F = Fear


There are a lot of things in the world that you could be afraid of.  Some people have irrational fears of things, while other fears are logically based on a past experience. One thing I have learned over the years is that fear can hold you back.

Being afraid to move to a new city. Being afraid to search for a new job.  Being afraid of getting up in front of people and delivering a speech. Being afraid of climbing a ladder. The list goes on.  But if you constantly live in fear, you are not living, truly.

You can be afraid of things, it’s a natural reaction, but it’s how you allow fear to control your life is what’s the most important.

I recall when I applied to college.  I was accepted into both colleges I applied at.  Advertising and Public Relations at St. Lawrence College, and Recreation Leadership at Loyalist College.  Going to Loyalist College would have meant that I would have to move, find a new place to live, find a new job, and make new friends.  I was terrified of the change, considering I didn’t even own a car. I chose to stay in Kingston and go to St. Lawrence.  In the end, the diploma from St. Lawrence likely better served me in my future career as a Communications Advisor, but at that time, all I could care about was the unknown and how scary it seemed.

Since then, I have learned to muscle my way through irrational fear.  I am not a fan of heights. Even seeing someone on the edge of a cliff gives me physical butterflies. But I learned to skydive.  I climbed that ladder on the side of the Mayan ruin in Tikal, Guatemala. I’ve rappelled off of platforms and down rock faces.

Here’s a video I want to share of me kayaking over Pozo Azul waterfall in Costa Rica. No one who has run this waterfall can say that they weren’t afraid and no one should blame me for the 10 minutes I spent in the eddy above psyching myself out, saying “Okay, NOW!”  “This time for reals. Go!”  “Okay, NOW!”  “No seriously Jen, do it!”

At the end of the day, if you hide from those things you are afraid of, they will define you. But, by the way, there is a difference between fear and a legitimate sense of a bad idea.  I’m not saying you should just jump over the edge, but I’m saying you should carefully calculate whether your fear is legitimate or psychological and determine which way to go with those feelings.

3 thoughts on “F = Fear

  1. That was fun to watch you go over the waterfall! What a treasure to have that adventure recorded. I go by the motto “Don’t let fear make your decisions.” Great post!

    (Oh, and I agree about weighing whether it’s a bad idea or fear. A couple years ago I went snow skiing for the first time in my old age (mid 50s at that time). It was fun, and when I was planning to go again for my next lesson, I had a strong feeling of “You will get hurt.” Not a feeling of fear, and not a feeling of “might” get hurt, but a strong impression that I would get majorly hurt. So I haven’t returned to skiing.)

    • Trudy, you make a very good point. I assess daily whether I am just ‘chicken’ or if there is an actual threat to my health. As a whitewater kayaker, I do this everytime on the river. Sometimes you just have “off” days, other times you are attempting something above your skill level. It’s up to you to assess the difference between an irrational fear and a rational understanding of what you’re capable of. Thank you for sharing your point of view!

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