To grow, we must do things that scare us. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s necessary.
It applies to even the smallest challenges, which can feel gigantic.
A few nights ago, a lunch utensil fell into the garbage disposal while I washed dishes. I cringed. The very last thing I wanted to do that night was put my hand down the garbage disposal to retrieve that plastic knife anything. I turned the water off, and spread open the black rubber flap that usually prevents these types of crises. I grabbed the other half of the utensil to dislodge it, but it was stuck under a metal part. Since I don’t have any interest in sticking my hand down near the garbage disposal, or in seeing pictures of injured fingers, I haven’t yet Googled garbage disposal safety.
The world had come to a halt during this three-minute span of time.
I considered calling my boyfriend, who would have come to help. My eyes squinted as I imagined him taking a quick peek, and then putting his hand down there without hesitation. Five seconds later, he would victoriously pull his unscathed hand and the plastic knife from the garbage disposal. Then, he would tell me about how he’s taken apart and installed garbage disposals. He’s practically a garbage disposal expert.
And I would tell him that it isn’t easy for me. A few years ago, I grabbed a knife as it fell into a running garbage disposal and nearly chopped off two fingertips. An ER visit, a tetanus shot and several stitches later, I’ve kept my distance from garbage disposals as much as possible ever since.
I decided to rescue myself. My backup plan? Ask the kids to phone a fire station if the attempt were unsuccessful.
Holding my breath, I reached my right hand in. I silently pledged to pull my hand out immediately, if I felt anything sharp or threatening. I touched only that purple plastic knife, and gently dislodged it from under the metal ledge, and pulled it and my hand up to safety.
I began breathing again, and those breaths were breaths of victory. All order in the world seemed to be restored. I prevailed over the garbage disposal today. I did it, just me and no one else. And I lived to tell about it.
I felt like I bench-pressed 500 pounds and had an invisible crowd cheering me on.
Take the opportunity to do something that scares you.
When we challenge ourselves, we meet opportunities to grow. Hold your breath for a little while, if you must, but relish that moment of achievement.