“If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
― Dale Carnegie
Whether we recognise it or not, each of us live with fear everyday. I don’t think it’s possible to conquer it entirely but I know for sure that we gain so much if we face it and learn from it, and level up our resilience as a result.
It is important to me to gain confidence and pride in myself by doing the things that scare me because I think it serves a greater cause. Not only is hiking one way that helps me to get outside, keep fit and healthy, connect with others, laugh, stress less, and come home with a collection of photography and beautiful memories, to me it’s forever a reminder to live in a way that serves others in some way. I don’t always know how that might be or if it works, but I think spreading a little more joy never hurts.
I talk about fear because once again I was afraid to go on this hike. Plenty of excuses popped into my mind to get me out of it: not fit enough, not fun enough, not fast enough, I’ve thrown up on this hike before, I can’t do it, maybe I’ll paint instead… the works. In reality it was a fear of embarrassment and fear of being found out as a fraud that surfaced. Because I’ve been feeling out of sorts for the last few months, I complained to my husband that I was sure I was not fit enough or fast enough to go on the Perry’s hike and I repeated that he and the team would be faster without me… Lucky for me, fear didn’t win and he assured me it would be just fine.
“Fear can make a moth seem the size of a bull elephant.” ― Stephen Richards
It can be harmful to live from a place of fear, when we listen to the voices that keep us put. It’s a place of victimhood, of wishing rather than doing, of reacting rather than responding, of worthlessness and pain rather than empowerment – even if each of these things are their own teacher. Whether we know it or not, our fears, when we face them with greater self-awareness and self-compassion, will teach us some of the most beautiful lessons of all, if only we listen – and we can grow even more than if we didn’t.
“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” ― Helen Keller
I am not sure where I developed the need to hold back or default to comfort rather than exploration when the going gets tough, however I am grateful I have the people around me that challenge my fears when I get in my own way. I know what it feels like to be liberated from the strangle-hold that fear can have when it’s not recognised or seen for what it can be: a teacher and force for good. After experiencing significant anxiety in the past, I’ve discovered that it’s so much more powerful to say ‘Hello again, my old friend,’ to fear when it arises and then gently work with it from a place of warmth, courage and compassion rather than trying to ignore it. To put it simply, it’s been incredibly powerful and transformative for me to see it this way.
But back to the hike…
When I contemplated not taking on Perry’s for fear of how I’ve felt hiking up it in the past, I had to ask myself over and over: What is it that I truly fear? Why? Why? Why? By digging a little deeper, I nailed Perry’s at last.
What would you do if you were not afraid?
Does fear hold you back from doing what you really love or simply what’s best?
- Story of Fear: Perry’s Lookdown to Du Faur Head
- Starting the New Year off on the Right Foot ― One of the Best Hikes in the Blue Mountains
- Mount Solitary in Autumn, Katoomba Blue Mountains
- Exploring Kanangra-Boyd and Blue Mountains National Parks on Good Friday
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt