The other day I heard myself saying to a friend that, “Oh no, I really don’t like being on boats”. They looked puzzled and replied with,”So how come you seemed to spend most of your travels on various boats?”. I was struck dumb for a while, as rusty, unused cogs in my brain started to turn, creating a new mental pathway for my thoughts to follow.
I realised that my statement had become a default reaction whenever boats were mentioned. I had repeated it so many times over the years that it had become engrained within my psyche. I am not really sure where my fear of boats began, but I do remember feigning illness and hiding out in the reservoir club-house changing rooms on a weekly basis when I was about eight years old, during the expensive sailing course that my dad had put my sisters and I on. Hugely out of character, but possibly a weird manifestation of delayed trauma from having been run-over by a landrover and hospitalised for two months in the previous year – that’s the only thing I can think of. Anyway, since that time, my attitude towards boats had been reinforced by this negative ‘self-truism’ that I chose to repeatedly tell myself.
On my recent travels, I consciously decided to address this situation head-on, as I realised my fear of being on boats was irrational. I generally think of myself as a grounded, rational kinda girl – this was the awkward anomaly, and it had started to bug me.
So, through various aquatic adventures on vessels of all shapes and sizes including vast car ferries, tiny passenger ferries, sea kayaks, motor boats, rowing boats, and bamboo rafts, and involving all manner of weather conditions from flat water to stomach-heaving waves, gradually my discomfort on boats had faded to such a point that – yes – being on boats didn’t bother me any more!
But, although very proud of the progress I’d made, I hadn’t taken the time to put into place the final piece of the jigsaw, by mentally acknowledging that my attitude had changed, hopefully for good, and by changing my internal dialogue accordingly. It took my friend’s nonplussed face to make me realise that this is an essential part of the process, otherwise all the positive work to shift behaviour is likely to unravel again; the ‘truths’ we tell ourselves really do influence our behaviour.
Therefore next time someone mentions boats, I am determined to respond with a positive boat-related anecdote from my travels. In fact I’ll start now…
Some of my favourite experiences of my travels were either on a boat, or facilitated by being on a boat, including:
- Swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand
- Snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef
- Scuba diving off Sail Rock in Thailand
- Coming face to face with small blue penguins whilst sea kayaking down the Abel Tasman coast
- Sea kayaking through the haunting morning mist at Milford Sound
Etc – BEING ON BOATS ROCKS!
(Aside – yay, I’ve just realised how easy it is to insert links into the text after all these months – what a doughnut!)
Me on a boat in Kaikoura, New Zealand, and VERY happy to be there, as it had just taken me to a pod of wild dolphins who I had swum with in the sea – one of my life’s most special moments so far…
So, next time you hear yourself say something negative about yourself, just stop and think: “Is it time I changed the record?” You might just surprise yourself… 🙂
PS – I’ve just finished an amazing week of yoga teacher training at Stonemonkey and will definitely be blogging about this, although am yoga’d out right now, but check back very soon for a report. Also, the second weekend of my Thai massage course starts tomorrow, also at Stonemonkey (I might just move in – they probably won’t notice), so news of that too, soon. This is turning out to be a most excellent week of beckymayhem!