Emma Howell

Why You Should Face Your Fears

Emma Howell
29 July, 2017

rock climbing


Riding a bike.

Rock climbing.

Scuba diving.


Being an artist.


All of these scare me. What scares you?


The only thing in this list that I haven’t faced (or will face) is foxes. Absolutely not, nope, no, not going to happen- I can’t. It’s a phobia I’ve had since I was very small; even looking at photographs of them makes me cringe and hide away. No, thank you.

The other things on the list, I’ve faced or will face.

A while back, my mum told me that when I was little, and saw her in distress, I once said to her ‘face your fears, mummy’- how wise is that!?

In life, fear is an emotion that we can’t really avoid. There will always be something unexpected that scares us and we have to deal with it- anything from spiders in the bathroom or creepy messages on social media, to a medical diagnosis or the death of a family member; it’s life and we need to accept that.

However, what about the things that scare us that we don’t necessarily have to face? For me, riding a bike was a huge elephant in the room during my entire childhood, teenage years and the start of my twenties. I tired to learn a few times when I was very young but apparently I just ‘didn’t get it’; being a cyclist obviously wasn’t for me. For years and years, I refused to get on a bike and I’d avoid any weekends away, excursions, holidays or clubs that involved riding one. My friends and family would joke that I should ‘just use stabilisers’ but no chance was I going to be a 15 year old (trying to look cool for the boys) using stabilisers!? Anyway, it didn’t bother me being left behind, so I never had the drive to want to learn; I put it right on the back burner.

Until last year, 23 years of age, I got on a bike and fricking did it; I learnt how to ride a bike. I couldn’t really get away with it any longer, seeing as though my boyfriend is super keen on outdoor activities.

Riding that bike through the forest, with smells of flowers up my nose, the sound of rustling leaves above and the butterflies whirling around in my stomach.. it felt exhilarating. I couldn’t believe that I deprived myself of this for so long; how fricking silly. I’ve now got my own bike, I’ve been on numerous cycle rides and I’m now confident to get from A to B on a bicycle- awesome, box ticked!

Another fear I’ve now faced is rock climbing (another activity I always avoided at school and ended up pony-trekking instead). I hate heights, I hate feeling restricted, I find it hard to trust people and I’ve never seen the point in climbing up some rocks. But one day, I tagged a long with Jon (boyfriend) to indoor rock climbing. I’d been acting like a real bore, refusing to go because I was too scared, or too full from dinner, or too tired- enough was enough, I’m trying to better myself, so I’m going to go rock climbing.

OK- it was scary and I wasn’t crazy keen on the first experience but you know what? After a few times going, I’ve started to realise that it’s fun, challenging and a good workout. So, yet another thing gained from facing a fear!

(When I read this post to Jon he told me to tell you that on my first rock climbing experience I climbed to the top and totally rocked- pun intended.)



As you know, I’m also an artist. This is scary every single day, but it’s a good scary. Challenging your creativity is super hard and to then put yourself out there, showing the scary world your artwork is really terrifying. What if people hate it? Does it look like a 5 year old did this? Am I charging too much/too little? Why is my website not getting as much engagement? How come my orders have slowed down? There are so many things to worry about and to be scared of- but it’s not stopping me. Be scared, be worried, be a bit self-conscious.. all of these feelings make you push harder and ignite ambition. I very much acknowledge these fears I have day to day in my job and if anything, they make me more confident- they enable me to push boundaries, work super hard and most importantly, believe in myself. (Read more about how I became a full time artist here ).

Facing fears makes you feel really good. It makes you feel proud, strong and confident. Obviously, there will be fears you face that aren’t enjoyable at the time, like when I had to look after my Dad when he was sick or when I went to see a therapist; these were really tough- but, I’m so glad I faced them.

I like to think that there will always be some type of positive outcome after facing your fears. Whether it be more time, a new hobby, a new friend, earning some money or just the feeling of not being scared anymore- it’s worth it.

To have a happy mind, you need to have an open mind. So, make sure you open your mind up to things that may scare you- try rock climbing, do a sky dive, call that friend you’re avoiding, take care of the next spider yourself, go to the doctors, paint, write- anything! Do an activity that is totally not you, listen to music you totally don’t think is you, face those fears that you’ve been avoiding for days, months or even years, like me.

I keep saying this to everyone I know- life is too short to not do things, see things and hear things.. make the most of it, even if it scares you.

The dark sea scares me, the feeling of seaweed swishing against my feet makes me feel ill and being surrounded by fish fills me with terror- so, guess what I’m doing in September? Scuba diving.

 A happy mind is a confident mind. So, just fricking do it.


Follow my journey as an artist and adventurer on Instagram.