The Reality of Fear

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You’re not afraid of heights, you’re afraid of falling.
— Unknown

Last night at Toastmasters I gave a speech on my journey of overcoming my acrophobia - more commonly know as the fear of heights. In my research for the speech I came across this quote that I found quite profound (though I still haven’t been able to find out who the author is). As my speech began to take shape, I found myself going back to the quote - the words swirling in my head and I knew a monologue was brewing.   

You’re not scared of the dark, you’re scared of what’s in it.
You’re not afraid of heights, you’re afraid of falling.
You’re not afraid of the people around you,
you’re afraid of rejection.
You’re not afraid to love, you’re just afraid
of not being loved back.
You’re not afraid to let go, you’re just afraid to accept the reality that he’s gone.
You’re not afraid to try again, you’re just afraid of getting hurt for the same reason.

F-E-A-R, a thought-provoking, four letter F word that walks alongside us can either be a barrier or the motivator. It depends on your perspective. Whether in life, love, your job or your self-image - to feel fear is a natural human instinct of perceived self-preservation. You see danger is real, we learn to identify it from an early age - it’s what stops us from putting our hands over a flame too long in case we get burned. Fear on the other hand is the seed planted in a way of thinking that clings on to the worst case scenario of the spectrum.

I think it’s healthy to have some level of fear - a sprinkle now and then. I’ve been called a free spirit a lot, not because I show no fear, but because I’m not as afraid to give things a try as I used to be. Maybe as a lover it’s a good thing, but as a future wife, we’ll have to wait and see.

Looking back on my dating experience since the separation, it’s certainly not perfect. I don’t think I’ve made too many mistakes along the way and I’ve learned a lot from it. What the quote has reminded me though is that the anatomy of healing is never straightforward, nor is it always logical. As my friend Steph told me often, “Change happens when the fear of staying in the same place is greater than the fear of changing.”

I know that I will continue to make those same mistakes until I go back to my point of creation, acknowledge it and uncreate all those labels that I put on myself. To unveil each layer of my fear based thoughts about life and love and let go of expectations of how it should look like. If we were truly meant to be omniscient, fear probably wouldn’t exist.

I’m OK with the idea of dating, but love, at least the romantic kind, that’s still in the much distant future. Not because I’m putting it on a metaphorical pedestal, I just don’t know what it will look like for me yet so I don’t know what I’m supposed to be looking for. Just because I’m afraid of some things it doesn’t mean I’m flawed, it’s just a way to describe a feeling. Neither good or bad, just a feeling.

W. Clement Stone put it best when he said, “Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” I think that’s very good advice, so I’m going to stick to it.

Ronna Grace Funtelar

A thirtyish storyteller, hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.