Have you ever believed you couldn't do something even though others can?
I jumped out of a plane recently.
I knew I'd be strapped to an experienced instructor. That they'd have a parachute. I knew, consciously, I'd be safe. And that it'd likely be an amazing experience.
I was still fucking terrified.
The thing about fear is that it isn't real. I don't mean the feelings. Anyone who's ever missed a stair or swung a little too far back on their chair will tell you those feeling are most definitely real. What I mean is, it's an illusion.
Fear is just a trick of the light.
You're not scared of the thing itself. You're scared of your interpretation. Of what it means. And it's not always true.
I wrestled with it. It'd be so easy to opt out. But then, what would I learn? Deep down, I knew it was all just smoke and mirrors.
Turns out, my fear was actually about jumping into deep water. (Go figure). It made sense though. How my brain linked them. And, using the tools and techniques I use on a weekly basis with my clients at my Cognitive Hypnotherapy practice in Leighton Buzzard, I put that fear to bed.
I was still nervous on jump-day. Though the nerves came in waves. One minute we'd be laughing. And then it'd hit me again: "FIFTEEN THOUSAND FEET".
Ascending, I got myself to calm place. Then the door went up. "Oh god. It's happening". I lifted my head. The instructor rocked us back. Then forwards.
And we fell.
I don't have words to describe what free-falling through the air at 125mph feels like. Exhilarating is probably the closest. But it just doesn't have the depth.
There was a strange sense of safety there too. A belief that, despite everything, it was all going to be ok.
If you'd have asked me last year "do think you'll ever skydive?", I'd have laughed. "What could I POSSIBLY gain from that?". But here's what I learned:
Stay uncertain about what you believe.
Beliefs are mental shortcuts. They have to feel real to work. But it's just a trick of the light. Just like fear.
It can be worth asking, "is this really true?". Because it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. Your brain can change.
Now I know I can jump out of a plane. And who knows, I might even look forward to it next time.
Are you looking for help with a phobia, to let go of fear, or experience life without anxiety? Cognitive Hypnotherapy can help you. Get in touch to learn how. Face-to-face sessions available in Leighton Buzzard, and via Skype