We have small fears and big ones.
I recently saw a woman wearing a t-shirt with the words “I am afraid of nothing” on it.
Doesn’t that sound great?
What we all know about fear is: fight or flight. We either fight or flee.
I find Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book “The fear cure” very fascinating on the subject of fear.
What is particularly interesting is that she’s not a psychologist, but a physician and that’s why her book is, among other things, about how fear affects our body.
The reason why I am telling you now about her book is the following:
She divides fear into “true fear” and “false fear.” The true fear triggers necessary stress reactions in our body to protect us, for when we are actually threatened. She calls the other fear – the one that haunts us much more often – “false fear.” This is something that only exists in our mind, in our imagination. This fear can also help us if we don’t want to get rid of it, but rather listen to it, see what we can learn from it and how it can help us grow.
I often feel courageous and I do take risks. However, in general, I am afraid I might get hurt, especially physically.
Recently I was afraid of riding my bike as I had a bike accident last year. At first, fear and pain were still limited and I even bought a new bike.
But then it was clear that I didn’t just have a few bruises. I’ve been in great pain for months and had a doctors’ odyssey, with many MRIs and nasty ideas, about what could be the reason why my arm didn’t want to function properly again. With all this, the idea of riding my bike again seemed very absurd and I realized that it really scared me.
A few days before I drove to Sahlenburg, I found out that the landlord there also rented bikes. Jokingly I said to my mother: “Look, there are rental bikes there.” I did not really mean it seriously.
Once there I saw a lot of bike riders and suddenly I felt the urge to ride a bike too.
In the evening I took a look at the available bikes. The white bike looked manageable. A few minutes and a “May I try this?” later I was already sitting on the bike.
The fact that I would only pay for the bike in case I used it really helped to reduce the pressure to it.
I started riding really really slow. It didn’t matter, I was riding alone. And my fear was allowed to be there.
I drove over a street and I drove through a forest. I tried the backpedal brake. I tried both front brakes and I was slowly getting the feeling of the bike. And when I realized that what I was doing was slowly exhausting me, I just went back.
Doing it all by myself was great. Without someone to cheer me on or guide me. I was completely relaxed. I felt my fear and slowly tested my limits, and I did not want to get rid of my fear. I was in discovery mood.
The next evening, I was sitting at the table watching a video by Laura Malina Seiler, a well-known German podcaster, and suddenly the sun was shining.
And I am finding myself filled with this wild desire to ride my bike again. So I am running down the stairs, grabbing the bike and just starting to pedal. Totally normal. I am not feeling any fear any more. Instead, I am filled with a childish joy.
I can do it! I can ride a bike!
I think about it while cycling: I was never not able to ride a bike.
I actually fell because of other reasons:
- I haven’t ridden a bike for a long time.
- I rode with a group that went way too fast for my physical fitness.
- I actually didn’t want to join them and just didn’t cancel to avoid upsetting someone (this is by the way ALWAYS without exception a bad motivation).
- unfamiliar bike with different brakes.
I rode off because I wanted to see a field with wonderfully red glowing spikes again like the night before. Once there, I went on and my tour took me to a beach about 3 kilometers away, where I first enjoyed the fresh sea breeze and then watched the sunset while sitting in a café.
For the whole tour I could feel the joy in my heart, and I listened to myself. That’s why I also took a break in the café and treated myself to a chocolate ice cream.
So to summarize, how can you overcome your fears?
- Be aware of your fear.
- Face your fear when you have time, are in peace and alone.
- Don’t push yourself, just take a look at your fear with a discovery mood and allow it to be there.
- Do it at your own pace.
- Be happy and satisfied with the result, no matter what it looks like.
I have overcome my fear, alone and literally at my pace.
I wish you a wonderful time discovering and overcoming your fears.
Be happy & be light
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