Facing Fear & Winning

Facing Fears

Fear. As a psychological response it was designed to protect us. But so often it just acts as a barrier to adventure, joy and success. Recently my son overcame his fear of the ocean. Watching him inspired me to explore my own fears and how to put them aside. In a month dedicated to positivity and new beginnings, I want to be fearless.

I searched around in a slight panic. Where was his head? Where was he? The white water crashed against my legs and obscured my view. The now-freed body board bumped against my knee. A moment later, he came up laughing, eyes shining. That was fun Mum! he said, oblivious to my thumping heart. The dumping waves he had once been so scared of had turned and become his playground. He grabbed his body board strap and wrapped it back around his wrist, heading back to catch another wave. He had been scared of the ocean for such a long time. He would fret if anyone swum out beyond the breakers, demanding that his loved ones stay on-shore. My husband and I had almost given up encouraging him into the sea. Then he got a  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles body board for his birthday and everything changed. He caught a wave and realised that the sea could be fun. The little boy that would run from the waves was now throwing himself into them.

Fears are funny things. They tend to grow out of all proportion until we face them. When we take action, they dissolve into nothing and adventures begin. I watched my son, freed of his fear of the ocean, and wondered how that happened. How did he let go of such tightly held terror? He had tried body boarding before, albeit on an adult board. He hadn’t enjoy it. But this body board, sporting his heroes and exactly the right size, wielded the right kind of magic. Maybe it was age. Maybe it was the right kind of waves. Maybe he made a conscious decision to change his mind-set. Maybe the fears were silent long enough for the promise of joy to take over. Whatever happened, he traded paralysis for exuberance, anxiety for experience.

I am fearful of so many things. Some of those fear are founded in experience. I am protective of my boys, knowing how easily life can change. Some of those fears are about very large things. What the world will look like in the future. But fear does nothing to change the outcome. And then most of my fears, the ones that are truly holding me back, feel silly. Fear of not being liked. Fear of standing out. Fear of not standing out. Fear of being found a fraud. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of failing. How do I silence those fears? How do I find the courage my son did and open the doors to new experiences and adventure?

There are plenty of tools.  There is thinking about what would occur if the fear was realised and working back from there. As someone who has lost a son, that method is not for me. The wonderful Julie Cross suggests creating a “courage bank”. Do the things that scare you – jump out of a plane, swim with sharks, speak in public, dance, go on stage, ride a roller-coaster – and when you come against fear again, think back to the fears already vanquished and cash in your courage. Others encourage “feel the fear and do it anyway.”  To acknowledge that the fear exists and reframe it as an opportunity.

I don’t think you can simply dismiss fear. I think you have to work through it, figure out why it exists. Figure out what can defeat it. I know that self-belief will go a long way to counter-acting my particular fears. To that end, I am writing myself affirmations. It might be a bit “woo-woo” but the voice that speaks the doubt is insistent and I need another voice to answer it.

This year, I am going to work hard to get over the fears that are holding me back.

I want to watch my fears dissolve in action and let doubt give way to joy and adventure.

I want to ride the waves.

What fears are you keen to overcome this year?

17 thoughts on “Facing Fear & Winning

  1. Planet Pav says:

    Isn’t it funny how the Universe sends you exactly what you need, when you need it! This post is perfect for my start to the new year.

    I too have started working on exploring my fears both big and small. In the last couple of months I have discovered I have so much more courage than I ever thought possible which has triggered some major reflections on fear. It is scary to look at fear but how empowering when we move through it 🙂

    • Robyna says:

      Oh I am so glad it made sense to you! We can achieve so much when we face our fears can’t we? I know sometimes I have to be pushed of that ledge but after a while the shove makes sense.

  2. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me says:

    It’s so great seeing your child overcome a fear. My middle son used to be mortified of the ocean also and now he’s its biggest fan! I agree that it’s wrong to just dismiss fears, we need to embrace, face and try and tackle them. I’m a shocking sleeper, always have been, my fear is not being able to sleep at night, spending hours thinking isn’t much fun!

    • Robyna says:

      No it isn’t – I can totally relate to that one – particularly when late night thinking leads to other fears growing out of all proportion. Here’s to putting minds and fears to rest!

  3. Emily@squiggleandswirl says:

    Isn’t it great how our children can be our teachers sometimes too. I have certainly found that it goes both ways, sometimes I show them things and sometimes they show me things. This is a great topic and I really like what you have written, Fears are sometimes useful but often do hold us (me) back or keep us (me) awake at night. I’ve been taking steps to be braver, about saying what’s on my mind, commenting on blogs, starting a blog and showing my creative endeavours. I don’t know if the fears go, but they can have a lesser impact. Go you, it takes courage to talk about this and take action too. Emily

    • Robyna says:

      Thank you for saying that – I don’t feel very brave most of the time! But I do think that our children our biggest teachers. Always. Thanks for popping by lovely!

    • Robyna says:

      Thank you for saying that – I don’t feel very brave most of the time! But I do think that our children our biggest teachers. Always. Thanks for popping by lovely!

  4. Catherine says:

    What a beautiful post! I completely understand, I want to hold my little ones close but know I need to let them out a little. And I love the idea of a courage bank!
    I’m doing the One Little Word workshop this year and my word is Brave. I really want to be brave, to make and take opportunities that present themselves through the year. Thanks for sharing

    • Robyna says:

      I love that as a word for the year. Hopefully we can both be brave and seize those opportunities as they come, rather than running scared from them. Thank you so much for popping by – the One Little Word workshop sounds awesome.

    • Robyna says:

      Oh we are so on the same page Christine! Maybe we should try to help each other. When I told my friend I was afraid of failing she told me – no, you are afraid of what failing will do to your emotional state and you are afraid of the unknown. She’s a bit wise that friend of mine.

  5. Sonia Life Love Hiccups says:

    I totally get this. i too was inspired by my son overcoming his fear of the ocean and learning to surf to weeks ago. He now has something that he is so passionate about and a new found confidence to face his fears. He inspired me to also say stuff you to the fears because I know the reward for doing so will be SO worth it. xx

  6. Hayley Chetwynd says:

    I think the only feeling that is better than overcoming one of your own fears is watching your own child take that first step into their own puddle of fear…& seeing the joy, pride & confidence on their face as they overcome that fear.

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