“Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. It’s having the fear and finding a way through it” – Bear Grylls
So, what are you afraid of on this beautiful Monday? Isn’t fear such an abstract concept, yet so concrete and dehabilitating in its impact? Well, I happen to love today’s quote from British adventurer and explorer Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls, who writes about survival in the wild.
In fact, I was on a sailboat trip the last few days. As a not-so-great swimmer, the sea can be both incredibly beautiful, and extremely frightening. There’s something about sitting on a boat for a few days with a new group of friends, breathing in the sea air and listening to the splash of the waves that makes you really think about how you approach situations in your life. Actually, for a Monday morning, this one is quite a slow and relaxed one, hence the plethora of thoughts, and slightly late post!
So, in the spirit of facing the parts of life that have you the most afraid, here’s today’s short and sweet post!
Surviving Fear in Our Own “Wild”
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that we create our own versions of “wilderness” – that fear is not necessarily real, but a way in which we construct our thoughts. In fact one of my greatest fears is being in a hospital, especially for a surgery, which thankfully I’ve never had to face. Actually, the truth is that the medical world makes me shiver and panic.
When I broke my leg on the kickboxing team in the last few weeks of doing my Masters courses at Oxford, I had absolutely no option except to go to the hospital and face my personal challenge. Trust me, breathing deeply didn’t do much at first. After 8 weeks of hospital visits, it got better, slowly, but surely. Now, for the first time in my life, I can walk into a doctor’s office without shaking like a leaf. While that doesn’t mean I enjoy the experience, or even feel remotely normal trying to, it does mean that facing your personal challenges (big or small as they may be) is worth it.
Most Common Fears
Well, what are the most common fears in the world? According to a Psychology Today article by Dr. Karl Albrecht, being afraid of death/loss of existence, mutilation, a loss of autonomy, separation/rejection or loss of self-integrity are ones we all share. While these can manifest in different ways, I feel that Dr. Albrecht has it right.
Isn’t loneliness one of the most daunting feelings in the world, when it lasts too long? Since my adventure on the boat was both about meeting new people and spending time away from everything, I can tell you that I felt everything from loneliness to bliss. Don’t be afraid to feel what you feel – that’s what I learned this trip. Live outside your comfort zone.
3 Ways To Cope with Fear
1. Breathe – So, I realize that this is my number one challenge! Loyal readers, you may be tired of me mentioning this one! However, when I was on the sailboat this weekend, which was anchored far from the dock, I had to take a dingy boat in pitch black night, in the middle of the sea. It was terrifying, and I can attest to forcing yourself to breathe, slowly, and counting the breaths, slowly. While the first 10 breaths did nothing, the next 10 did. Don’t panic. Breathe.
2. Consider Your Options – Now, it’s really easy to be afraid of the unknown. Actually, I like Teal Swan’s idea that “We don’t fear the unknown. We fear what we think we know about the unknown.” So, get out there and try something new, discover the unknown, and then use #1 (breathing) to get yourself through it.
3. Talk It Out – While the first option is my personal most difficult, this would be my personal best one. Talking to friends helps so much when you are trying to overcome your fears. First, let other people know what scares you – you’ll be surprised how understanding they are. Try to figure out why it’s so daunting. Then, face it. Jump into the water. Ride that dingy boat that feels like it’ll fall into the middle of the Mediterranean. Take a risk, face your fears, and learn from your experience.
So, that’s my short (and somewhat late!) post for this lovely Monday. Since I’m no expert on facing fears, and this is something I’ve only recently had to do, I’d love for you to comment below with your best ways to overcome fear.
Have a lovely and productive Monday!
P.S. Photo fans, the main image for today’s post (and poster!) is one I took one I took in Switzerland in May 2016.
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