I live for adventure, but my fear of both confined breathing spaces and sharks caused hesitation when I traveled to the Cayman Islands and was offered an opportunity to scuba dive. I signed up impulsively and before I knew it I was standing on a boat in the middle of the ocean, flippers on edge, oxygen flowing through my mouth from a tank, and mask in place. Let me back track for a second and clarify that I didn’t just sign up and smoothly discover how easy it is to overcome a fear and that was that. I had to go through an hour scuba lesson in a swimming pool first. The first time I went underwater and took a few breaths in, I hyperventilated. I completely freaked out and stood up in the pool, breathing extremely hard and seriously on the brink of giving up. Every ounce of me was terrified. The instructor surfaced and with attitude simply said “some people just can’t do it”. I took this as a challenge, partly because I am super competitive and partly because I needed someone to push me.
I took the next 30 seconds to discuss with myself what the worst that could happen was. I was about to be taught how to handle any malfunctions of my equipment so I didn’t have to worry about that. I had more than enough oxygen to last me double the amount of time I was going to be underwater, and even if for some odd reason I ran out, my fellow divers had an extra mouthpiece attached to their tank that I could use. What’s left? I was going to be eaten by a shark? I decided I would take my chances. Scuba diving was incredible, and being a part of another world for an hour was mind-blowing. I would like to add that while I was 60 feet under the sea, I did have my mask kicked off my face by a fellow diver and though I convinced myself I was going to die right then and there, I gracefully put my mask back on the way I was taught and nonchalantly continued to enjoy my surroundings. And no, I wasn’t eaten by a shark.
It was overall a complete success. I didn't and don’t want my fears to hold me back from pursuing matters of my heart, no matter how small or simple.
There are the more rational fears that reside in my core- those of heartbreak, loss, change, solitude, death etc. One of my biggest fears, however, is of fear itself. I am terrified of being scared. I am absolutely petrified of having my life dictated by my fears.
Some fears have developed because of the experiences I have endured. I have had my heartbroken and I have been rejected (not only by people). I have dealt with loss of friends and relationships, I have dealt with deaths and I have dealt with drastic change. However, I feel as though I can’t let my past experiences create a hold on me. Maybe I will have my heartbroken again and I will probably most definitely experience rejection again but I can’t let these fears hold me back from taking the risk. If I don’t take the risk then I am not only avoiding the negative extreme that I fear so greatly but I am also avoiding the positive extreme. How can I experience the thirst quenching, core shaking, heart racing, mind spinning love if I am too scared to allow myself to fall in love? How will I aspire to my dream job, or create incredible, life lasting relationships with people if I am too scared to try or give? I won’t.
Taking risks is called taking risks for a reason. You risk endangering whatever it is you put on the line, be it your dignity, faith, or even your heart. Most of all you risk losing your control.
The fact that you can’t control the outcome causes the hesitation at the idea of taking risks. The uncertainty is dependent on chance. Sometimes you aren’t ready, but most of the time you never will be. You have to decide if the fear of losing the chance to take the risk overrides your fear of not being ready, because sometimes it’s just that- fear of not being ready or prepared or equipped to endure what may happen rather than real, actual unreadiness. You won’t know unless you try, and even then if it turns out the way you feared then at least you know you tried instead of cowardly walking away. Don’t let fear stop you from living life. The most incredible, life-changing, passionate, unmatched experiences offered in this life are achieved through uncertainty, doubt, and risk taking. You have to be willing to offer a little something in order to achieve even more in return.
FDR said in his First Inaugural Address on March 4, 1933- “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance”
Sincerely I sign off…