Seriously, I can’t believe I did it!
In my last post, I mentioned I was going on an adventure that I kept putting off because of my fear. Every time I thought about it, I would get that feeling in the pit of my stomach telling me, “Are you crazy? Have you completely lost your mind?” You know the nauseating feeling I’m talking about. The one where your body is telling you to just stay where you are because if you go through with it, you will be sick. Yeah, that’s the one!
If you are like me, it’s usually because we have no idea what the end result will be and imagine all kinds of colorful outcomes if we go through with it.
Well, I’m sitting here writing about it, so obviously nothing bad has happened from my paragliding adventure!
Yup, that’s me getting ready to take off at 2000 meters over the mountains.
So, what brought me to finally go through with it? Did I stop being afraid?
NO FREAKIN’ WAY!
From the moment I put my helmet on, I felt my legs getting weak and tremble. As I was being strapped to my seat, there it was, that hollow sensation in the pit of my stomach filling me with mixed feelings of extreme excitement and total fear.
I realized that if I waited for the moment when I would stop being scared, I would never get the opportunity to experience this adventure. You see, having people tell me, “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” has never helped me. Actually, it only made it worst because it got me thinking, “but, I am scared! There must be something wrong with me if I am the only one who is afraid.” So, I began avoiding it and denying it. Staying in my comfort zone was easier and kept me safe from anything bad happening to me. When I arrived in San Gil, Colombia, guess what the biggest activity everyone at the hostel spoke about? Paragliding!
F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real)
I thought, “It’s enough. I am tired of missing out on this experience.” The only way I would get past it, is if I work with my fear instead of fighting against it. I remembered reading about how F.E.A.R stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. It’s exactly what I had been doing. My fear was an emotion created by my past experiences that caused me pain and my inner negative thoughts. So, I told myself a colorful false story in my mind of what the outcome would be, making it feel so real. It was time for me to take a deep breath, look at my fear straight in the eyes and step right into it.
Telling a Different Story
So, I played around with it by creating and telling myself a completely different story.
From, “how could a big piece of cloth hold 2 people up in the air? At some point this thing will go straight down and I will be splattered all over the mountains. What if it loses control and we get lost in the sky?”
To, “it is just like be seated on a plane and looking out the window. Only, this will be more fun because it will be like being in a convertible with my own private pilot right behind me.”
It worked because I kept my eyes open the entire time. Okay, so my hands were clenched tight to the straps, but I was able to capture the beauty of the scenery and repeating the words, “I am doing it; I can’t believe I am up here!”
Something I’ll never forget.
Stepping into my Fear
When I first arrived in South America, I was terrified. Sure I was excited, but having to adapt, learning a new language and not knowing anyone was scary. In the beginning, I made so many mistakes that it felt like I was moving backward instead of forward. Had I not kept going, I would have missed out on making amazing new friends, speaking Spanish, trekking in canyons, visit the jungle and go paragliding!
Fear is a powerful energy, the more I step into it, the more it will help me continue to grow and stop missing other opportunities.
The best part is knowing that being afraid when taking on a new challenge is a valuable emotion that should be embraced, not denied, because it is incredible the power you will gain from choosing to confront it.
Fear is a Good Thing
Fear is a gift given to you to approach life in the way that it was meant to be. That is to live it. We all start out scared, don’t we? That’s what makes living exciting. If nothing scares us, life would be extremely dull. Think about the last time you did something that although you were nervous about at first, you did it anyway. Your first date, becoming a parent or maybe scuba diving, a roller coaster ride, etc. The only way for you to know that your fear was not real, was to face it. Remember how rewarding it felt when you did it? It’s mainly because you did something that seemed scary.
By staying in a place where nothing scares us and we cannot fail, will result in missing out on life. That is probably the biggest failure of all. I certainly don’t ever want to stay in such a place, there is so much I still want to learn, discover and experience. I never want to wonder, “What might have been if I had just gone for it.”
If we play with our Fear, it will help us to explore ourselves and expand our potential. Think about it, the main reasons why we feel fear are:
- Fear of being unsafe
- Fear of failure
- Fear of being judged
- Fear of making mistakes
and probably the biggest one of all,
- Fear of the unknown.
As a way of protecting ourselves, we allow fear to create false stories in our minds. As we become aware of this, we will gain control in breaking down these stories and tell ourselves a more realistic story with different outcomes and the opportunities that arise from each outcome, even if it means we might fail at first. As we continue to practice stepping into doing the things that scare us, we will slowly begin to gain power over our fear and enjoy doing the things we most desire.
How about you? Have you done something that scares you? How did you step into it and gain power over your fear?
Watch me paragliding in San Gil Colombia on YouTube.
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