“Fear has always seemed to me to be the worst stumbling block which anyone has to face. It is the great crippler. Looking back, it strikes me that my childhood and my early youth were one long battle against fear. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” These words, written by Eleanor Roosevelt are such good advice. We all have fears and anxiety in one form or another. We all struggle to face them. I have had some new challenges in my life recently and I keep coming back to these words written by Ms. Roosevelt.
She is right on the mark when she says; “you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” When I face a fear, no matter how small or insignificant it might be, and I overcome it, I really do feel like I accomplished a great feat. I have taken on the world and won, so don’t anybody mess with me!
One time when my family was at a water park my children helped me work through a fear I had about going down a very high and very long water-slide. I have no idea why I had such an intense fear of this slide. My first action was to tell my children that it was not safe and they could not go down it. I was projecting my fear, not healthy for me and not fair to my children. I finally let them go on the slide and I saw the joy that they received from going down the slide. If I am honest the slide was not really that high or very long. In my mind (a great place to visit, but you probably wouldn’t want to live there) it was huge, menacing and a peril to limb and life.
My children kept encouraging me to go down the water-slide. For some unknown reason it became a mission of theirs. They would walk up all of the stairs to get to the entrance to the slide, then walk down with me when fear told me I could not do it. Then they would walk back up with me again and down again. Needless to say I wasted a lot of time trying to ride that slide that day. In the end, I went down the slide. I loved going down the slide. I owned taking trips down that slide! I must have gone down it four or five times, because that slide did not get the best of me! I am so grateful to my children for taking the time and energy it took to help me. I learned so much from them that day.
Eleanor Roosevelt also wrote; “Learning and living. But they are really the same thing, aren’t they? There is no experience from which you can’t learn something. When you stop learning you stop living in any vital and meaningful sense. And the purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” I love her writing, her honesty and directness. Now that I have risen above the dreaded water-slide fear I am on my way to living life to its fullest.
I learned a lot from this experience. I learned that my children have lessons to teach me. I found joy in seeing them use patience and perseverance. I learned to keep on trying, don’t give up. Most essential lesson for me was, I learned water-slides are an enjoyable rush, not to be missed.
What fears have you conquered?