It was an unexpected trip because I had no idea that my son would take me to one of the highest geographical points in the area he lives in, in the mountains. He was driving, I was in the passenger seat and I had a dilemma.
I had not planned on facing my fear of heights that day. Actually, a fear of heights really isn’t the problem~ it’s the fear of falling and being seriously hurt that causes me such distress.
Like most people, the idea of pain, especially from a fall at such a ridiculous height isn’t appealing.
After all, who, when asked, ‘Would you care to take a nose dive off the mountain top to feel excruciating pain (IF you even survived!)?’ would say, ‘sure, sounds like fun!’ So, it stands to reason, in my mind, that a fall from such a high place could have dire consequences.
But reason isn’t the realm fears deal in. Rather, fears deal in the unreasonable, the imagined, or the reliving of a past unpleasant event, with the fear of repeating it.
Where Do Our Fears Come From?
Experts tell us that we are born with only two fears: the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling.
Some fears, they say, are the result of childhood experiences. Others are learned behaviors along the way. The good news about learned behaviors is, well, we can learn new fear defeating behaviors, as well. Yea us!
There are fears that exist as a result of coddling them. For example, I bet you didn’t know that if you ‘reward’ yourself with something comforting, after something unpleasant, such as a failure, your mind is now associating the failure with something pleasant and can create a fear of success, instead!
The mind learns to associate the fear of not having the pleasant or comforting thing as being a direct result of a possible success.
In general, fear is a response to something we perceive as being dangerous or threatening, in some way, to us.
For those who face fears, you have experienced the unpleasant emotions of anxiety that accompany fears. Fears can even cause us to have the inability to think, speak or act with clarity.
In and of itself, fear isn’t entirely bad. It can often prepare you for a real, rather than imagined, negative experience. If a robber enters your home, you may feel fearful and want to escape as quickly and quietly as possible. This, in the long run, could be more beneficial to you than some other alternative.
But we’re not as concerned with those kinds of fears as we are with the ones that keep us from fully participating in life.
How Do We Overcome Them?
The difficult part about fears is that you can’t force them, nor can anyone else force them into submission.
In other words, they can’t be overcome without your permission. That’s where the rational mind comes in and must be allowed to make choices to do things that will allow the fears to be ‘won over,’ if you will, with positive associations, instead of negative ones.
You can choose different paths to learn how to overcome fears. Suffice it to say, for our purposes, that there are a few key points you may want to consider if you desire to overcome any fears
1. Don’t try to self diagnose~ ask for recommendations, if needed, about those who can help you overcome fears
2. Talking with someone, such as a professional, who has knowledge and understanding about overcoming fears can be of a great help- so don’t be afraid to make that call
3. Read up a little. There is much information available today, whether in print, or online. Make sure you verify for good sources with those who are knowledgeable of the subject
4. Prayer is always a good option for any difficult we may face, so don’t discount the power of prayer in this realm. It can make the difference of success or not, when overcoming fears
You can better understand my dilemma now, can’t you? The one I faced as we were slowly, but certainly, heading UP the mountain.
Luckily, I received a phone call, just at the right moment, by someone I love and care about and the sound of her voice proved to be the distraction I needed. It allowed me to focus on something good, instead of a bad possibility and to be able to look out and to ‘sort of’ enjoy the view, even at such a ridiculous height!
Learning to focus on something positive, rather than negative relating to the fear or possible outcomes, is a technique used to help people overcome their fears. While making new associations, the mind connects new and good memories with the experience of facing the fears. The possibility of the fear coming to fruition, then, is lessened in our minds.
My son was spared the wrath of mom, that day, when I learned that unintentional lesson. His heart was in the right place, after all.
Learning to overcome fears takes practice, determination, a definite measure of courage and in my estimation, a good dose of prayer.
Even though things turned out pretty well, that day, up on the mountain, I will still need to be intentional about overcoming my fear of heights, or rather, of falling and enduring A LOT of physical pain.
Funny thing is, even in using a technique that helps you think logically about the worst possible outcome, can be helpful. Generally, the worst possible outcome doesn’t come true. The chances of me suddenly falling off a mountain are probably not to high (pun intended).
All kidding aside, fears are not something to be ignored, laughed at, or downplayed. Most of them exist as a result of some previous event that triggered an abnormal response to a normal circumstance.
They need to be handled with care, some careful weighing out of options and then some definitive actions. And as I know to be true, from my own life and from the bible, fears don’t respond to threats- only to truth.
So, the next time you are facing a fear and you think you might want to work at overcoming it, rather than it overtaking you, spend some time investigating the reasons behind it, what you can do to overcome it and proceed with the attitude of
‘ I Can Do This.’
Because you CAN! Experts tell us that with some help, determination and patience, on your part especially, you CAN overcome even the worst of fears.
For further information on fears and overcoming them, check out these helpful resources include