I’ve been discussing these topics of love vs fear based decisions along with worthiness/ approval, and how to navigate our feelings to find those things internally. I wanted to talk about an experience from the weekend that challenged me when it came to all of the above and to remind you that this is a constant practice, that it is something I work on every single day. And while it may not always be easy, it is always worth it.
We went rock climbing this past weekend. Now, let me give you a quick run down on my history with this climbing thing. Over the past 2 years or so I’ve learned that it is an extremely vulnerable activity for me.. Sooooo much uncomfortableness for my entire being. I am deathly afraid of heights, where only a few years ago I would have been extremely panicky on a short ladder and where one of the easier hikes in Boulder threw me into a shaky mess where I clung onto whatever I could and stayed as far away from the edges as possible. Simply watching someone climbing gave me the hebejebes. The first time I climbed inside, in Ohio, I cried when I got back to the ground.
So upon meeting and dating Eric, someone who was OBSESSED with climbing, I was thrown head first into the deep end of uncomfortableness. There is something about fear and being scared that opens all of the doors of vulnerability. It’s like standing absolutely naked in front of a huge crowd of strangers and saying here I am, all of my insecurities, deepest fears, and truest of true feelings uncensored. So taking one of your greatest fears and doing it over and over again in one day brings out some really deep shit. And being around a group of people who seem to be fearless doing this thing that makes me shake in my boots is frustrating. It's hard not to feel less than. It's hard not to compare..
I have been climbing for almost 2 years now and I had been making it a pretty consistent thing in my life, which really helped with the fears. Eric and I were climbing almost every day, whether it be in the gym or outside, I was faced with that fear of heights on a pretty regular basis and I got pretty good at talking myself down when I started feeling those things. And you know what? It became FUN.. That feeling of dancing over the rock, feeling like super woman when you figure out a sequence of moves on a burly climb. It's so empowering, you feel so strong.
It feels amazinggg to work through the fear and find something so unexpected and joyful at the end of all of it.
Fast forward to this past weekend. This was the 4th time I was climbing on ropes since the beginning of July after both Eric and I experienced some finger injuries forcing us to take a couple of months off. Before our injuries, we had been on a climbing trip and had been climbing outside for about 2 ½ weeks straight. So after making an IMMENSE amount of progress and coming back to square one and having allll of those fears come back on a climb that you would have breezed through a few months ago is soooo disheartening. It's so frustrating. Having all sorts of vulnerable feelings swarming through my body, I started searching desperately for some sort of approval, for someone to say, “you’re good enough.”
So for almost the entire day climbing on Saturday, I let those fears of not being good enough consume my entire being and let this heaviness hold me hostage. Where the blinders of approval seeking covered up all of the good and beauty that I was surrounded with. You know that feeling?
Rather than owning the fears and vulnerabilities that come with it, we tend to cover them up with thoughts and actions that don’t benefit us and in turn put us (and potentially others) in an unhappy state of being. Yes, sometimes we have to cry up there on the wall and say I'm f*cking scared right now, but the important part is to then realize that we don’t have to let those fears drive the bus.
Recognizing our feelings and OWNING our vulnerabilities are the two keys to unlocking our love. Because being curious about our feelings and accepting our vulnerableness can then show us the two paths we can take.
As soon as I realized what I was doing, I was able to start working through my internal battle: The fear of heights and the vulnerabilities that came with it triggered feelings of frustration, which lead to comparison, self criticism, and blame/excuses which lead to seeking for approval/worthiness because I was feeling less than. By getting clear on my triggers, feelings, and the way I was reacting, I could then choose to make my next choices out of love rather than continuing to make my fear based decisions. Does that make sense?? In this case I decided to find that approval within rather than continuing to search externally. To be gentle with myself and proud of any and all progress, regardless of the other peoples skills/abilities/thoughts around me.
Folks, it’s HARD. Trust me, I know. It took a day and a half of sulking and fear based decisions for me to snap out of it. But just like making climbing a habit to work through my fear of heights, we can make choosing love a habit by practicing it every single damn day. Being able to sit down and understand the reasons, the who, why, what, where, and how for our actions and reactions is the first step to tackling these fear based decisions.
We DO have the ability to calm our fears and we don’t have to hand them the driver's seat. We have the choice to take off the weight and heaviness that fear brings. To choose to look at all of the good and beauty around us and within ourselves - to choose love. Once I chose that love, I had a spectacular climbing day, I enjoyed the time I had with those around me, and I tried some stuff that I wouldn’t have the day before because I was so consumed with my fears. And you guys, it was so fun.