Use your fears as a tool
I recently watched a movie called The Good Dinosaur. It’s a cute Disney movie about a small, awkward Apatosaurus dinosaur finding himself. In a scene around a campfire, he has a conversation with some T-Rex’s (what’s the plural of T-Rex, really?) that were kind of cowboy type characters. The big Rex explain how a crock bit him and he fought back until he won. The main character, Arlo, re-buttles how he wishes he wasn’t scared. Among many of the awesome quotes in that movie, Butch, the big T-Rex says
“If you ain’t scared of a croc bittin’ you on the face, you ain’t alive”
True that. R.I.P. Steve Erwin. And even more, fear is so natural, so essential to our existence. It’s one of the deepest, oldest emotions we have; after all, it’s what kept us alive through the generations, running from tigers and bears out of fear, oh my! It’s one of the most important emotions and assets we have, yet it’s a topic we all try to avoid.
We avoid talking about fear because it’s usually linked to some type of pain that we THINK will inevitably ensue. But fear is a tool we can use to move us in a direction; hopefully forward. When I experience fear, I know I’m pushing myself enough to get to the next plateau of life. To actually grow. You can learn to work and understand your own fears to move you forward. Here is an example in my life.
When I was a young kid, a family member decided to lock me in a plastic toy box in the shape of a globe that had two holes on the side and a lid on the top. Sitting on the top of the globe with me inside, the individual put a water hose in on one end and proceeded to fill up the globe until I would almost drown with no way to escape. As expected, the experience was traumatizing and created fears later on in life around drowning and claustrophobia.
This came in conflict with older Sterling since I had to ride elevators and loved swimming in the ocean. After working to understand myself, my fears and which fears were productive and which fears were destructive, I now feel even more confident in water and close spaces than most of my peers. Keep in mind, I still have the fear, but I now understand it. It’s something that keeps me in check. I ask myself, is my fear rational? Can I use it to benefit me, my friends and those who I care about around me? Or is this a destructive type of fear that will rot away at me, rendering me stagnant and unfulfilled in life.