There are rewards for confronting fear, even if the confrontation ends with girls stumbling into a corner, sliding into a fetal ball and burying their faces between their knees.
The rewards I’m referring to can be hard for girls to recognize if their focus is on failed attempts, their weaknesses, how badly they embarrassed themselves or how improbable rebounding will be.
These intangible blue ribbons are available to girls and everyone else willing to suspend self-pity, chin up and introspect.
Win, lose or draw, confrontation with fear offers clarity. The first thing girls get clear on is what it feels like to face fear. They no longer have to speculate about what their minds or bodies will go through. Will the butterflies in my stomach turn into bees and sting me from the inside? Will my knees collapse like a game of Jenga? Will I make it out with my teeth in tact? The unknown becomes clear.
Girls will also gain clarity about the strength and reliability of their internal resources – their confidence, skills and abilities. If their confrontation with fear ends with them in a corner, it’s safe to assume they’ll have to build their resources up. Girls can do that by asking appropriate people for help, taking small risks, reminding themselves of past accomplishments, or getting additional education.
Lastly, a confrontation with fear brings clarity to the depth of girls’ purposes – the why behind their action. Purpose can help them persevere through challenges if it is internally motivating and aligns with their values. If it’s externally driven or shallow, it won’t do much to move girls forward. Girls might have a lot of work to do after a confrontation with fear, but the good news is … now they’re clear about it.
Tolerance For Discomfort
The first thing girls’ bodies tell them to do when they feel fear is to run like hell. So, if they confronted fear, it means they didn’t run. Insert blue ribbon and hand clap here. Each time girls come face to face with fear, they increase their tolerance for discomfort. This may not sound like much, but it is monumental.
A low tolerance for discomfort will keep girls in their comfort zone – eating the same foods, talking to the same people, and keeping the same routines. Comfort is familiar. It offers protection and comprehension, but not development. Sitting, standing and settling in discomfort is what’s necessary for growth.
Each encounter with fear makes the unknown less overwhelming, defeat less unbearable and fear less intimidating.
Confronting fear give girls inside access to how it operates, which helps them adjust their game to overcome it. They will quickly learn that fear thrives when information is scare. It flourishes when you don’t know. This means reducing fear can be done by reducing uncertainty; reducing uncertainty can be done by doing research.
Girls also learn that fear is not sophisticated enough to distinguish between potential problems and potential possibilities. Bless its heart. This means it will end up blocking girls from everything, and it becomes their jobs to know the value of what is possible.
Lastly, girls learn to offer fear a smile, a listening ear or a breath mint. It’s a sign of respect. Girls will always get further with their fear when they respect it.
Confrontation with fear isn’t easy, and there’s no guarantee it’ll go as planned. But, girls can be sure that each confrontation, regardless of the outcome, offers rewards that will help them advance when they meet fear again.