It’s too cold.” or “Why would I want to jump in there? What does that do for me?” And so on. Her excuses were truly justified, nevertheless a part of her did want to try it out.
And we also didn’t let her pussyfooting around any longer.

So what we did, instead of pushing her, we encouraged her.
What she did, instead of taking the big step, was, to break it down a bit.
So she sat down at the edge of the bridge, pushed herself up and let herself fall into the water.
Laughing she came back to the surface saying “That wasn’t bad at all!”
And step by step she found more courage until in the end she took a run and jumped.
She was proud and happy that she had overcome her fear, and so were we.

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Some of you might think “well, jumping off a bridge is easy!”
But this is not about jumping off a bridge, it is about facing a fear that seems insurmountable at first.
It is about all the excuses our mind starts to make and about us – if we believe what we think or if we do what we long for.

We all have fears and we all can overcome them.
It’s easier if we have people around us who encourage and support us and who believe in us.
Our imagination magnifies the fear, it’s always worse in our imagination than it is in reality.
If we recognize our excuses simply as what they are and not believe them to be true, it is easier to face our fears.
We grow and expand our comfort zone when we are willing to overcome them – and by expanding our comfort zone we gain confidence.

I am not talking about risks that threaten our health or our life, but about every day challenges, like uncomfortable conversations that we are putting off, to commit to something or someone, to follow our heart… or simply to jump into the water.
Whatever it is that challenges you right now: Just do it!