Have you ever watched a toddler squeal with delight while being spun around? Without batting an eye or hesitating for a moment, young children will usually jump into a parent’s or caregiver’s arms, and be spun, jostled and bounced around, with no thought about personal safety.
Ever been to an amusement park with thrill seekers eager to board the biggest roller coaster in sight? The steeper the hills and the more dangerous the twists and loops, the more excitement seems to pulsate through the crowded lines.
What causes one to be fearless? To face a challenging situation head-on with no worry of hurt, harm, or injury, whether that risk is physical, emotional, or mental? Is it foolishness? Reckless abandonment?
I would suggest that it is trust.
A toddler dangling from a loved one’s arms trusts that those arms are secure and will forever be safe. A passenger on a rollercoaster assumes that the seat and train will stay intact, the restraint system will work, and the physics holding everything together will not fail. Trust is the unspoken factor, the underlying motivator in risky situations. When we trust that whatever is supporting us will maintain that support, we can move forward with fearlessness, no matter how scary the hill or dizzying the spin.
Are you facing a situation in your life that requires fearlessness? Do you have a choice to make that is testing your bravery? It is normal – actually expected – for you to feel nervous and a little anxious. Indeed, that is your body’s way of helping to protect you; of ensuring that you fully understand the risks in front of you; of forcing you to make adjustments to address realistic concerns. However, before you move forward and take action, examine where your trust lies. What assumptions have you made about your situation, your support system, and yourself? What do you believe will happen or not happen and why?
Bravery in itself is not foolish, but the reasons for bravery can be. Our abilities to successfully engage in difficult tasks are affected by the frameworks that support our efforts. Those frameworks are constructed from our personal beliefs and assumptions, our self-assessments and appraisals, as well as indisputable truths which we cannot control.
At the foundation, or core, of our framework is where we find our trust. Whether on solid rock or shaky sand, we all build our lives on foundations that shape our assumptions, that color our expectations, that direct our actions and convict us to stand, to fall back, or to move forward. Examine the where, the why, the how and the who of your foundation. Figure out where your framework of support – your trust – lies.
And if your trust is in a sure, sound place, be free to be fearless.
This article is intended for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please contact The Stone Foundation by clicking here, or by phone at 410-296-2004.
Leslie J. Sherrod, MSW, LGSW, is an outreach social worker at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She also has experience providing psychotherapy to children, teens, adults, and families. She is the author of several inspirational novels, including Without Faith, Losing Hope, Secret Place, and Like Sheep Gone Astray. Visit her website at www.LeslieJSherrod.com for more information.
Facebook: Leslie J. Sherrod; Twitter: @lesliejsherrod