Jumping Off A Bridge
I love Martha’s Vineyard. It is a beautiful place with the ocean a stunning aqua blue- almost like you are in the Caribbean. There is a famous bridge there called the “Jaws” bridge, where the movie Jaws was filmed. Now, it is pretty much a rite of passage to jump off this bridge. It’s about a 15 ft drop, and should not really be attempted at low tide.
I’m a little afraid of heights, not deathly afraid like some people, but it does make me a little nervous. So, when I saw some people jumping off the bridge, I was like, hell no, not me. Not into it. I’ll admit that I was reacting like a giant, scared chicken. So when my husband suggested that we just jump, I looked at him like he was crazy, “nah, Babe, I’m just going to stay on the beach and get my tan on.” He looked at me like a challenge, and I knew I had to do it. I can’t help but take on a challenge, I’ve never been one to back down, even if it meant consequences for myself.
Luckily, the walk over was easy, but the bridge was high. My husband had to help me climb (he’s 6’4 and I’m 5’0) to the top. At the top, all blood rushed to my head and I swayed with the ocean breeze. The heart was pounding in my throat, I really thought that I was going to throw up. I almost turned back and said, no, uh-uh, never in my life. But, I swallowed, took a deep breath and lept. It seemed like forever as I plummeted towards the warm water.
I’ll always remember that feeling. Complete weightlessness. I did not think about a single thing, I just jumped. I could have backed down. I could have refused, but I didn’t. It was so freaking fun. I jumped several more times after that, but it was truly one of those experiences that taught me so much about myself.
First, it is scary to jump. I know because in my physical body I was scared, shaking even. However, I took my fear and I used it to propel myself forward. To MOVE through fear and do the damn thing. You see, fear only moves if you move it. It is not going to go away, in fact it will keep coming up, but you can decide if you have time for it or not. Fear keeps us safe and protected and….comfortable. I don’t want to be comfortable. I want to jump, to live, to experience life in technicolor. You can only do this if you move. I can guarantee that if you don’t move, life will move you. Or bonk you on the head.
You will have regrets that you didn’t jump when you could have. That you let fear stop you from doing the one thing that could make your life worth living. In my experience, people don’t jump because:
You are afraid to speak up.
You are afraid of failing.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, glossophobia, or public speaking anxiety affects 73% of the population and is ranked above other fears including fear of dying, spiders and or heights. So, in other words, people would rather die than speak in front of others. This stems from the fact that they are so afraid that they will be judged and other people will not like what they say. However, when you flex your courage muscle, you learn that you CAN do hard things. Even better, when you do it once, it’s easier to do it again and again. It builds resiliency by allowing you to do something that you wouldn’t normally do.
Fearing that you will fail is also a crippling fear. Somewhere along the line, we were taught that failing meant that we were failures, which is far from the truth. If you fail, you learn. If you make mistakes, you fix them and move forward even stronger. Rachel Hollis has a great quote that “Success is built on a mountain of failure.” You need to be able to do something not because you will fail, but for the chance that you won’t. The chance that it will be the time that will click, which will make all of the other times so sweet.
So how do you strengthen your courage muscle? You take risks. Do something out of the ordinary, get out of your comfort zone. Tell someone something new about you. Reveal a secret about yourself. Speak up for what you believe in. Say yes to new opportunities. Invest in yourself more. Accept yourself as you are, flaws and all, because girl, you are enough.