One of the greatest challenges I find in my life is having the courage to face my fears. I suppose this is true for all of us, however, I feel I am in the minority when I say that I am willing to recognize and reckon with my fears.
As a person who comes from a background of family dysfunction, sexual abuse and family violence I can honestly tell you that fear has been a major force in my life from as early as I can remember.
There is never a day, in fact likely not a moment that I cannot fear the trembling of fear in my body, however, one of the great victories I have achieved in my life is learning how, for the most part, to deal with my fears. This is not to say that I have eliminated fear from my life only that I have learned to work with my fears.
My father was a sexual predator. If a person had a vagina, he was interested and figuring out how to make his move to score. He didn’t care how old the girls were, the only qualification that had to have was ownership of a vagina. He was also a very violent man. One of my first memories in this life was of my father beating the crap out of my older brother. Consequently, I learned to “behave” as a child.
When I became old enough to be interested in girls, I was terrified of trying to get close enough to a girl to engage with her in any manner. I remember one incident when I was about 20 years old.
I was in a local book shop in the major city near the little town I lived in in my later teens. While I was wandering through the store, I happened to run into a girl that I went to high school with. We got chatting and I discovered that she had an apartment only a couple of blocks from where I was living. So she invited me to come over for a visit.
Because I had developed very little social skills (especially around girls) and because of my perception of how my father treated the fairer sex my fears were absolutely rampant. My mind was going a mile a minute thinking about what we might do once I arrived in her apartment and how I didn’t know how to act and on and on. (having a vivid imagination sometimes does not help).
It took at least four times of going up to the door of the house she lived in before I could actually knock on the door. Each time I stepped on to the porch my “Inner monster” would roar its ugly head and I would run away. Finally, on the last try, I marched up to the door without letting myself back down and knocked. She answered the door almost immediately.
The funny thing was that once she answered the door I settled down and had a wonderful visit with her. I needn’t worry about all the illusions my head had conjured up at all. She wasn’t after my body and didn’t expect me to perform any miracles. We just had a great chat about our lives and that was that.
Unfortunately, in the conversation she told me that she was actually moving away in the next week so I never saw her again.
Another situation I am really proud of occurred when my lady and I ventured on a trip to Montego Bay Jamaica. We were sitting on the beach at the resort watching the scenery when a boat came zipping by pulling a person flying in a kite hundreds of feet in the air. It looked so exciting!
My fears immediately kicked in. I had heard how people had had very serious accidents being so reckless. But it looked so exciting!
Finally, I got up and walked over to the life guard and asked him how much it cost to parasail. The next morning I screwed up my courage and ran to the boat when it docked. I handed the guy the money and told him to get me up there right now before I get a chance to chicken out.
I had the time of my life! After a few minutes of discomfort from my fear, I let go and had a blast!
The keys I recognized in my decision making were these:
• Recognize the fear
• Recognize the fear for what it is (just a thought)
• Make a decision to take action to get past the fear
• Take the action, no matter how scared one feels
• Rejoice in the personal victory
Remember fear is not a limitation. Fear is not a reason to not do something.
Fear is a function of your subconscious mind that wants to protect you from danger; however, you have the ability in your mind to manage how you deal with fear.
Loving yourself no matter what is the only requirement