To be courageous is not to be devoid of fear, but to act in spite of fear. – Anonymous
I posted in Instagram about facing my fear.
If you know me personally, you would have known that I am not fond of heights. I’m afraid of heights. I am terrified with heights.
So, I naturally would avoid any places that is high up on the ground, even those places with scenic view.
And to cut a long story short, a casual conversation with my colleagues led me to cross over the bridge on one fine evening.
Talking about it casually and to really facing it- they are two totally different things.
I was like a macho, I took a few steps, maybe ten, maybe twenty into the bridge when fear suddenly appear. Mind you, it wasn’t like those wooden, solid bridge. It was those steel bridge, where you can look down. And when I say down, it is more than 10 meters, at least.
The very first thing I did was to walk back to safety. I chickened out.
I thought to myself, I’m a quitter. I can’t face my fear. I will be timid, all my life. Even if I quit, noone will know. I didn’t publicly announce it. So I should just walk away.
But there’s something inside me saying, do you really want to quit, again?
It was at that moment of time, I saw a boy strolling with his mom.
If he can do it, why can’t I?
I breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. What was 5 minutes of breathing seems like an eternity.
Then I asked myself this, what reasons do I have to allow myself to cross over the bridge?
It is just 200 meters. It is just a short distance. A very short distance.
Just walk, look up straight. Look up. If you don’t look down, you won’t feel scared.
There are no runners or joggers. The bridge won’t swing violently.
The bridge has been there for years. It was broken, and it won’t break down today.
OK. I took another deep breath in, and took my first step into the bridge. One step led to another step. Before I knew it, I was a few steps into the bridge, at the first turn.
Was I courageous at that point of time, where I didn’t feel any fear at all? NO! I still felt fear. Very afraid.
But I had come so far. Hold on the rail, and take a deep breath, I told myself. And then continue to take a few steps. My hands were sweaty and my heart was beating fast.
At the end of the bridge, my left palm was all black, because I kept holding on to the bridge.
The actual bridge is 2KM in length, but for that day, that short section of 200 meters was more than enough for me.
You may be thinking..
10 meters high wasn’t that tall. Yes, it is nothing to you but it was a big deal to me. I was too afraid and that was the first time I took the bridge.
Did I cure my fear of height? No, I know that fear would come back to me. Even if I did it before, my fear would come back again.
To overcome your fear, you have to keep facing it, until it becomes a natural occurrence to you. Keep facing it daily until it desensitize you.
What’s next? Well, my immediate goal is to repeat this short section of the bridge, without holding on to it. Once comfortable, I would extend the length to cover the whole bridge. Then, the finale would be to attempt the HSBC Treetop walk at McRitchie Reservoir.
What is your fear? What one thing do you do to lessen its grip on you?