“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

                                                           ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I have a dear friend who started taking piano lessons a couple of years ago. She’d played as a child, but it had been decades since she’d sat at a piano.

Recently her teacher gathered his students together for an in-house recital. There was no audience except the other students. My friend recounted how nervous she was at having to play in front of anyone.

She described the lump in her throat and the way her hands shook.

And yet she did it. Played her songs beautifully in spite of her fear, or maybe because of it.

By pushing through her fear, she learned she could do it.

And do it well.

I remember when Pepper first came into my life.

I was terrified of her.

All I could see was a large, unpredictable animal that wanted to kick me. That wasn’t Pepper at all, but my fear led my brain for a while.

Those first few times on her back were pure fear, even though I’d ridden some as a kid. Each time I faced my fear, I came out on the other side calmer and much more confident.

Dr. Susan Jeffers, author and psychologist says, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Good advice.

I’ll never forget the snowy winter afternoon years ago when I went by myself to feed the horses. My husband was recuperating from surgery and I was on my own. This was before we were doing daily supplemental feedings. We usually went together a couple of times a week.

Emphasis on the word “together.”

But now it was up to me.

And as luck would have it, there was a breakout.

When I put our two old sweeties back into the pasture, Red and one of his buddies pushed past me, blowing through the open gate into the adjoining field. A few other renegades made it out before I got the gate closed.

Then came the fun of catching the breakout team.

I use the word fun lightly.

I was scared and imagined all sorts of terrible endings:

  • Never getting the horses back in the pasture
  • The horses making it to the road and getting hit by a car (this was pure fantasy because it simply couldn’t happen except in my fear-spiked brain)
  • Getting kicked or trampled by freedom-crazed horses
  • Being asked to take our horses to another facility

Just the act of writing this makes me feel silly.

None of these was even an option.

Other boarders saw what was going on and came to help.

It took a bit of doing, but we rounded the horses up and got them back inside the pasture in fairly short order.

At the end, I was exhausted.

Tired, cold and exhilarated.

Yes, exhilarated.

I had faced a fear and come out on the other side of it.

As a bonus, I learned a more efficient way to open the gate.

And I learned that I could do it. I could get the horses back in.

So now, it isn’t a big monster lurking in my psyche.

Sure, I have other monsters to face.

But on this one, I’m good.

I could go on, but this is probably enough about me for one reading. Maybe I’ll tell you about more of my fears in another post.

In the meantime, what fears have you faced down?

I’d love to know.