Fear and Trying Something New
People are often surprised when they find out I am a nervous person. I have a fairly outgoing personality (although I am also introverted…. mixed bag I know) and although I freely express all my worries ( I am working on that) people do not often believe me when I say, no really, I am nervous, feel anxious and struggle with pushing through my fears. (I have also had an anxiety disorder from a young age and experience pretty severe panic attacks in certain environments.)
To sum it up, we all have our stand out weaknesses, and mine is fear. So the humour is not lost on me that my heart for women is to encourage them to be brave and try NEW THINGS, that will probably feel overwhelming or scary. But here’s the thing, I get it, I know what you’re feeling and I have been there ( and will be there again the next time I try something new).
Last week I shared in my Instagram stories that we were taking Elizabeth to the pool so she could face one of her fears. Elizabeth is me… only 24 years younger haha. I see myself in her like a mirror reflection. Elizabeth experiences that feeling of fear in an intense way. Prior to our fear facing trip to the pool, we had been there with her cousins a few days before and while everyone jumped off the diving board with minimal trepidation, Elizabeth stood on that diving board and wept. She wanted to do it but the feeling of fear was so strong and she couldn’t make her little legs jump. I called her down and was giving her the usually parent pep talk when she looked at me through a tear stained face and cried “ I wish I was like other kids mommy”……. Oh Elizabeth, my heart broke. I quickly reassured her that she was wonderfully made by a God who loves her and makes NO mistakes but that that feeling of fear just feels more intense to her and she will have to work harder at overcoming it. And here’s the thing, she did.
A few days later we went back, bravery was our war cry and we marched our way over to that diving board and my little girl crawled up, skinny legs shaking and tears pouring down her sweet face and …. she jumped. And then she jumped 50 more times. And now she loves it. It’s one of her favourite things to do. She wants to go there for her birthday. She wants to live at the pool. She declared that she wished the park behind our house had a diving board…. I said I wished it had a pool. But initially …. it was hard, like really really hard.
Years ago, I remember saying to my Dad “ I wish I was like other kids ”, my anxiety was at an all time high and I felt like a failure. I won’t be able to do anything big with my life I remember thinking, I can’t even do small things without being afraid. Fast forward to today and I am now 33. I still fight fear everyday but I’ve learned a secret. I’ve learned that because fear feels extra awful, the reward of pushing through that feeling and doing the dang thing anyways will be an even greater reward. And I’m not talking about just the big things in life like public speaking or flying in an airplane or whatever it is for you. I’m talking about the looming embroidery craft kit I bought my girls but didn’t know how to do. I felt nervous to try it, I didn’t like that feeling of not knowing and worse having to figure it out…. what if I couldn’t do it, what if I didn’t understand the instructions, what if I failed…. what if, what if, what if. But I picked it up anyways, I watched the tutorial on YouTube with anxiety trickling down my back and GUESS WHAT, I learned. One small step at a time. And now I have a new tool under my belt, and who knows what it will be used for, because as they say every big thing starts small but even more importantly I learned that I can learn something…. and now the world is opened up to me a little bigger, and I feel a little braver and that is beautiful.
So today I hope this encourages you to try something new. And I also hope it puts and end to your idea that other people, the people who do things you wish you could do, are just braver, stronger, smarter, craftier, handier….. you get my point. They aren’t. You aren’t that different after all. We are all the same….. but different. And you can do this. I believe in you. And you never know what road it will lead you down…….. you just have to start.