I used to have a fear of the ocean. I used to call it a healthy respect for the ocean to mask my true feelings but in reality, it was FEAR!
Considering I have been surrounded by the ocean my whole life, you would never imagine I had this fear! For me, it was the idea of drowning under the waves that scared me. Not being able to see the ocean floor scared me and the sheer vastness scared me!
When I was in my twenties, I decided enough was enough. I was going to challenge my fear. Look fear in the eye and not let the ocean freak me out anymore! The best way to do this I thought was to learn to dive. You know, breathe through a device that’s connected to a hose. Sucking in oxygen, deep in the ocean surrounded by creatures that could actually get me!
To make this memorable and worth it, I got my license and decided to join some friends on a diving trip of a lifetime…Shark Diving in Fiji.
Shark Reef is a coral reef on the Pacific Harbour coast of Fiji. You don’t go scuba diving here to stare at pretty corals and nudibranchs. What makes this marine park special is that the reef is protected. Oh yeah, and shark feeding has been taking place here for over a decade now!
Needless to say, I lived to tell this tale and it is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The frenzy of the feed is nothing I have ever experienced since.
What I remember most was feeling the fear but doing it anyway! I conquered my fear in the most magnificent way.
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but who conquers that fear.”
– Nelson Mandela
That experience is a reminder to me that I need to do things that scare me the most. Those invisible barriers I create for myself out of fear hold me back from being the person I dream about.
Fear is trying to help us, to preserve our lives. Fear doesn’t mean to limit us but it does! We are capable of more than we imagine.
Fear gives us the opportunity to grow by highlighting what we actually need to work on in life. Through those experiences will we develop closer to our true potential of who we were meant to be.
So How Do We Overcome Fear?
1. Be Vulnerable
Breńe Brown talks about how we are afraid of letting people see who we really are. We fear exposing ourselves, so we avoid the one thing that can make us more courageous: vulnerability. To conquer our fear, Brown tells us we must dare greatly!
2. Acknowledge Your Fear
To live with courage, you have to see your fear for what it is. What are you really afraid of? Why are you afraid? Acknowledge that it is there. Acknowledge the risk is there. But DO IT ANYWAY!
3. Expose Yourself to the Fear
My fear of public speaking led me to join Toastmasters International, where twice a month I stand in front of a group and talk! Repeated exposure to the fear, lessens that fear. It gives you the experience that you can do it. You are capable. It’s not that bad. You will live through it! You might even thrive through it!
4. Be Positive
Use positive affirmations to help you through those fearful times. Visualise it working out. Remember those other times you faced fear and worked through it.
Final Note …. The next time you feel fear, just do it anyway!
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