Tamper it for they will never go away…
Oct 13th 2022 4 min read
There is nothing to fear but fear itself – Franklin D Roosevelt.
This powerful phrase has guided my life largely and will continue to tease me for the rest of my life.
My list of fears is long. Some still reside in me despite my knowing that I can overcome them.
I fear it because it’s unknown.
I fear it because it may be dangerous.
I fear because I may die.
Many fears are unfounded. It’s not like facing a predatory animal where the human is more likely to be killed.
Staying in my comfort zone does not allow me to discover the wonders of living. It does not stimulate my senses nor does it make me more knowledgeable and confident.
My first fear was public speaking. I had no clue how to conduct myself and speak appropriately and sensibly. That did cause me to lose many opportunities in life. I think it was just the fear of looking stupid, having nothing to say, and being judged.
It took me many years to enroll in courses to break my fear. At the British Council, Dale Carnegie Course, Sylvia McCully’s course, and finally SIM2 Toastmasters club. I find Toastmasters club not only more structural and economical, but it is also more effective.
30 years with Toastmasters have seen insidious personal growth and that is directly proportional to my extent of active participation in its program. Nevertheless, the opportunity to give speeches guided by proper manuals, effective evaluations by experienced Toastmasters, and also the chance to develop leadership qualities by being an exco member largely contribute to my personal and career growth.
Speaking is cathartic, it is healing. It builds self-confidence and self-esteem. The fear may not totally go away but it is certainly tamed with practice and experience.
My second fear was of the sea. I would never go into the deep because I could not swim at first. During my U days, I started to tread in the pool water at a depth not enough to drown me, and watched by a friend eventually enabled me to swim.
For years, my husband who was an avid scuba diver would coax me to take lessons and regaled me with stories of the beautiful marine life and the fishes.
One day, I did sign up for the course and had theory plus pool and sea training.
The first time in the sea was quite hilarious. As the environment was new to me, I was terrified of what could be lurking around me. I stayed so close to my instructor that our air tanks collided in the sea a few times, sending the sound reverberating through the blue and certainly could have summoned some unsavory creatures our way.
But with time and numerous ‘scary’ dives, I became more relaxed and appreciative of the colorful marine life around me and how the fishes were swimming without a care about the tumultuous world above them.
My fear of the sea had largely diminished when I learned more about safe scuba diving, keeping to its protocol, and remaining calm under all circumstances to deal with the situation at hand.
My third fear is that of being alone — in a dark place, a foreign land, or an unknown environment. This is tough because you really do not know what to expect.
I remembered the first time I went to Male, which is the Capital of The Maldives, supposedly to meet up with my husband who would arrive from Colombo.
It was the early hours and in the surrounding darkness of the small airport which could be described as a simple building, I arrived to a sea of beaming faces, and white teeth eagerly wanting to know where I wanted to go. I was to take the speedboat to Olhuveli, an island about one hour away.
Fear seized me. Why were these people so friendly? I held my belongings tightly and asked them where they were from. When the right resort name came up, I boarded the speedboat, relieved that there were a few other tourists.
When we reached the resort, still in pitch darkness, the bell boy in his sarong attire carried my luggage and we walked at least 50m along a dark rocky path to a two-storey nondescript building and I was ushered to a ground-floor room. I was too fearful to say anything and hoped that my husband would show up soon. He did not.
I slept with the lights and my shoes on. I did fell asleep, probably exhausted from fear. The next day, when I woke up and drew the curtains, I was mesmerized by the view of the turquoise color sea. The morning breeze refreshed me, the trees swayed and the birds chirped. I was in paradise. The fear was imagined and my husband soon turned up, delayed in Colombo and unable to establish connections with the resort. We had no internet and mobiles then.
These are still my main fears but they are somewhat subdued by self-reasoning, proper planning, and prayer. What would I do? I think it is best to keep doing it and wonderful things can happen because you enter a different realm and a whole new experience.
Fears will always be there but I have decided to seize fear by its ugly head. I will still take calculated risks because that is the only way to live.