It's not the climb up that creates the fear. It's not even a fear of heights itself. It's the fear of FALLING. That's the insight I received on my hike yesterday.
I noticed that I felt some fear about a very small climb I wanted to do to catch a better view. As I stood there tracing the path up with my eyes, I could very easily see myself reaching the top with no problems. It was when my eyes began searching for the way back down, that's when the fear hit. I couldn't see myself coming back down without losing my footing, slipping, and falling.
I stood there a few moments, feeling the pulse of fear. I finally decided that the view at the top would be worth it and as suspected, climbed the little incline with ease. I stood there a moment taking in the view. Then I realized, I didn't even have to go back down the same way I came up! There was a whole other path in front of me that required no additional climbing and that still led me to my ultimate destination!
I reflected on this more as I continued to hike - it's never been a fear of the climb for me. Whether I'm hiking, climbing a ladder, or the time I did the ropes course and had to step off a high platform to rappel down - I've always had that thought, "What if I fall? What if I get hurt?"
Later toward the end of my hike - I did fall. It was a flat area; I just slipped and lost my footing on some loose gravel. I fell pretty hard and hurt my hand a little. But guess what - I jumped right up, brushed myself off and kept walking.
I remembered how many times I have fallen already - on hikes and while doing other activities, and metaphorically - falling, stumbling, and making mistakes in my life experiences. But every time I've fallen, I've gotten back up and carried on.
I'm facing a couple of big mountains in my life right now - I can see myself getting to the top but I've hesitated in committing to the climb. I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on the specific beliefs, stories, and fears that have been holding me back and doing the work to address those head on.
I have to make the choice that reaching the summit will be worth it, even if I stumble along the way. I have to fully commit to my own vision and goals.
If I want to reach the summit, I have to keep climbing. I have to stop being afraid of the fall. I have to remind myself that fear serves a purpose, it is there to keep me safe... and then I have to choose to keep moving forward anyway.
If I've learned anything about myself the past few years, it's that I CAN get through the hard stuff. I CAN survive whatever happens. I CAN rely on myself.
What mountains are you facing in your life? What are the specific fears that have been holding you back? Are you ready to move forward anyway?