Believe in Yourself, Take Action, Become What You Might Be

We are sometimes faced with a situation we did not plan, our worst nightmare come true. I want to tell you about my experience on a trekking trip to the top of Mount Aconcagua. It is not about overcoming the fear of heights, but, to share how I learned that it is our response to these situations that will determine how it will affect us.

This could not be happening to me! I must be having a bad dream! I will wake up soon in my warm comfortable sheets and it will all be over. I never woke up! I was not dreaming! This was real! I was on the edge of the mountain and expected to get across. How did this happen? The sales clerk did not tell me it would be like this. I would have never taken this trip had I known.  He recommended this trekking trip for beginners with no prior experience.

The climb started off smooth. We were a group of five including the guide and my 17 year old niece. It was a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere. All was great until we were about half way up and suddenly took a sharp turn.

Now, I was standing on a path alongside a thirty foot cliff. It was so narrow that I could only place one foot at a time on the ground. Every step was a crucial one, one false move would send me off the side. I could feel my heart beating in my throat. My legs started to tremble, my mouth was dry. I analyzed my surroundings; maybe I could make my way back to the refuge. All around me there was nothing but mountains. No signs of civilization. I would surely get lost if I turned back. How was I going to get out of this? To make matters worse, it started raining. Great! Now I was cold, my shoes were wet, and the rocks were moist from the rain. In desperation, I thought of asking the guide if someone could come get me by helicopter, there was no way I could do this! I was falling behind, I asked the others to stop for a drink of water to buy some time and try to get myself together. My inner voice was telling me “you are never going to make it, if you keep going, you will get dizzy, trip and fall off this mountain”.

Just then, my niece turned to me and said “isn’t this the most beautiful sight you have ever seen? Are you ready to continue, I can’t wait to get to the top”. I was taken in by her energy and her eagerness to get to the top. Up until now I had not even looked around me… I hadn’t even noticed the beautiful scenery! All of a sudden I became curious, what would it feel like to be standing on the top of this mountain. I want to know! I had come this far, nothing bad has happened. This time my inner voice was encouraging me, “you can do this, you are missing out on an adventure of a lifetime! You need to capture the beauty of this mountain. Stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong!”. My niece had inspired me! I realized that the reason she was enjoying this trip was because she did not have fear stopping her. I wanted to feel the same determination and excitement about reaching the top. My curiosity got the best of me. “I am ready, let’s go” I shouted back.

It was not easy to completely let go of my fear. Carefully, making sure my foot was completely grounded before taking another step without looking down. With each step I took, I grew more confident; each step seemed to get easier.

As we continued our climb, I faced other challenges. I was not at the point of being adventurous enough to climb down some of the flat surfaced slippery rocks on foot. However, I no longer felt paralyzed with fear! I no longer wanted a helicopter to come get me! I got creative, squatted and went down the rocks on my bum. So it was bumpy and wet, at least I got down in one piece.  It was exciting to be able to face challenges and search for ways to get past them. Soon, I gained enough confidence to advance to the front of the line right behind the guide. Watching her, I learned some of her techniques. The way she placed her foot, slightly pointing outward actually prevented slipping. Going up slightly diagonally, reduced the falling sensation in the pit of my stomach. I was on fire, although the climb was just as difficult, it felt easier.

I was on top of the world, in the middle of a big heavy cloud, overlooking all of Mendoza. We had reached the top.

My initial response in this situation was fear of falling, I was not confident that I could actually get to the top. I thought of every possible bad thing that could happen. In essence, I become my worst enemy. As soon as I shifted my response to curiosity, I started visualizing myself at the top. This thought brought an excitement, which lead to being creative and gain confidence to keep going till I reached my end goal. In doing so, not only did I enjoy my adventure, I feel I can take on other adventures. It helped me to gain the courage I needed to let go of everything and follow my dream.

The unknown is a major source of our fear. You imagine the outcome to be a lot worse that it actually is. By analyzing the given situation and making plans to move forward, you will begin to gain confidence. Feeling sorry for yourself, complaining about it will keep you stagnant and  will not change the situation. In taking action, you will gain knowledge and experience. There is a first time for everything, start off with small steps, you will gain confidence to control your fear and realize your full potential. Each fall along the way is part of learning and an opportunity to grow. Remember when you first learned to ride a bike, how many times did you fall? Did you give up? Why did you keep on trying?

If you know someone who is going through a difficult situation, share this post with them, encourage them to keep going forward, they will prevail in the end and become stronger!

If you enjoyed this post, please share it by clicking the buttons at the bottom and posting comments below to let me know and share your thoughts with others.

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This entry was posted in Cleansing Your Beliefs, Curiosity For Knowledge, Power to Let Go and tagged , , , , .

7 Responses to Believe in Yourself, Take Action, Become What You Might Be

  1. Pingback: The Number One Thing Keeping You From The Life You Want

  2. Nathaniel Flint says:

    It reminds me of a passage in William Shakespeare’s King Richard III.

    ACT II
    Scene 2

    QUEEN ELIZABETH
    Ah, who shall hinder me to wail and
    weep,
    To chide my fortune, and torment myself?
    I’ll join with black despair against my soul
    And to myself become an enemy.

    N.

  3. Nikki says:

    I read this today: Sometimes in life, things may happen to you that seem horrible, painful, and unfair, but in reflection, you find that without overcoming those obstacles, you would have never realized your potential, strength, willpower, or heart. “If you want a rainbow, you have to put up with the rain”.
    It made me think of your post. Each of us throughout our lives are faced with obstacles at some point and they are meant to make us stronger and show us our potential. All we control when these obstacles are placed in front of us is our reaction to them.
    Although our knee jerk reaction to difficult situations is fear, when we are able to overcome that fear, we become that much stronger.
    Your message is powerful, we need to believe in ourselves and overcome our fears, step back and say “I can do this!”
    I will definitely keep this is mind in the days to come as I make some difficult choices in my life that scare the crap out of me!!
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

    • Nathaniel Flint says:

      What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

      -Friedrich Nietzsche

      I would like to alter this phrase that has been so many times debased.

      What doesn’t kill us makes (some of) us stronger; the rest are just left crippled.

      😉

      N.

  4. jean kukla says:

    Very inspiring! I love to read your stuff; you write very well. I sort of have a project in mind which involves a lot of fear and change…I’d rather not elaborate for now ( dont want to jinx it) but I would enjoy sharing it with you in the near future; perhaps you have some good advice for me…You go girl

    • antonia says:

      Hi Jean, That’s amazing!! Go for it…I will be more than happy to help in any way possible.

  5. Sylvain says:

    Hi Antonia!

    It’s funny… I’ve experienced a very similar mountain experience lately.

    I went for a hiking trip (I did a few of those last summer) and the description just mentioned we had to go through an elevation.

    Once there… I realized the elevation was not a hilly road or standard path. It was in the forest, and we had to climb the mountain through rocks and gripping trees, etc.

    On the way up, it’s easy… all it takes is leg power… which I have plenty. But all the way up I kept thinking about the way down.. hope there was a magic road on the other side to return to road level. After having lunch on top of the small mountain (about 200 m high), during which I did enjoy the view… but still worried about getting down.

    On level ground and on the way up I was always on the top of the pack… walking and talking to the guide. But on the way down, I knew I’d face a challenge so I decided to place myself in the middle of the group.

    The return path was very hard for me… yes, it was very slippery (rain a lot the day before), lots of mud and steep rocks. Lost footing on a few occasions, stopped by trees.

    On many occasions, I was very hesitant to go on and wanted to stop to let others pass me… but the path wasn’t wide enough for that. What kept me going is that I didn’t want to delay the ones behind me.

    I did get down with all my limbs intact, and was happy to have succeeded in that challenge. It’s not the type of walk I enjoy and I will most likely not renew the experience for now, but I know I can do something like that now.

    On other aspects of life, I’m learning the hard way these days the implementation of what is known as the Serenity Prayer:

    Grant me the serenity
    To accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    Facing very frustrating situations, which I tried to actively influence but without success, I’m learning to let go… and take a distance from those. It’s not easy for someone driven by passion, but it’s a necessity to be eaten alive by our own emotions.

    It’s still upsetting to have to face those situations when I know how it could be much different, but trying to accept them at face value rather than looking at their rotten base helps to go through another day.

    As goes the wisdom saying: Life is 10% what’s happening to me and 90% on how I react to it.

    It’s just sometimes so difficult to take another point of view than the one that yields bad feelings and make the switch like the one you did with the help of your niece.

    Sylvain