I clicked my harness to the beloy and started climbing… it was fun and I was proud of myself for being able to climb so high. And then everything changed. The climbing instructor hollered to me to stop and come down. He says ,”Just lean back and let go to come down” Then I hear my kids say, “just let go….Mom! Just let go!” I stopped and looked down and realized how far up I had climbed.
“I know” I say… but in my head I’m thinking I’m really high up, it’s a long way down and what if this rope doesn’t work??.. my heart is racing, my body feels like it is paralyzed and even though I’m telling myself to let go I just couldn’t do it …. So I decide to just climb down…. And again I hear encouragement from the bottom of the wall… From the climbing instructor: just let go, it will be ok! From my kids:.”Mom you have to just let go, just do it!”
Ok I let go …kind of …and for a split second it felt like I was falling and then the tension caught me…It was super awkward, and clumsy and my heart was still racing.. and I made it to the ground..but it was not pretty!
I loved climbing and was totally fine until I got to the top and realized how high I was…and then the fear sank in! Paralyzing fear where I was having a full on conversation with myself in my head trying to convince myself I could do this, I could let go…but my body did not want to cooperate at first!
I hate not being able to do something and do not like when fear gets the best of me…so I did what I generally do when something scares me…I decided I had to keep practicing, knowing I could get better, knowing it would seem less scary and maybe I could become less awkward if I kept facing it.
I decided to just climb up not as high and just practice coming down so I could get comfortable with it. I was still scared, it still freaked me out, but I did it and it was slightly better, slightly less awkward and I gained a little more confidence. Every time I climbed higher the fear pattern set in again and I had to remind myself I could do this. After almost 3 hours of climbing, I was getting much more comfortable with my descents. I was climbing higher and the intensity of that initial let go moment was almost gone. I had a fabulous time my my kids and husband, I got a great workout in and I felt proud that I had not let my fear ruin the great experience I had.
Jumping into something new is scary…whether you are descending from a rock climbing wall or just trying a new exercise program or making a change in your life. Isn’t it funny how even though our brains know we are safe…our mind and body naturally react to protect us, they naturally react in way that would make it easy and justifyable in our minds to just stop, just walk away. Yet if we don’t face fear and question it, I feel like we are probably missing out on what could be the most rewarding experiences for our selves.. for our health and for our growth as a person.
The next time you are nervous to try something, the next time something is a challenge or makes you uncomfortable …maybe you’ll take a moment to question…is it worth working through your fear?