Fear or Surf?
Many people have a fear of the ocean. This fear can manifest as anxiety over sharks, injury, or the unknown darkness that lay just underneath the rippling surface of a wave. These emotions pull some of us away from surfing, or from achieving the things that we desire. We all have fears in life. It is how we face our fears that allow us to excel at surfing, and all other endeavors.
Fear is created by uncertainty. Most of us do not like uncertainty because it is unknown and without order. Most of us are uncomfortable when we don’t know what is in front of us. If we allow this discomfort to stay in our head, we feel emotions such as anxiety, shame, or even anger. Fear becomes undesirable when we dwell in these negative emotions for longer than we prefer, and when we allow these feelings to dictate our courses of action.
We, as humans, strive for excellence when we feel loved and loving. Love is created by security. Security gives us a sense of wholeness, and therefore, happiness. The positive feeling of euphoria is produced by love, and that is why it is always the most desired emotion.
However, just remember, fear is not in opposition to love. It is a positive emotion created for us to survive. Unpredictability is part of our human experience. It is important for us to protect ourselves from unknown circumstances. Fear is meant to alarm us and act as a warning beacon. So, it is healthy for us to be afraid of the ocean, especially since it is huge and powerful. Being cautious and respectful of the ocean should be the product of our human emotions, and can help aide us in a continual effort to learn while being in the water.
One of my biggest fears is failing. Failing to surf or perform well often brings me shame. This fear has dwelled in me for a long time. Recently, I started to recognize this shame. Since recognizing this fear, I have worked to be reflective and learn from my own emotions.
I have learned a technique called, “Love v.s. Fear.” The technique works as follows:
Take a piece of paper, and divide the blank space into two columns. Write the word Fear in one column and Love in the other. Then, list all the fears that you can think of under the FEAR column.
Here are some of the examples of emotions that you might find in the Fear column:
anger, shame, guilt, greed, jealousy, shyness, worry, overwhelm, panic, loneliness, paranoia, pessimism, stubbornness, arrogance, condescension, superiority, racism, envy, disgust, anxiety, depression, worthlessness, disappointment, contempt, remorse, frustration, confusion, annoyance, impatience, revenge, indifference, suspicion, gluttony, apathy, embarrassment, doubt, agitation, abandonment, aggravation, despair, resentment, insecurity, discouragement, rage, resignation, laziness, selfishness, obsession, denial, competitiveness, lack of faith, negativity, dread, intimidation, self-pity, rejection, unwillingness, judgment, apathy, uncaring, manipulation, and in some cases, grief.
You will make the same list for the LOVE column.
And here are some examples for Love:
awe, hope, joy, comfort, relief, power, determination, compassion, enthusiasm, respect, loyalty, satisfaction, pride (not false pride), playfulness, humor, empathy, sympathy, certainty, stability, courage, generosity, peacefulness, surprise, optimism, inspiration, confidence, cheerfulness, relaxation, interest, fascination, gratitude, nurturance, contentment, happiness, acceptance, strength, caring, understanding, patience, unity, humility, clam, kindness, openness, honesty, sharing, faith, trust, inner strength, forgiveness, positivity, self-love, beauty, harmony, longing, arousal, and much more.
Next, you should circle the words in both the Fear and the Love columns that mean the most to you and/or affect you the most.
Now, the most important part is to look closely at the words you have found in the FEAR column and think of where they originated and how you might replace them with one or more emotions from the LOVE column.
For example, my shame emotion came from my fear of not being able to perform well enough for my loved ones to be proud of me. After analyzing this fear, I realized that I could replace shame with acceptance. I realize this after ruminating on the fact that not only will my loved ones support me, but they also do not expect me to be perfect. Perfection is an illusion, and a burden I need to put down. I realized that I can and must accept the possibility of my failing, while still accepting myself.
As for surfing, there are many factors I can use to determine whether or not I surf well, and it is also okay if I cannot do well. The most important thing is to have fun.
Since my shame emotion is deeply rooted, I would also choose humor and patience to replace it. If I fail when trying to surf a wave, it is always good to laugh at myself, get back in the water, and have more fun.
You can choose as many replacement LOVE words that you want. Just remember to visualize/ think about what created the fear and what emotion can replace it.
This is a technique to practice over and over again. Do it whenever you recognize your target fear. Make a habit of writing down the exercise once a week. Eventually, you will be able to visualize and preform it mentally.
FEAR is not the enemy. Fear is simply your own self-protection. Stop making fear a secret or a shame, because fear is your best friend!
Share your experience with us.
Shared by Kelly Lin
Who is Kelly Lin? I am a travel/Surfing blogger, entrepreneur and serial “life adventurer.” I believe outdoor adventure, such as surfing, can empower and elevate women’s body, mind and spirit. I am also a licensed Yoga Instructor, Ayurvedic Nutrition Practitioner, and Life/ Career Mentor…and many many other roles 😛
Where is Kelly’s favorite travel destination? Any surf spots that I can meet amazing people and great food!
Where is Kelly’s dream destination? Any destinations are possible, not a dream. As long as we can imagine it, we can have it all.
Motto in life? It’s all about love, love is all we are.
For surf specific yoga, nutrition info or life coaching,
We empower and mentor women worldwide through mind-opening experiences.