This is what I saw when I walked into the climbing gym yesterday…a little kid scaling the wall like falling just wasn’t an option for her. I was thoroughly impressed. Then, it occurred to me that maybe fear of objectively safe things is something we learn in adulthood. Lucky us.
But wait, it’s not all bad news. One of the major benefits of being an adult is the power of choice. Why not apply that to your relationship with fear? You can choose to run away from your fear or choose to stare at it stunned…but what if you choose to become friends with your fear? Friends (ideally) accept you for what you are; they don’t try to change you. They guide you toward paths that allow you to grow and they’re loyal through it all.
At one point, the job I used to have was my dream job so leaving it was definitely scary. So scary in fact that I had to take a macro-perspective of the fear itself to get a handle on it all. That’s when I realized that I could decide that my fear wasn’t going to stop me from doing the things my heart wanted to do. Instead, I chose to use that fear as a guide. I let the presence of fear be an indicator that I was facing the potential for some important personal growth.
That shift in perspective is what makes me appreciate my fear, tuck it in my pocket and take it along with me on whatever proverbial mountain I happen to be climbing. And like any trusted friend, fear is always there for me. Of course after scaling one mountain, it takes a bigger one to bring on the fear next time. And thank god for that because otherwise, I wouldn’t know if I was evolving or not.
If you’re not convinced that you and fear can buddy up, try this mantra that I learned from Swamiji, a man who I visited at his wall-less house in a Balinese rice paddy (seriously).
“Oh fear, I’m not afraid of you. Take my hand, let’s go.”