Conquering Fear

blog post swimming

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been working on a long-time fear of deep water by taking swimming lessons. I didn’t always have this fear and swam with ease as a child. I’m not sure why I slowly developed water nervousness – perhaps it is related to infrequent swimming or the vertigo I encountered after being knocked over in the ocean. Or it may have been triggered by the unpleasant experience of shopping for a bathing suit in stores with fun-house type mirrors.

Whatever the reason for this fear, I felt it was finally time to do something about it so I could swim laps when on vacation and in my neighborhood pool.

Let’s talk about fear in swimming and in life – especially romance – while sampling polenta crisps with avocado and yogurt . We talked about fear before but it’s a topic worth revisiting.

To lose the fear of a physical activity, you have to trust your body to know what to do.   When you overcome that fear, you experience a special satisfaction and appreciation of the activity – even if you haven’t totally won the battle yet.

It was a victory when I swam the length of the Olympic size pool without having a mild panic attack. To keep my state of calm, I thought about what my swimming teacher said, “You’re swimming on top of the water…it doesn’t matter how deep it is.”

Gazing down into the deeper part of the pool, I remembered the joy of underwater swimming as a child and relaxed.  I’m not as comfortable as a fish yet but I’m working on it.

Fighting fear is a worthy quest and there are many opportunities for battle. You might not be up for conquering all your fears at the same time and that is okay. Do what you can.

As an observer of marriage, divorce, and the single life, I see many examples of fear: unhappy couples afraid to divorce, divorced individuals afraid to date, people in relationships afraid to ask for what they want.

There is one fear that can help you conquer relationship-related fears. That is fear of missing out. If you fear missing out on happiness more than you fear the breakup of a bad marriage, you might be prompted to make a move. If you fear not being coupled – even if you are happy in the single life – you may work harder to find a mate.

Life is more complicated than a single emotion but I think you can use fear to your advantage.

Try it. What are you afraid of? Can you harness the power of fear to make your life better?

For an interesting read on fear, check out this Psychology Today article.

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.



Fear of Love

witch picture for blog

Hoping you take that jump and don’t fear the fall, “I Lived,” by OneRepublic

With all the Halloween fuss this time of year, I have been thinking a lot about fear. I’m not talking about fear of ghosts and goblins –but fear of dating, relationships, love, and intimacy.

Do you suffer from this fear? Have you taken the jump despite the possibility of falling? Cue I Lived by OneRepublic and eat a scary lunch of Eyeball pasta.

I have my share of fears. Heights, high water (poor swimming ability), floor toilets in Italy, Donald Trump. The list goes on – but it doesn’t include dating or relationships.

After my divorce, I was nervous and scared about dating and the possibility of a new relationship. After all, I hadn’t been on a date in almost 40 years.

There was the fear of rejection, of building and sustaining a relationship (will I know what to talk about?), of finding love and losing it or having it end miserably. The whole process of searching for and keeping a mate seemed pretty scary at that time. Marriage wasn’t even on my radar but I knew I wanted men in my life and maybe one day, a special man.

As I dipped my toe into the world of post-divorce dating, time and time again, my fears lessened and my confidence increased. No longer did I need anti-anxiety medication and a Wonder Woman stance before a first “meeting” with an online match.

Now my biggest fear is that I won’t find that special guy. I try to keep this fear at bay by trying new dating sites and activities to expand my world and introduce more possibilities and a greater chance I’ll find Mr. Right.

But what about women who are stuck in the first phase of fear – the phase that keeps them from getting into the game of dating even after a lengthy time of healing? Life is short and I worry about those who want love but are afraid to go after it. (I’m not talking about women who are simply not interested in a romantic relationship and find happiness in a life of family, friends, interests, and activities.)

This Halloween, if you are afraid of spiders, witches, ghosts — and love, I hope you’ll listen to I Lived and ask whether you are “owning every second that this world could give.” And most of all, I hope you take that jump even if you fear the fall, even if you fall. 

Let me know if you do. All comments are appreciated!

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.