At the beginning of May I wrote a post about fear and a leap of faith. Within that post I mentioned being in Hawaii and snorkeling with the fish and how much fun it was once I had allowed myself to face that fear. Well, this week I found an underwater camera I had forgotten to get developed. I was so excited to see all the beautiful pictures I had taken that day. I remember being pretty nervous in the open water but I never anticipated how nervous I actually looked. I had managed to snap a photo of myself underwater and I was stunned to see the fear in my eyes; a midst the happy memories of my trip I had forgotten about the fear I had to face in order to get there.
Surprisingly, what I remember about that day is not that I was afraid. I remember the brilliantly blue sky; how fun it was to kayak in the open water; being among my friends; and how beautiful nature is. Those are my memories, the picture however, tells a completely different story. I can see the fear in my face; the wide-set eyes; the wrinkles on my forehead; and the general look of shock. So why can’t I remember the fear that I was obviously facing?
I believe it has to do with the outcome. Think about it, if you take yourself back to a time when you were afraid and it did not turn out the way you wanted you will always remember feeling that fear and it will force you to not want to go down that road again. For example my first roller-coaster ride did not go so well. I was with someone who was 6ft 4″, I am 4ft 11″; because of our height difference the lap bar would not hold me in securely and with each hill I thought for sure I was going to fall out. I never went on another roller-coaster again. The memory of that moment is complete and utter fear and I would not dare to face it again.
So why is the snorkeling different? I can see in the pic I was terrified and I remember how I felt leading up to that moment before I leaped off the kayak, but I would definitely do it again, because it had a good outcome. My reward was seeing the vibrant colors of the fish below me; how softly the water flowed over me as I paddled along; and being truly happy once I resolved to sticking my face in the water and actually looking at the beauty that surrounded me.
We can’t always know how things are going to turn out, and I had several of those instances during my divorce, but there have been rewards. I can’t say I have good memories of what I went through but that situation has produced different kinds of rewards. I have become who I was meant to be; gained confidence in myself as a woman, and mother; strengthened bonds with family; met some amazing people; re-kindled some past relationships; and most importantly learned that facing fear will not kill me!
We all have different fears, public speaking (myself included); water; heights; karaoke; spiders; snakes; boats; airplanes, the list can go on forever. There is one fear that we all have in common and that is Facing It! Admit it, each one of us is afraid to face fear no matter how small or large it is. It is a natural instinct to be afraid of something you are not sure about.
Imagine how disappointed I would have been had I not jumped into the water that day. I would’ve been forced to stay in the kayak and watch my friends making their rewarding memories. I am extremely happy with the choice I made. I can honestly say that I am happy that I was able to face my fears of my life trial as well. Even though it did not have the same outcome, it has made a positive impact in my life and I’m so proud that I can now see what they are.
I’d love for you to share your fears and outcomes!