“How did you get back in the water after the shark attack? Were you scared? How did you overcome your fear?”
I get asked these questions all the time! Yes, I guess getting back in the water was a little scary. I did have a little bit of a fear of sharks; I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.
However, I chose not to let it define me.
My experience getting back in the water taught me so much about how to face fears with strength and confidence, even in the scary moments. Here are some tips to help you “get back on your board”, so to speak, and conquer the fears in your life:
What’s something small you can do to make incremental progress and build confidence towards overcoming your fear?
For me, it was surfing close to shore at first. The place where I lost my arm was really far out – almost like half a mile from shore – so I was pretty far out there! When I started surfing again, I went to beaches where I was more comfortable and I slowly built up my confidence and worked my way out to farther breaks. I went from always looking underwater to nowadays I don’t even think of sharks when I paddle out!
Assess the Facts
Friend, what are the facts behind your fear? Is your fear of something valid and realistic or is it a one-in-a-million chance?
I decided to look at my fear from a factual perspective and realized that shark attacks are just sooo rare. I realized that I was way more likely to die from 1 million other things. It’s literally more dangerous to drive to the beach or the grocery store in my car than it is to go out there to surf! That’s when I decided that there was no reason to live my life in fear of such a rare occurrence.
Find a Support System
Who is encouraging you in your journey?
I was blessed with just such a rad friend group growing up. They were so supportive to me in my journey of getting back out in the water. I didn’t like to surf alone while I was still getting over that fear and they were always willing to surf with me. Community makes such a big difference when it comes to facing our fears! They can cheer us on and give us an extra boost of confidence when things feel daunting.
I’m cheering you on to conquer your fears! You’ve got this!
P.S. And one last thing – if sharks are the fear that you are overcoming, never watch the movie Jaws, haha! It’s just way too extreme and not what sharks are like in real life. I actually think that sharks are so beautiful and I think they need to be protected! I’ve even swam with sharks before (a couple times!) and have been just in awe of their incredible beauty and the loveliness of God’s creation.