Posted in achievement, Change, Commitment, Development, goals, Learning, Liberation, Personal Growth, Psychology, Skills, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing

Conquering Fear: a New year’s Resolution

I want to be a fish!

For four decades plus I have never been able to conquer my biggest nemesis. Pitifully, I sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else having fun and exercise. I feel sorry for myself, wriggle in the water and make excuses, hating the splash of water coming anywhere near my eyes: simply, I can not swim.

People have tried to teach me, and yes I have had lessons at school, with a family member and more adult lessons. I get so far and then give up. The last instructor, more than 15 yrs ago, said if I gave up then, I would die a non-swimmer.

So why has this old phobia come back to haunt me again? Should I really care about my situation as a non-floater or should I just say:

“What the hell. I have many other talents, why should I care about this?”

Actually I do care, because I have become brave in so many ways just recently – that I am becoming quite rattled at letting this get the better of me. Most importantly of all, it is probably the last vestige of childhood sadness and lack of confidence that is left in my life. It reminds me of that frail girl, skinny and shy, full of doubts and hating the way she looked in a swimming costume. All those hang ups.

Every-time I get into a swimming pool, as I do with husband and daughter, I am reminded of that little person then, and I am no longer anything like her in most respects.Change is a wonderful thing if it is for the better and I have changed so much.

It is not just the layers of fat that have developed over my frame as the time has passed. Layers and layers of growth and potential have clothed and embraced me as I have knocked down fear and negativity, like a game of bowls. A true striker now and my shot gets better and steadier that I surprise myself.  Like all people, I have set backs and disappointments, but these are all part of the course.

So, how has all this change and growth come about? It is an easy answer, and one I am willing on here to share . I have had a period of excellent personal counselling. No more need be said, it was simply life-changing. 

I can truly say, without being boastful, that I love who I am now. My acceptance of myself is real as well as realistic. Strengths and weakness are acknowledged and I am never afraid of constructive comment, because I am comfortable with who I am as a whole.

Back to the swimming.

My fear of water was initiated because I had to be fished out of the water once at school. Me and my little float just sunk together. Having not forgotten this, I simply dare not take my feet of the bottom. I jump along, hold the sides as I am walking along the shallow end and bob up and down.

My Daughter learnt to swim at nine and she gets frustrated with me. My husband has never tried to teach me, knowing it would be unlikely to be fruitful. He says to me:

“Only you will make up your mind when you are going to do this.”

This exercise would be great for my female bones, at greater risk of osteoporosis as she is ageing. My back would benefit too, as I have a slight weakness there. It could shed a few pounds;how laughable that sounds from someone who weighed so little for so long, until she hit 40. But all these are added bonuses. There is one crucial reason for learning to swim for me.

My figuring is, that IF I could conquer this fear, which is the biggest of them all for me; and If this psychological barrier of fear could be overcome then what else might I be able to achieve. This is for me IT.

So, the case is strong for me to try again. I am full of doubts and my courage wax and wane. I have to book lessons, let alone get there. Always putting it off. I need to wait until the spring, summer, autumn, until my daughter can be left awhile, if my husband is on shift I tell myself. Full, of excuses and reasons to wait. 

Well, my time is now.

The saying is well known to many.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

I will certainly be feeling the fear all the way.

Whether I succeed or fail is if I can cross that mental barrier. It will takes me months I know, if I can achieve this then it will be tremendous.

Wish me luck! I will need it.



Committed to the education of children and the health and human rights of women and mankind. I also enjoy taking photographs and sometimes I write poetry.

9 thoughts on “Conquering Fear: a New year’s Resolution

  1. Just read this (been away). Very powerful and moving stuff. One thing in particular about it really made it a compelling read: the imagery.

    Regardless of the weight and the osteoperosis arguments, the central driving force through the middle is: I am reminded of that little person then, and I am no longer anything like her in most respects. It is so much about personal growth. It is about the new brave woman conquering one last thing. She is going to literally swim and no longer metaphorically drown. She is going to come up out of the waters of baptism having died to the old self (ok, I got carried away!)

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks Thinkingman, that is a lovely way of putting it.I was thinking of my blog today and imagined those lessons again.The doubts and nerves began to make it seem impossible again. Reading your comments just spures me on even more.

  3. I am a 28 yr old female and have the same fear. My swimming teacher at school would humiliate me in front of the whole class. The more she pushed me, the more I pulled in the other direction. After leaving school, I was quite content with not going again. When asked to go with friends I would make excusses. If water is splashed on my face, I panic and ask me to going underwater and I will freak out! Various people have tried to teach me over the years but failed. After my experiences at school I was very wary about signing up to lessons with a complete stranger that I neither knew or trusted. In July this year I had a dream in which I went swimming with a friend and I couldn’t forget the dream all the next day. I told my husband and he said that I should tell my friend. I told her and she started making grand plans of going every week, not what I had in mind, but not wanting to halt her enthusiam I agreed to go (not planning to go more than once). We went and it was clear to me that she was intent on teaching me which scared me to death. To cut a long story short, we have now been going whenever we can, she is very patient with me and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. We stay in the baby pool as I feel safer in there. The only pressure on me is what I put on myself. She is right there with me the whole time. In November I shocked both of us by accidently swimming 1 stroke on my own which we built on and I can now swim a width of the baby pool, but only with her directly in front of me so that I can grab hold of her hand if I panic. It has not been easy, but a very supportive friend really helps. I still don’t like splashing and don’t do going under, but I may work on that this year.

    My advice to you is:
    1) Don’t think about it in advance as you will only talk yourself out of it (I’m a master at it).

    2) Have someone you know and trust (and that has a lot of patience) go with you that can be there for moral support and that will be right there to grab hold of if you feel the need. (I would have given up a while ago if she hadn’t been there so that I could grab hold of her arm or shoulder whenever I panicked.)

    3)Stick with it, don’t let a setback be the end.

    4) Be patient with yourself as pressure will only make the problem worse.

    Good luck! You can do it!

  4. Hi,
    I just wanted to say such a big thank you for your encouraging and so helpful comments in my quest to swim.
    Congratulations too on the success you have so bravely achieved so far.
    I will let you know how I fare and if I Can succeed. Your story gives me so much hope and encouragement.
    Unfortunately, I have no friend to go with. I have lovely friends but they would not have the time to do this with me, with juggling shifts, children and everything else. I could not ask them. They would soon get bored with me.
    I will try to do all the other advice you give to me.
    Thanks so much.

  5. Swimmimg lessons start this week. I have found a friendly swimming club to go to-inexpensive, that teaches non-swimmers too.I am looking foreward to the company as well as my efforts to swim.

  6. Hi! Lost contact with you a long time ago, was just wondering what happened with all of the above, whether you stuck with it and whether you suceeded. E-mail me if you want it to be private. Hope you are doing welland hope to hear from you soon.

  7. Hi Have courage. Thanks so much for this. I did stick with it for 18 months, learnt to swim on my back and a little bit on my front but then this horrible backward phobia struck whereas I could not continue on my front. The more I tried, the worse it got. I had to give up as I just couldn’t do it and my teacher lost heart I think and I was too stressed being pushed and pushed. So I have stopped and may take it up again in my own time. I can swim on my back in the baby pool. Though haven’t been swimming for awhile. I now run and do yoga and that keeps me fit. I don’t know whether I shall tackle the front bit but at least have made some progress. How are you? And thanks for asking.

  8. Glad to hear you stuck it out for 18 months, that’s great! Well done on your achievement! I think you were right to stop as pressure will only make the problem worse and you wouldn’t want to go backwards after all your hard work. Give it some time and maybe you can give it another go. I haven’t been much since my friend that was teaching me moved to Scotland in Sept 08, but I did manage to achieve a length of the main pool on the last time we went together! I started in the shallow end and just kept going (next to the wall), my friend was in front of me swimming backwards the whole way (she was facing me) and asking me questions so that I wouldn’t think about what I was doing! 🙂 I haven’t attempted it since as it was really scary being in the deep end with no floation assistance or anything! I haven’t been many times since as I don’t knowwho to go with and much prefer to stay in the baby pool! I had my 3rd child in Nov 09 so life is pretty hectic with children aged 5, 3 and nearly 8 months. Take Care.

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