Conquer Your Fears By Facing Them

As humans, we naturally fear certain things in life – fear is either innate or put into our heads because of our upbringing, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that fear really is a choice and has everything to do with your perception of a situation.

I’ll give you what you might view as a silly example in my own life:

For the longest time, I’ve been nervous – or afraid – to reverse into a parking spot. I mean, properly reverse park – not cheat park by driving into a spot or do it haphazardly when no cars are parked in the adjacent spots. I am generally a good driver, and front parking has never been an issue, but when I see people breezing into a parking space in reverse mode, I’m always like, why can’t I do that?

So for years, I’ve always avoided it at any costs, even when it’s a better option to reverse, like when you’re in a congested plaza – which reminds me of a funny side story: when I went for my G2 road test years ago, I had heard through the grapevine that if you had passed your test, your examiner would ask you to reverse park; so when mine did, I think the excitement and adrenaline took over, because I somehow (mind you 10 minutes later) managed to reverse (albeit crookedly) into a spot with two cars parked on either side – that were left unscathed. 🙂 At that time, there was no such thing as a reverse camera, and that was the only time I ever attempted it for years. My thought was, I got my license, now I’m golden and I’ll never have to bother doing that again.

Wrong!

Enter condo living – where your garage is now a communal underground parking lot with spots so tight that you sometimes wonder how a regular-sized car could even fit. I think this was God’s way of telling me that it was time to smarten up and finally face my fears because the spot I had been given was right beside a pillar and it was one of those spots where it would actually be harder to front park. Go figure!

So at first I was very nervous but also very frustrated at my inability to do this – and then I kept reminding myself that the only person stopping me from trying to get better at this was me. I have a reverse camera, I know how to navigate, but it was ultimately my deep-seeded fear that kept clouding my confidence.

So I started in increments – slowly but surely building my confidence up in snippets. I was determined to do this! I remember a friend who just breezed into a tiny spot one time when we went out – using only one hand! I kept thinking to myself, if she can do it, why can’t I? That self-annoyance was the first step to positive change. At first I would only attempt when the spot beside me was free – just to practice – and I started getting okay at that. Then came the big kahuna – reversing with a car parked on one side and a pillar on the other side and a row of cars in front of me – oh boy! My nerves automatically kicked in but inadvertently also kept me focused, and after a few (or a dozen) attempts of maneuvering back and forth – I did it! I finally backed into a spot on my own leaving my vehicle and those around me in tact. I know this sounds silly, but I was so proud of myself. It was a huge deal to me because it was something that had been gnawing at me for the longest time.

Now I’m at a point where I only reverse into my spot, but I do have those days where my sense of navigation is a bit off and it will take a couple of tries to get it right, but I stick to it and don’t give up. I also don’t get as nervous anymore because I’ve gained more confidence in my ability to do it. As they say – practice makes perfect. I might still get a little apprehensive if I were driving with other people or had an audience watching me, but the fact that I have finally developed enough confidence to at least do it at all is the first step in the right direction.

So if you find that you are hindering yourself from leading a more efficient lifestyle because of a pesky, unwavering fear – take a moment and re-evaluate that fear, think about the good that would come out of overcoming that fear, and then take those first baby steps towards achieving that goal.

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10 thoughts on “Conquer Your Fears By Facing Them

  1. I had this same fear too, still do a bit. I’m going for my G test in a month and am a bit nervous if they ask me to reverse into a spot. Yesterday, I did it perfectly. And I’ve done it properly multiple times before. But there is still that small doubt in me that the one time it’ll really matter, I’ll find a way to mess it up. So it’s encouraging to read that you got over your fear!

    1. Hi Paul, thank you for your comments and all the best on your G test! I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully! Don’t have it in your head that you’ll mess it up – be optimistic and positive and more importantly, relaxed, and you’ll be fine. I find that as soon as I start overthinking it, I struggle to get it just right, but if I allow myself to just coast and let it be, it tends to work out much better. 🙂

  2. Sarah, this was an awesome post. I say that because it was so honest and true. It was also awesome because it reminds us that we can do more, be better, strive for more–even if that striving is something small (seemingly to others, though perhaps not to yourself). Success and challenge are habits that you can put in your life.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. You’re not the only one who had a fear of reverse parking (I like that I said that in past tense)—I am still afraid of reverse parking without my camera. With my camera I’m a pro, but if I have to drive a car without one, I’ll be in trouble. What about those who reverse into a parallel park?!—Yeah that’ll take me some years to learn. Haha.

    I’m so happy you faced your fear.. I’ve been afraid of reversing onto a major road, but I had to do it by force because that’s how my country’s infrastructure is set up (third world issues).

    Great post, very inspiring 🙂

    1. Hi hun! I don’t know how I missed this. So sorry for the delay in my reply. But yes, parallel parking is another story. I’m still very rusty with that. Luckily the need to do that is even more rare. lol And I agree, the camera helps a lot but I still end up looking over my shoulder as a reflex because I’m so paranoid. lol Thank you so much for your kind words hun. 🙂

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