My fear of bridges is different than my fear of putting myself out there but both have offered personal growth over the years.
I was never really a fan of driving to places that I was unfamiliar with especially if they were in a different state. I don’t find a GPS to be helpful because I have a hard time reading signs, paying attention to the road and listening to the voice of the GPS all at one time. Now let’s throw in a bridge between point A and point B. Well – needless to say that would have me in a white knuckle grip on my steering wheel as I was pulling out of my neighborhood.
My children all play competitive soccer. Traveling to other states for tournaments is a very common occurrence. In the beginning with child #1 I would try and catch a ride with the coach or another parent. This would be difficult because for that whole weekend I would be without a car. I didn’t like inconveniencing people. However, any bridges along the way I could just take deep breaths and close my eyes.
A funny thing happened as the years went on. I began driving myself. My daughter and I enjoyed the time together and the convenience of having our own car. Was I still afraid? Sure was. But little by little, trip by trip a quiet confidence grew within me. I would be nervous approaching the bridge but as I was descending on to the other side I noticed I was inhaling and exhaling deeply. I’d get to the other side and high five myself mentally. I could do this. Traveling out of state will never be my favorite pastime but knowing that I faced one of my fears allowed me to grow and make my stress level tolerable with each anticipated trip.
Being brave and putting yourself out there strikes a fear as well. Whether you’re a writer, artist or innovator putting your heart and soul into something and opening the door for critique is scary. I know initially when I began thinking about making a website for the specific reason of showcasing some of my projects and writing about my feelings – I hesitated. It’s so easy to bounce ideas off your circle of friends. Showing my latest art piece to my gal pals is a breeze because they are my best cheerleaders. Posting pictures and blog posts on the world wide web….yikes.
I like to play a game I call “Worse Case Scenario” when it comes to this type of fear. Mentally I go over all the things that may or may not happen if I post a picture of my art journal or blog about my feelings. Someone could comment that they “don’t get it”. Maybe I won’t receive one comment or like. The fact that I take the chance and post it is a #win. Why? Because I took a step out of my box. I faced my fear of rejection and guess what? Still alive. No one took my website away because they thought my post stunk.
Fear doesn’t always have to be the bad guy. Facing our fears large and small is empowering. The results we receive whether they are overwhelmingly positive or somewhat negative teach us lessons. Sometimes the lessons aren’t readily visible. But with retrospection comes clarity. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself! You just might be surprised at how far you can go.