Seize Fear Then Watch The Best Parts of You Come to Life7 min read
When our fears extend beyond its life cycle, we find ourselves in a loop that annihilates growth. It’s like witnessing the corrosion of acid on a piece of metal. However, when you learn to seize fear you can then watch the best parts of you come to life.
Although learning to fear a potentially dangerous situation is important, it is equally important to gain the skills to modify this fear when new information is available, or use this fear to motivate adaptive actions that diminish the potential threat. The ability to change and control our emotional responses is critical so that we can healthily function and reach our goals.
When we make fear based decisions, it interrupts our ability to strengthen our resiliency. Life is an obstacle course filled with highs and lows.
Each time we move through the trauma that we’ve endured we add one layer of strength. Each time that we move pass our fears, we add another layer of strength.
However, each moment that we avoid what scares us the most, we become trapped in our own minds and bodies. It’s tough to believe that we decide, even when our emotions are weighing down heavily on us, we still decide.
There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for. Paulo Coelho
Seize Fear Then Watch The Best Parts of You Come to Life
When I was in graduate school, there was an opportunity to apply for a leadership certificate in addition to my social work degree. Fear reared its ugly head reminding me of my severely low levels of confidence. I created a lot of non-based fears in my head.
After a few months had passed, I met several individuals who were actually enrolled in the course. They told me, “It actually wasn’t a big deal, in fact, the classes have been okay. The professors just give a lot of extra work.” That day, I decided to do my best by controlling my fears and not allowing it to control me. In essence, when you seize fear you can then watch the best parts of you come to life.
It frustrated me that I waited such a long time to conquer the fear of riding a motorbike in Koh Phangnan. I missed out on exploring the island because of fear.
There were only four days left with the motorbike. Days of exploration were lost. Fear does this. It maintains its grip and prevents you from living your life fully.
I will admit while riding towards Chaloklum the fear was very much present. I had someone on the backseat that day, and as we made our way down the steep unpaved dirt road, the tire skidded.
It skidded the way a tire spins its wheels in the dead of winter on an icy road in Massachusetts. There were light bruises on my body. Meanwhile, the bike had dents and scratches.
In those four days with the motorbike, I fell twice, damaged the bike, and rode with fear sitting on my lap. However, within that time, I conquered my fears and witnessed the beauty that the island had to offer.
Next, we visited Nakhon Si Thammarat. It’s an area that waterfalls and temples. My friend is more of an adventurer than I am.
She challenged me to climb the rocks, and again fear gripped me. I sat on the sidelines, watching her fearlessly climb the rocks with other adventurers.
The thing about fear is that it cripples your problem-solving skills. For the life of me, I could not imagine how to climb those massive rocks. Will I be safe, what if I slip and fall etc? Terrible thoughts were circling my mind.
Several people passed me by while sitting on the sidelines. That’s when I decided to push beyond fear to climb the rocks.
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. Buddha
My next bout with fear is when we decided to visit the Than Sadet Waterfall National Park. This is the tallest waterfall on Koh Phangnan. When we arrived at the waterfall, a Thai woman greeted us.
She was roasting peanuts by hand on top of bright red flames. She told us because of the dry season, there was no waterfall. I was ready to leave. My heart had taken enough thrills for the day.
I looked up at the steepest hill that I have ever seen before in my life. I resisted and envisioned how easy it looked to slip off and tumble-down the mountain like an accelerated tumbleweed. It was a dusty orange dirt path and zero traction.
As the result of the steep mountain the climb both up and down, required us to remain in a sitting position the majority of the time, crawling our way through the paths.
The view of the island was incredible. The sky opened up, we saw several other mountains, the ocean and the rest of the island.
Exhilarated by the view, we climbed higher, which led us to meet the mountain man who was actively growing a large patch of marijuana. He lived with his brother in a small home that looked like he built it himself. While we continued to climb, he asked us to follow him so that we can see better viewpoints. As a result of this experience, I’ve added hiking as my new favorite activity. This is what happens when you seize your fears, then watch the best parts of you come to life.
*photocred above by @syvliasees
The Loy Krathong festival happens everywhere in Thailand on November 14th. It’s a mass release of lanterns on the rivers of Thailand.
You recite a silent prayer and apologize to the Earth then give thanks. You then recite what you envision for the future.
Afterward, you light the candles, and you release the lanterns into the ocean.
We visited many street vendors that night. I don’t know what got a hold of me, but we passed a vendor that had a table filled with fried crickets and worms.
My friends explained the texture and the taste to me. I said to myself, “Why not?” I quickly grabbed one and didn’t think twice about then swiftly threw it in my mouth.
The flavor is salty with a crunch. I felt all of the little legs in my mouth and in between my teeth. My friends offered me worms, although they are silk worms and not worms from the trash I said no thank you!
Here’s a video of me eating a cricket.
Strongly associated with resilience is the ability to monitor and assess negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones, or a cognitive reset.
Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning and the founder of logotherapy, attributed his mental endurance and survival of concentration camps mainly to “meaning finding,” the belief that the striving to find meaning in one’s life is the most important, powerful motivating and driving force to continue living.
Resilience to extreme stress allows us to circumvent the overgeneralizing of extreme fear. Once we practice doing the scary things, we can literally alter our thoughts and our responses. Tim Ferriss has an incredible TED Talk on fear and shares his action steps in how he moves through fear. He calls it Fear Setting. It’s unbelievable.
Lessons I’ve learned:
- Get in front of fear. Take back control. Fear, when overgeneralized subtracts from our lives instead of adding to it.
- Fear is necessary. However, we must know the difference between what is real and what is irrationally created in our minds.
- When we move pass fear, we will experience the magic.
- We all share fear. The goal is to become familiar with it so we may understand it.
- Bring life to fear through talking about it. Then create small action steps to conquer it.
- Start to tackle fear NOW. Now is what’s in front of us. Start small and build up.