Face Your Fears
Your world starts at the end of your comfort zone
I just got home from a 9 day Hawaiian vacation. Let me tell you, it was one of the best vacations I have ever had. Not for the reasons you may think. It was one of the best vacations, if not the best vacation because I actually went outside of my comfort zone for pretty much the first time in my life.
When we were planning for this trip, my mom’s best friend wanted to go on a snorkel trip, and I originally said I would not be going. I have always been so scared of snorkeling. I never liked the fact that the mask went over my nose. It made me feel like I couldn’t breathe and always sent me into a panic attack.
After talking to my mom a little more, I decided I would go even if I didn’t get in the water just to experience it. I was still nervous but I agreed. I wanted to start stepping out of my comfort zone for once. So, I went. And guess what? I went snorkeling. I didn’t have a panic attack, and I saw a turtle. I loved it and I can’t wait to go snorkeling again. If I had listened to my anxiety I wouldn’t have discovered that I actually really enjoyed snorkeling.
I also went mountain tubing. This is something I was excited to do from the start but I was really able to let go of all of my anxieties, all of my worries and really, truly enjoy the experience. I would absolutely love to do it again. I want to take my boyfriend on it. I want to do so many more fun things.
Now, surfing has always been on my bucket list. I have always been so fascinated by seeing people ride the waves, relaxed, and one with the sea. I had always wanted to experience that freedom. However, last time I was in Hawaii I wasn’t allowed to surf because my boyfriend at the time said I would get eaten by sharks (cue eye roll here). This time around, I was determined to take a surfing lesson. It didn’t start off like I had hoped though.
To start, I was incredibly nervous and I wanted to just skip it. I told my anxiety to shut up and that I did in fact really want to go. When was I going to get this chance again? Then, we went to the store front of the surf lessons to find it closed. I hadn’t been able to read the confirmation email because my email had been acting up. Cue anxiety. Finally, after waiting for a bit and I got a call from the surf instructor asking if I was still coming, I said yes we were just at the store front. He gave me directions to the beach where I was to go. Cue anxiety.
I got to where I thought I needed to go and saw nobody. I was ready to call it quits. Good try, I’ll have to try again next time. Oh well, back to the condo! Then my mom’s best friend said “Call them back!” I was thinking “I’d really rather not actually”, but I went ahead and called him. I got further directions and I made it. I signed in and told them thank you for waiting for me.
One of the fears I had was that I would be the only newbie in the group (which was only 4 people). Turns out, all of us were. That helped to lessen my anxiety. The instructor made jokes, was very reassuring, and made sure we were comfortable every step of the way.
When he pushed me out into my first wave I was terrified. I had already prepared myself to fall. I was just so worried I would embarrass myself. In front of strangers. Strangers that I would never see again. As soon as I realized how asinine that was I calmed down. I was able to really relax and just try the whole process. Did I surf perfectly? Absolutely not. Did I have a blast? Yes. Will I be surfing again? YES! I am so excited to get back on a board and see what I can do. I am so sore the day after but my goodness I had so much fun!
I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never surf, would never do anything that I really wanted to do, and I was no longer interested in my future. Now, I am so proud of myself for facing my fears, overcoming my anxiety in the moment and proving everyone wrong who said I wouldn’t ever be surfing.
Your world really does start at the edge of your comfort zone. I am living proof. I never thought that phrase was true. I always thought I could live a happy, fulfilled life without really challenging myself. Oh, I was so wrong. I feel exhilarated, I feel like I can take on the world, and I know I will.
Believing in yourself is the first step. What will you overcome?