To Overcome a Fear

thinking-will-not-overcome-fear-but-action-will-action-quoteEverybody have fears in them and sometimes it may be silly, serious, small, or large.  Fear lives within everyone.  However, if you try hard enough to conquer those fears, you can ultimately become fearless.  Like someone would say, when you fall off a horse, you don’t quit, you get up and try again.  I have many fears myself, large and small, too many to even name but over time I have learned to conquer some of it.  I believe that getting over fears build self-esteem and confidence.  It can even make you stronger.

I learned from my psychology/sociology class in high school that fears are usually provoked by a tremendous experience in one’s life. One of my many fears was to turn left in a car because it brings up an accident I had four years ago. But as I kept reminding myself to be careful every time I am at an intersection. I eventually got over that fear. That goes to show that anybody can conquer their own fears if they tried.

My biggest fear, however, is water and it got started when I was very young.  Actually, it began when I was about four.  I was in preschool and one day, the teacher said “Class, I think you are ready to learn to swim.” I was ecstatic at the announcement and was very eager to learn and prove myself.

As we gathered by the pool, the teacher explained, “The first step in learning to swim is to be comfortable in water.  So he showed us that by walking around in the water with both hands holding the side rails will help our bodies adjust to the temperature of the water.  I tried my best not to flinch at the temperature of the cold water as I slowly walked around the pool, trailing a little behind my fellow classmates.

As I caught up with my classmates, the teacher gathered our attention and instructed, “The next step is to let go of the rail and start walking toward the center of the pool.”  I began to feel nervous, but my fear only lasted a second as I slowly let go of the side rails and walked slowly to the center.  It was a strange feeling to let go of the rails, it felt like my heart was beating against the water as I waded to my teacher.

After I finally rejoined my classmates at the center of the pool, the teacher told us that the next step was to walk back to the rail and while both hands holding the rails, take a breath, submerge our heads underwater for few seconds and lift back up.  Okay, that sounds easy enough.  Gripping the side rail tight, I took a deep breath and lowered my head under water.  The sensation was pleasant and horrifying at the same time and I quickly lifted up my head back up while my heart pounded violently against my chest.

I saw my classmates all managed to complete the task, too.  They also looked as though they were enjoying it. Then, the teacher signaled us with a whistle to join him in the center once again.  Once the entire class gathered at the center, the teacher assigned us the final exercise which is to practice submerging our heads anywhere in the pool but the side.  He wanted us to dip our heads underwater and be able to lift back up without holding onto anything.

I began to feel terrified, if it took all my strength to lift my head out of the water when I was holding the side rails, how will I get out of the water if I have nothing to hold?  I took a deep breath and closed my eyes as I lowered my head into the water.  Seconds later, I tried with all my might to emerge to the surface of the pool but I couldn’t somehow, the water was holding me down.  I felt like I was drowning as I felt my hands was clawing at the surface.  Fortunately, I suddenly felt arms under me as someone lifted my head out of the water and slowly guided me back to the side.

I became unawared of my classmates’ staring, all I wanted to do was to get out of the water at the exact moment.  I can endure their teasing later.  Years later, I can still remember that day as my disastrous swimming lesson, I still wanted to learn to swim, so I was sent to many one-on-one swimming lessons but all were unsuccessful.

Until I moved to Austin, Texas, I never wanted to get into a pool again except to sit alone at poolside dangling my feet into the water.  It wasn’t until I was sick of the humidity that I had to get into the pool.  At that moment, I was suddenly determined to teach myself to swim no matter what.  My mom bought me a swimming mask and flotation device for me to use in the pool.  Then using the mask to seal my eyes and nose from water, I began to practice my submerging, from holding the side of the pool to holding nothing, I eventually got over my fear and began to swim underwater.

Fear takes time to conquer but if you don’t try, you will never succeed.  By conquering my fear over water, it goes to show that with hard work, anything can happen.

Originally written for the 10th speech in the Toastmaster Competent Communicator Series.
Originally posted on December 31, 2014
Revised and Re-posted on September 16, 2015

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17 thoughts on “To Overcome a Fear

  1. Glad you conquered your fear of water/swimming, same with other kinds of fear it takes time to disappear. It is important to face your fear and possibly feel it every now and then. You will be surprised that after a few tries you already learned to get hold of it, then finally you’re abled to embrace your fear. Keep trying and never give up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s inspiring the way you conquered your fear! 😀 I’m terrified of the dark because of an incident when I was just 4. My uncle locked me up in a dark room to scare me for a while but it soon turned sour when I took it too hard. Somedays when I’m feeling brave I don’t switch on the night light while sleeping and even though I barely sleep though the night, I always feel extremely proud of myself in the morning! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey fears are meant to only realize that they never existed in the first place.
    They are just reluctant fundamentalists 😜
    They wanna keep you from doing what you want…
    Liked the way you got over it..

    Pls go thru my latest blogpost thats also on fear but FOMO 😂😂
    Pls give me your feedback.. its a different take of mine

    Liked by 1 person

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