Break Through The Terror Barrier and Set Yourself Free

Editorial by Robert Kirwan

   It is with sadness that I must admit that for the first twenty-two years of my life here on Planet Earth I was held back from so many wonderful experiences by what is often referred to as the ‘Terror Barrier’.
   The first time I can recall coming face-to-face with the ‘Terror Barrier’ was when I was about ten years old. I was with a group of friends and we were playing on the side of a hill on the outskirts of Lively. There was a cave with an opening that was just barely wide enough to squeeze through. You had to put your arms in first and then wiggle through the four foot tunnel. One by one my friends all went into the cave. Some of them encountering great difficulty and needing to be pulled and pushed to get to the other side. When it was my turn, I faced the opening and there it was! ‘The Terror Barrier’.

   My friends were all encouraging me to come through, but no matter what they said, I will never forget the terror that gripped my mind and body as I looked at the small opening. The coaxing did absolutely no good. There was no way I was going to crawl into the hole.

   That day I lost out on the thrill and excitement that my friends shared as they sat in the cave and enjoyed some bantering and unique exploration opportunities. I also lost a little bit of self-respect.

   There were many other times in my life up to the age of twenty-two when I came face-to-face with the ‘Terror Barrier’. There was the time when I was so afraid of rejection that I didn’t ask my wife, who was sixteen at the time I met her in Creighton, to attend the annual Spring Bowling banquet with me. I still remember attending the banquet alone and hating myself when she too showed up at the event by herself. We spent a lot of time together at that dance and only later, when I finally had the courage to ask her to go out with me did I discover that she had turned down four other boys, telling them that she was already going to the banquet with someone else, all the while waiting in hope for me to ask her to be my date. I still kick myself for not being able to break through the ‘Terror Barrier’ and ask her to that banquet. I actually had nothing to fear, but I still could not get past the barrier.

   I was imprisoned by my own fears and lack of self confidence until the day I graduated from university. I can still remember vividly the feeling that came over me as I vowed that I would never again allow the ‘Terror Barrier’ to keep me from enjoying all of the possibilities that lay ahead in my life. I promised myself on that very day that no matter how great the challenge, I would never again back down in fear. I would take on anything and everything that came in my way.

   For twenty-two years I had stepped back from anything and everything I truly feared. When I looked at my diploma on graduation day, I said “no more” and I have been free ever since.

   If you think hard enough, you may recall times when you have come face to face with the’ Terror Barrier’. You either stepped through it to freedom or back into bondage, imprisoned by your own fears.

   The Terror Barrier comes up in front of us every time we attempt to make a major move in life, especially when it is into an area we have never traveled before. You can’t escape it. There is always the fear of the unknown, or worse, the fear of rejection or failure. I have spoken with countless people, young and old, who come right up to that barrier wanting to go ahead but not being able to. These were people who could have succeeded and wanted to go forward, but didn’t, and lived to regret their decision.

   I like to think that these weekly editorials will help some of my readers break through the ‘Terror Barriers’ that they come up against in their life. When you finally summon up all of your strength and make a decision to “go for it”, most often you discover that the barrier was nothing more than an illusion; something that you built up in your own mind; something that really wasn’t that bad after all. The next time it happens, just say to yourself, “No more” and set yourself free.

   Have a good week!


The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant