When is fear a good thing?

hulk fear woa

 

Push past your fears. If something scares you or gives you unease you must face it head on.

I’ve heard this multiple times. But here’s a question … at what point is that terrifying fear, keeping you away from something, actually a good thing?

It’s our natural fight or flight responses that keep safe and protected. What’s the fine line between respecting that terrifying fear that keeps you alive and safe versus the overanxious timid anxiety that keeps you away from the party?

I’ve thought this over more recently as I’ve pondered certain dares and fears to face as the subjects of my next posts.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s the heat making me overthink things. But bear with me for a moment – I have a point I swear …

You’re in a dark alley in a bad part of town, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as your mind race and your heart beats. This is terrifying fear to protect us from the crazy axe murderer around the corner. “Pushing past the fear” could convince us to keep walking through the alley, but I don’t think that’s such a good idea.  

Ok, now say you’re driving a car really fast. It’s exhilarating and it’s nerve wracking. 80 mph, 90, mph, 100 mph …You keep going faster. Your heart is about to explode from your chest and your head is screaming at you telling you to stop while yelling “danger danger.” You’re terrified. Do you push past that? … I think half of a room would say yes and half of a room would say “Are you crazy, stop the car before you hit someone!” What if you keep going and reach a beautiful sunset scenery? You wouldn’t have made it in time otherwise – totally worth it. What if you crash? …  It’s true you won’t know until you do it.

Recently, I’ve decided to dare myself to push past my own fears. I’ve dared myself to learn how to cook. Then I started to consider another type of dare. I could face my fear of heights. I could skydive or take a ride in a hot air balloon.

At the mere mention of a hot air balloon ride I think absolutely not. Stuck in the air in a small little space forever …. aaagh. My stomach tightens and my head yells “danger danger.” Skydiving though feels more like an anxious nervousness, like real anxious, but I’m not horribly against it.

Going back to that fine line question, when do you decipher when it’s a good thing to push past your fear? If it scares you and you have absolutely no desire to do it, should you still do it anyway?

A friend of mine is terrified to swim. She wrote about this recently. You can hear her fear in the blog post. Yet, I’m still so excited for her to sign up for a swim class. I can almost envision her excitement and confidence when she actually conquers this.

It’s that adrenaline rush at the end. I’ve experienced this every time I finish a half marathon. Once you push past the “are you crazy I could never do that” all the way to “h*** s**t I did that!”  - it’s an incredible feeling.

The fine line? Maybe I need to complete a few more dares to tell you. I think it’s up to you really.

I can see myself sitting on the Hulk rollercoaster ride at Universal Studios agitated. I was so terrified to go on it that when the ride started all I could think about was fear. I screamed so hard my face was red, and at spurts I stopped breathing. People thought I was going to have a heart attack. I don’t even remember if the ride was fast or if it twisted upside. I just remember fear and screaming. Not a good memory. I didn’t allow myself the chance to feel the adrenaline rush because I was so consumed by the terrifying screams of danger in my head.

If I go on a hot air balloon ride terrified as I am now, I don’t think it would be a pleasant experience.

With a quiet mind, only you truly know the difference between the alarm bells of walking to an axe murderer or racing to a beautiful sunset up the hill. Only you can accept the screams of danger, but prepare to say “heck yes” anyway.

It’s up to you to take the leap!