He doesn’t really like the water. He won’t jump in and he feels like he has to wear his life-jacket all the time. His smile is huge as he heavily scoops through the water in the neon green and royal blue safety gear. But any mention of getting out and going near the edge of the pool to take it any further than that brings him to tears.
He’s nearly six years old.
And he’s my son.
It breaks my heart to see him cry. It hurts to see him be afraid. I have to remind myself that this is part of life. His life. My life. Everyone’s life.
We all have fears and insecurities. Simple statement but very complex relationships exist in this space. Some fears developed early in the life and we can’t seem to shake them without a good dose of therapy. And rightfully so, I have met one too many individuals through my work in television news that were seriously traumatized.
There are other fears that seem so slight, but can spin us into panic when we encounter them. When I was almost five years old, I was riding my Barbie Hot Wheels down a ramp at the back of our house in the country and my younger sister was with me. At the bottom of the ramp, a garden snake. Surprised the you-know-what out of me. If I remember all of this correctly, I think my sister may have chipped a baby tooth in the midst of the chaos that snake caused. I haven’t given snakes a second chance since. No matter the size of the glass between us even at the zoo, I still get a little light-headed thinking about who they are and what they’re able to do.
Water. Snakes. Those are fears we can name. They’re physical.
Fear of failure, fear of never being successful, fear of being disliked, and fear of deep relationships… those are the thing that we can name but take on so many different forms in our life.
In the last year, I’ve heard the words “fail forward” so many times. As a new business owner the saying seemed ridiculous to me, but now I’m starting to embrace it. I’ve done things I didn’t think I could. I’ve seen and heard things that rock me to my psychological core. But no matter what, I don’t give up. I’m in this race for a reason. The skills developed in the midst of fear and insecurity are skills honed in fire. Like metal, they’re reinforced by the heat and once you have them as a part of you—they’re incredibly difficult to lose.
So, let me tell you—you can face that fear. You can go past your breaking point. And break into a new part of your life. There is hope amidst insecurity, even though we don’t always see it or feel it.
I’m sitting here, a happenstance business owner that has found passion in a new area of work, and I’m not giving up on myself. I’m sitting here typing this blog because I’m not giving up on this 31 day challenge.
And I’m not going to let you give up on you.
We’re about to take a trip where my son will have to confront the water. He’ll hang onto his life-jacket. But maybe, just maybe, he’ll take it off for a second and experience his fear in a way that becomes freedom. I can hope and believe that’s the case.