Should you always do what scares you?

It can be good to face your fears and do what scares you – even for highly sensitive people.

Certain situations that feel dangerous, such as giving a talk or taking a plane, can become commonplace once one has done it enough.

For example, I’m not yet completely comfortable with flying, but I’m counting on it being alright once I’ve gotten more used to it. I want to be able to give talks in all of Europe.

When we do what scares us, we expand our range of action. If we avoid doing what scares us, we risk confining it.

However, it’s not every time that I choose to overcome my fear. When I was in Stockholm last summer there was the option of taking a lift down to the underground train system. I watched other people get into the elevator and disappear below the surface of the earth. When I imagined myself getting in the elevator, I stiffened with anxiety.

I could have forced myself to try it anyway. And I could have taken the elevator up and down until it became unremarkable, familiar and quite alright.

But, as I asked myself, ”Why should I, when there’s also a stairway down to the underground?” Had I actually lived in Stockholm I might have chosen differently.

Even though there’s something that scares us, we don’t have to avoid it – avoidance can become a vicious circle, which restricts one’s repertoire more and more.

We can make the choice to take on our fears. If the desire for what we’ll gain from doing the “dangerous” thing is strong enough, we usually choose to expose ourselves to the discomfort and habituate ourselves to that which initially fills us with anxiety.

The joy of conquering new territory can be profound and worth more than all the discomfort and unease.

Sincerely, Ilse Sand

Read more about Highly Sensitive People

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