“I don’t want to do it,” I said to the ropes course instructor.
“That’s your call, I’m not into pressuring people into things they aren’t comfortable with,” he said back.
I sat down; almost relieved I didn’t have to face my fears. I am terrified of ropes courses, especially of heights and climbing in the trees. I’ve grown up afraid of heights, I’ve always been afraid of rock climbing, even though I’m harnessed in. Being harnessed in this ropes course didn’t make me feel any better; the thought of being in the air absolutely filled every inch of my body with fear.
But then there was the peer pressure from my teammates and coaches to do it, so I decided today was a good day to face my fears. I was surrounded by a group of people closets to me so I should just do it.
I built the up courage, knowing that if I didn’t like it I could get down an escape root. It also helped knowing I wasn’t the only one who was afraid in the group.
I started on the easiest course of the easy courses. I was TERRIFIED like I didn’t think I could lift one foot in front of the other. The only thing that kept me moving forward was that I was holding everyone up behind me. I kept going, right foot then left foot and before I knew it I was on a platform again, telling myself that wasn’t so bad. I’d look at the next challenge and have to talk myself through it again.
Once I reached the end I didn’t think the easiest level was too bad, so I went up to the yellow the level, the next difficulty level. I did the same thing as the easiest level; I talked myself through it telling myself one step at a time I would make it to the next platform.
When I say I was terrified, I mean I was actually hugging the tree. I was holding on for dear life, not letting go for a second. There was a ladder to climb that went straight up, my fear of heights was at an all time high, but I made it to the top. I didn’t look up and I didn’t look down, I just kept my eyes forward and kept going. Even when I was almost at the top I didn’t look, but I made it and I didn’t fall. Throughout the course my legs were shaking uncontrollably, my body was clenched together and my hands were sweating. I was freaking out. My adrenaline was pumping and so was my anxiety all the way until the end when I had to attach my harness to a rope and literally walk off the ledge. I put one front in front of the other until I walked off the edge and free fell to the ground.
As scared as I was throughout the four courses I completed today I learned a few lessons. The first and most foremost was that I actually completed four courses and I had to do it all on my own. When I was scared no one could hold my hand and pull me through, the most they could do was talk me through it. I had to do everything on my own. That is so huge for me. Think of anything in your life that scares you, maybe it’s putting your head under water, or riding a roller coaster, maybe it’s even the same as mine. Now image doing it and doing it again.
Today helped me realize fear is only an illusion in our minds.
Fear lives in our mind and we feed into it. Every time we don’t do something or we tell ourselves we can’t because we’re scared we are limiting ourselves.
If I never put on my harness, if no one pushed me to try it, I would have sat on the side and watched everyone else enjoy themselves and test their limits. My legs were shaking, my heart was racing, but I made it. I had to come to terms with my own head and talk myself through it. I had to force myself to believe it wasn’t that bad and it was going to be okay, and it was.
There are so many people living their lives in fear, there are so many people who don’t live out their dreams because of fear. Fear of failing, fear of not being good enough or maybe a combination of both. Your largest fears carry your largest growth. Today I did something I never thought I was capable of. I didn’t make it to the high difficulty levels, but I did well for me. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and no longer let the fears I have become my limits.
To escape fear you have to go through it. There are no short cuts, it is there to push you and test you. Fear will only break you if you let it. Don’t be afraid of it; let it shape you into a more courageous and stronger person, because there is no greater feeling than conquering your fears head on.