Overcoming Fear with Courage

Fear and CourageAs adults, we aren’t fearful of monsters under our bed anymore. Instead it might be how to support a family when faced with unemployment, being alone after divorcing, or life changing once becoming an empty nester. While these few examples of adult fears potentially have more impact on us than the possibility of a monster under the bed, they are no more or less scary than what a child faces.

At some point in life–for both children and adults– it’s time to face our fears. Sometimes we come to the realization on our own, and other times it is forced upon us.┬áLast month, for example, Monkey experienced the latter situation. Overcoming one of his fears meant me forcing him to ride a horse on vacation.

Monkey accomplished conquering his fear with the key component in overcoming all fears: courage. While I prodded him to try, it was ultimately his decision to get in the saddle. Seeing the initial look of trepidation on his face, I wondered if I made a mistake in pushing the issue, but knew halfway through the ride it was a great decision. Over the course of an hour I watched Monkey’s fear turn into joy, not just because he was having a wonderful time, but because he was so proud of himself for overcoming a fear. He learned through the experience there’s always more satisfaction in accomplishing something that started out as a challenge instead of being an easy task from the beginning. As a parent, it was wonderful to watch this realization take hold in my son.

I had another proud moment that day riding; I overcame my own fear of horses. A scary childhood experience riding a horse coupled with the enormous teeth they have, riding has been an activity I have avoided as an adult. As I bounced between my pride in Monkey and in myself, old feelings of all the fears I tackled following my separation came rushing to mind. It was nice to reminisce over the challenges I have faced in recent years, and how much I have accomplished along the way. Overcoming a fear of horses seemed so easy in comparison.

Going through separation, divorce, and all the challenges that came along with it, I was thrust into facing many fears simultaneously over the last five years. A few months after the separation, I wiped my red, swollen eyes, got off the sofa, and decided to face life as a Naked Girl in a Dress. It didn’t start with immediately overcoming all fears, and knowing exactly the path to walk down, but rather a trial-and-error approach to making life-changing decisions for myself and the kids. I made progress and had setbacks, but I kept moving forward by embracing courage. I learned through small feats and large, once courage has been developed, tackling new fears becomes easier.

Seeing Monkey make his own progress, and knowing the horseback riding experience will make the next fear a little easier to overcome, was a happy motherhood moment for me. And, knowing we both had a naked-girl-in-a-dress moment was even more special as I tackled my own fear of horses when I hopped in the saddle that day, too.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”

~Eleanor Roosevelt

Page 1 of 2 | Next page