My daughter is scared of heights. It took her at least seven months to jump off the edge into a swimming pool. Up until that point she stood, knees bent, ready to go. But she always changed her mind at the last minute. It took the swimming instructor putting his hand out for her to grab to persuade her in. The days he tried to let her do it by herself, she always put out her hand, needing him to give her his. Then one day, when no-one was looking, she did it. I heard the splash and there she was. The instructor had been at the other end of the pool, and with no hand to grab, she did it all by herself.
I feel a lot like that these days. Everything seems like I’m jumping off safe ground into the scary unknown. Every day I’m faced with a choice: try with the risk of failing (or in my case, falling) or don’t take any risk at all. It’s the silly little things I’m making myself do, like picking up a basket instead of taking a trolley or hoovering downstairs by putting the other hand on every available surface. The challenges used to be going out on my bike, or walking the dog, but right now, the bar has had to be lowered considerably. Hopefully this will change, but when the tiny things turn into mountains, I have to set myself achievable goals.
Here’s a question for you: what is it that you’re hesitating in front of? Is there a hand you can grab before you face it? Is there a way of shrinking it down a little so it becomes more manageable for you? Facing our fears is a huge step, but maybe we can take smaller ones to get there, maybe there’s someone else’s hand right there beside you, ready for you to hold.
I have found that when I’m alone, I become stronger. I don’t lean on the people beside me. Most days, I much prefer to rely on someone else, but there are times when I manage something independently and that puts a huge grin on my face.
What are you going to do today that frightens you? Use the hands around you, or maybe, take the jump all by yourself.
As Baz Luhrman advises, ‘Every day, do one thing that scares you.’ Go on, be a have a go hero!