This I Believe
Everyone has had some fear at some point in his or her lives, even if it was silly or not. Because of that, my belief is that everyone can overcome fear if they want to. Overcoming your fear is a choice, you either choose to try to overcome your fear or you choose to live the rest of your life with the occasional feeling of your gut clenching up, or you hands getting sweaty whenever the thing you fear is mentioned or you come near it. Because of the choice I made, I found my belief in overcoming fear.
I believe that overcoming fear is important, if not necessary. If you try to live your life around a fear, however small or large, you could miss out on doing something really awesome, and you might never find out how cool it was because you never took that chance. Because I believe in overcoming fear, I try to do things that I am scared of when I am offered the opportunity. The opportunity might be something silly, like talking to someone I don’t know very well, or it might be something that I really fear, or am nervous about. I try not to think ‘what if’ thoughts before I do it, because then I will make myself chicken out. I try to take the chance and do it, because I think that the more often you do what you fear, the less you will fear it. Eventually your fear will just fade away, or it will be ‘overcome’.
My belief came from when I was a kid. My fear had been of dogs, and I had refused to go anywhere near them unless something tall and solid was in between the dog and me. There was a dog that lived next door to my family, and this dog was very sweet. I was able to overcome my fear by standing on the other side of the fence from the dog, and petting her, or tossing a tennis ball around. This built up my confidence around dogs, and I eventually was able to go into the yard and play with her or pet her without needing to be separated by a fence. Because of this dog, I was able to be around other dogs, but it took me awhile afterwards, because not all dogs are quite so calm and quiet. I still tried to be around dogs that weren’t quite so calm so that I could live without my fear of dogs.
My fear originated when I was two. It was the Forth of July, and I was in the parade that went through our neighborhood. There was a big black dog, which was huge compared to me, and it jumped on me, not meaning anything. Since I had been so little, with this huge thing jumping on me, I became afraid of dogs. It didn’t help my fear at all when the same dog jumped on me again, a few months later. I was quite convinced at that point that all dogs that were larger than me (basically all dogs), were out to get me. Eventually, our next door neighbor’s dog, Cassie, helped me to get over my fear, even though it took a while. It doesn’t matter to me how long it took now, because I am just glad that I am over my fear of dogs. I can see that it was helpful to me when I was younger to try to be around dogs so that I could overcome my fear.
I now know that trying to overcome your fear of something, no matter how crazy and ridiculous it might seem at that point, is worth it. Even if it takes you years and years, it is still worth it to be able to be around your fear, like dogs for example, and not need that huge barrier in between you and the thing you fear. If you can do that, you won’t have to live your life around your fear, but instead you can like it doing whatever you want. Maybe you might never totally be able to overcome your fear, but I believe that if you can at least get to a point of being somewhat comfortable around it, then you won’t be afraid to take a chance and try something that might involve your fear.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.