We all have fears.. I have found there is only one way to beat it. Listen to part of my journey to New Zealand in the quest to conquer a fear of mine..
Everyone has fears, but I can tell you that there is only one way to beat it… And that is to face it. Even though I have worked on my own fears over the past few years, taking on many more challenges as time goes on, I have always had a massive fear of pain or dying. So what better way to face that fear then to go bungee jumping at one of the worlds largest bungee jump sites, located at Nevis Bungy in Queenstown, New Zealand?
Why Bungee Jumping to face the fear of pain or dying?
Do I really need to explain this one? Haha the fear of the rope breaking and staring at your imminent death would be just one of the reasons why I think this is a great way to face the fear. Or even worse what about if I somehow get tangled in the rope, or my back breaks when the rope is engaged. Now I know there is a tiny chance of this happening, but it really is something to think about. Ok lets go back a few steps, to when I decided I would go on a solo adventure to New Zealand this holiday season – and with that I decided that I would face this fear and jump the Nevis Bungy. This is definitely not something that I would do or have done on a holiday! It has been an awesome two years since I have started facing my fears, and I thought what better way to bring it all together than by taking a ‘leap of faith’. Even though I take on challenges in a much more positive and accepting way then I have in the past, there are still fears to face and I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone for too long – this is one way to take me out of it.
Now upon booking my trip to New Zealand and telling friends, work colleagues and family that I was going to attempt the jump (still not 100% sure if I would chicken out at the end, but I at least wanted to try), I was bombarded with things that could go wrong. A few people that have done it before said how great an experience it would be, but many others talked about stories they heard of someone ‘hurting their back’, or ‘fainting’ or ‘having a heart attack’ or ‘bursting the retina in their eyeball’. Yes these are all things that can happen, but for me this is a perfect example of why we are in a culture where people are scared, anxious, and unwilling to break their comfort zone. We are always told what could go wrong, and not what could go right. So one thing to remember is NOT to listen to any negative comments that come from others. They aren’t the ones taking the jump, so who cares what they think? What if? This is something I use to ask myself, but now I do my best to replace it with a rational thought. What if..You stay home and you get hit by a bus crossing the road to go to the shops? How about we switch this to What if..You stay home and regret that you never tried something that could be fun, exciting, and challenge yourself at the same time? The list of what if’s are never ending, so drop them and face the fear.
Face the Fear
So the best way for me to tackle this challenge was to treat myself like a social experiment. I love to have fun, and enjoy excitement, but I am not a crazy thrill seeker that is for sure! So in the week leading up to my holiday, I felt a sense of unease about the jump, thoughts rushing in about dying, or getting hurt. I noticed that even though I put into practice a lot of work on my thought processes, negative thoughts still came in. But the great thing was that I was able to rationalise theses thoughts and accept them. The first step to overcoming the fear is to accept it. Accept that you might die, or you might get hurt. I know it’s not easy to think about, but in the end we are all going to die anyway, so you might as well do the things we want to do to grow as a person right? Next we need to replace the thought with something positive. There is more on this on some of my posts like how to beat anxiety, I know you can do it. Finally we cannot block out the negative thoughts or try and push them away. All we need to do is accept them, replace them, and allow them to come and go as they please. Kind of like a bully at school. If you laugh with him at the jokes about yourself, eventually he will get bored and pick on someone else. Same as your negative thoughts. So I want you to take this and apply it to any of your fears that you want to face in your life.
Time to Face the Fear and Jump
Ok so the moment for the jump was finally here. And after all the positive talk I did, it was still up to me to actually walk the walk and take the jump. The little cable cart that delivered me to the platform had my heart racing. I felt as if I was being carted off to my own execution (in a funny way), ready to do the deed. The cart was shaking with the wind and I was nervous. I had a few nervous laughs and was looking forward to the moment after it was all done and hopefully all ok. Some of the Chinese philosophy I know of helped with this, and there will be more to come in my future posts, but basically it is about being present and being in the moment, for nothing in the past or future is actually real and only exists in our minds and the history books – we cannot feel it or touch it, or go back to it. Back to now, again, as I was strapped up and ready to take the jump, tingles started to run through my body, and my thoughts were that I was doing something really stupid, and maybe this would be my last moments before I met my eternal freedom, whatever that would be! I was flushed with adrenaline and excitement as my body prepared for the fight of its life. I stepped up to what I thought was the edge, when the crew member said that I needed to move even MORE forward. As I posed for a nervous smile for the camera, the crew member counted down (I thought I was going to be able to have a Karate Kid moment where I could stand and contemplate life and all that I had done wrong and right before I was forced to jump, but I was wrong hah), ok Stef, 3, 2, 1……
As I sit here at an internet cafe in Queenstown, New Zealand writing this post, feeling more rewarded than ever, I can tell you that I made it, and it was so worth it! Empower yourself and face your fear. You will only regret not doing it sooner. I have many more fears to face but I know that after taking the jump of my life, I will be better prepared to take the challenge, and hope you can too 🙂
About the author – Stef – Mental Health Advocate
Stef is a mental health advocate who dedicates much of his free time to improving his own and others mental health. Click here to have a read about Stef’s story and why he is so passionate about mental health, wellness and positive living.