Rock Climbing Woman in Black and White

Facing Your Fears

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin

Sayings or quotes or affirmations that “speak” to us and convey a meaningful message can be comforting and even make us think – which is always valuable. What’s even more valuable is if we can find a way to put action behind those words or thoughts or if we’ve had an experience that showed us something about ourselves and that we actually could face something – maybe a fear – that we could then change. And without change there is no growth. Here’s an example:

When I was maybe 10 or 12, I for whatever reason decided to climb onto the roof of our garage. After a time it occurred to me that I needed to get down but it turned out, getting down was a much more scary thought than climbing up and the “flight”, fear based part of my brain took over. All logic and thought went out the window (have you ever noticed in yourself or others that strong emotion smothers logic and thought?). Well, it was soon time for dinner and my Dad walked out of the house to see if I was in the back yard. He saw me on the roof and came over but instead of climbing up to the roof or getting a ladder, he stood on the ground and asked me how I got there and how I intended to get down. I had no idea, so he guided me through a couple ways to get back on terra firma. My Dad was big on “Actions Have Consequences” and that facing those consequences and figuring things out were good life lessons.

Well all that was great except I was still fearful and just sat there. So, Dad told me he was going into the house to eat and that I ought to get off that roof before dinner got cold. So NOW what was I going to do? After all, I was hungry and I sure wasn’t going to get dinner up on that roof! So I decided I needed to face that fear and try one of Dad’s suggestion which was to hang off of a very study roof support and drop to the grass which was actually a short drop – and it worked! In fact, it was so much fun I climbed back on that roof and did it again. And lest you think I was just abandoned on that roof, my Mom later told me that Dad was watching me the whole time in case I really did need help. So I faced that fear and over time I have reflected on that day and the truth of the words that “…nothing can be changed until it is faced”. And that my Dad, once again, was right.

What are the things in your life that need to be faced before you can move on and get to where you want to be? Get off your roof and face those things. You can do it!