deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is
that we are powerful beyond measure.”
to Love: Reflections on a Course in Miracles
It isn’t just analysis that I am often paralysed by, but also fear. Fear is such a strong emotion, it can be rational or irrational ,beneficial or a hinderance. It can be based on the unknown, past experiences, statistics, the list is endless. I am afraid of failure, of appearing a fool, of injury, afraid that I am just not good enough. My fears are part of who I am. I know the cliché that courage isn’t the absence of fear but knowing that there is something more important than fear, but how do you know when you should heed to your fears and when you just need courage to overcome them?
Fear has prevented me from doing a lot of worthwhile and beneficial activities over the years. It took me a long time to build up the courage to go to the gym when I was overweight. I was afraid that people would laugh at me, that the gym instructor would announce to the world that I was too heavy for the equipment, that people would stare at me. I found the courage through help from friends. After a while the fear subsided and I realised that I could hold my head high in the gym. I knew that I was overweight but also knew that I was doing something about it. I am no longer afraid of the gym, I do hate the gym as I would rather be outside, but I am no longer afraid.
I vividly remember lying in the ambulance post-duck-accident crying even through my gas-and-air induced haze. I was crying through fear, not fear of dying, not through fear of the injury or the damage that I had done to my bike, but fear that if I couldn’t exercise I would quickly go back to being overweight.
Given everything that was happening at the time this may appear to be a completely irrational fear but that was all I could think about. I am still afraid that I will gradually slip back into bad habits and the pounds will pile back on, that I will go back to being trapped in my own body, but I also have the courage to trust myself to not let this happen.
There is an irony about fear. Even pre-duck-incident I was afraid of my bike These fears aren’t completely unfounded, statistics point to the fact that women are much more likely to be involved in bike accidents. I also know that if I am involved in an accident with a vehicle, no matter who is at fault, I am much more likely to come off worse. When I ride my bike if I am racked with fear I am twitchy. On my hybrid this isn’t a major problem, on Kirk (my road bike)it is a different matter. Kirk is much lighter and I am literally attached to him through my cleats on my shoes.I have to put these negative fears to the back of my mind and yet fear can also spur me on. I am often afraid of being dropped by the group, whilst in the middle of nowhere and bonking, this often makes me dig deeper for the energy to keep with the group.
What happens when you find the courage to face your fears? Once I have faced my fears I often don’t know what it was that I was afraid of in the first place. My fears influence what I do and who I am and how I appear to the world I show to the world.