Recently I have discovered that I have a fear of heights. I think I have had this fear my whole life but I denied it. I think that denying actually sort of worked and helped me overcome the fear most of the time.
I always got that sort of queasy feeling whenever I was up high, like my stomach was flipping around. But in my head I would tell myself, “you’re not afraid of heights, it’s all fine”. I somehow found myself in these situations pretty often actually. My sport of choice during high school was competitive diving, which means I jumped of high towers into water. Not exactly the sport for someone who is afraid of heights, right? Whenever I got to the top of the tower my stomach flipped but I jumped anyway because if I didn’t then I failed. Even though everyone once in a while, I landed flat on my back and there was a huge smacking noise and an audible gasp from everyone on the pool deck. And for some crazy reason, you shake it off and try again.
Lately, I have taken up rock climbing. Not outside on the side of a mountain or anything, just in a climbing gym. This is where I really discovered my fear of heights. In a climbing gym, there are two “types” of climbing, bouldering which is climbing walls about 10 ft. high without a harness, or regular climbing which is with a harness where you actually climb about 50 ft. or higher. I only boulder because you need extra training to climb higher with a harness. Climbing without a harness is scary. The floor is basically crash mats but if you fall wrong you could easily still get hurt. Because the walls are relatively short, you can climb to the top and not even realize you’re that high up until you’re done. I found that while I was climbing I felt fine, but as I got over the top and was standing above, I got a fast rush of adrenaline and my hands shook and my stomach did that flippy, queasy thing. It was a great feeling and a scary feeling all at once.
It was during this time I realized that I have had a fear of heights all along. But overcoming that fear and doing these scary things is way more satisfying than simply not doing it because it’s scary and there’s a chance of falling. There is a lot more to gain than there is to lose when it comes to conquering your fears. Even if you don’t succeed the very first time, you now have a goal, something to accomplish. And even just trying the thing that is scary is a small accomplishment within itself. Doing it over and over again to improve is simply something to work at. I think this applies to almost every fear, and I understand that some fears are harder to overcome than others. But you should always at least take a step, no matter how small, toward overcoming that fear because you will always be stronger after. And when someone asks you about it, you can say you tried, even if you never plan on doing it again.
What are some of your fears? Have you tried to overcome them? What strategies work for you when it comes to dealing with your fears? Please share your opinions and experiences in the comments!
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!