“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face . . . You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
We all have fears, even those of us who think we are fearless. Some of us are afraid of spiders, flying or loud noises. Or we fear the dark, being alone or making a mistake. Each day, no matter how we try to plan our lives so we don’t encounter our fears, we face them anyway.
Many times our fears protect us from danger. We know that if we go swimming during a hurricane we will drown. If we play golf in thunder storm we have a good chance of being struck by lightning. Those fears are based on fact and have been proven many times. So our reactions to these events aren’t fear, but acting on knowledge, or what our parents called common sense.
Our worst fears are those involving the people who are closest to us. How do we know if he/she is our own true love? How will I feed my family if I lose my job? Am I a good parent? Will I ever follow my dream, or is this all there is? How do I tell my loved one that he/she needs professional help? What will happen if I become so disabled my family takes away my car keys? The list goes on and on. We all know the litany because we go through it almost daily, or even many times a day.
Often we allow our fears to control our lives by avoiding confrontations, high places or anything else that intimidates us. Usually our fears are based on previous experiences, especially fears of speaking up or challenging another’s statements. By avoiding these situations we live limited lives. It is only by standing up for our beliefs that we become the people we were meant to be. We were not put on this Earth to cower but to live fully.
In the quote at the top of this page Mrs. Roosevelt stated so clearly why we must face our fears. Only by doing “the thing which you think you cannot do,” can we grow to be better people than we were yesterday. Sometimes we have to face a situation many times before we can resolve it confidently.
Facing fear is like taking our turn at bat in a baseball game. Initially we learn that we don’t need to duck when we see the ball coming toward us. Then we get brave enough to swing the bat and feel warm inside. Then we hit the ball but it doesn’t go far, and we think we might learn how to play the game after all. Slowly we learn how to take a stance, hold the bat and swing. Finally, one day we step up to the plate, take a mighty swing and hit a home run. We did it!
As we become more confident in our own abilities, whether at home plate, in our families or on the job, so do others. We find that we are earning respect. Our friends ask for and listen to our advice when previously we asked them what to do. Doing what needs to be done makes us better people, someone we are proud to be. Learning to be the best we can be is why we were put on this earth.
Thank you for teaching us that we learn by doing. Each attempt at a new skill gives us more confidence to do that thing and do it well. Facing fear is just another new skill we need to learn. Confidence doesn’t come easily. We have to learn and earn it. We thank you for presenting opportunities to help us grow into the people you want us to be. We thank you for the warm feeling you give us each time we learn a new skill, whether mechanical or psychological.
And so it is.
If you know someone who would appreciate reading “Thoughts to Ponder,” please suggest that he or she contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon D. Dillon, email@example.com, http://energywriter.me
Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists
Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by booksyoucantrust.com. Available in print and e-format at Amazon.com
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6 thoughts on “Fear or courage”
Well done. The baseball analog to life is carried off well. The confrontation paragraph is good, but the phrase “high places and anything else” could be eliminated; that would strengthen your position. One nit: in the second paragraph,insert “a” after “in”. Keep it up.
Thank you, Jack. I’ll have to reread the post and find the phrase you suggested.
Fear can indeed be debilitating. I think most of us can attest to what you wrote, either because we let fear keep us from doing something or because we were afraid and did it anyway.
But the worst kind of fear is that which stops us from allowing someone else, especially a loved one, doing a thing.
So true. That had not occurred to me, even though I experienced it several times. I was looking at the situations as fearing their disapproval.
Great approach to a topic we all need to hear.
Thank you. It has been on my mind for a while, esp. with the whole hospital/heart thing.