The Rollercoaster

Picture This…

You’re at your favorite amusement park with three of your closest friends. You’ve been to this theme park countless of times before and every time you step foot inside this joyous place you can’t help but smile a grin that stretches from ear to ear because you know that you’re going to have a great fun-filled day. With childlike excitement you go on ride after ride after ride. You eat all of your favorite foods at all of your favorite spots, you share in some side-splitting laughs with your good friends as you’re waiting in line for all of the rides, you take pictures with each and every one of the goofy and bubbly characters that you cross paths with, and you go to see all of the shows that this wonderful theme park has to offer you. Next thing you know, you’re looking down at your watch and realizing that you only have an hour and a half left before the park closes.

One of your friends speaks up after he also notices what time it is and says, “Let’s go on one more ride!” All four of you agree instantaneously that you should definitely try and get on one more ride before you run out of time. Just as you finish murmuring your assents, another one of your friends suggests that your last ride for the day should be the one ride that you have been afraid of going on ever since your first visit to the park years and years ago.

At once you speak up. “I’m not going on that thing! Are you crazy?”

“Why? It’s so much fun!” Your friend answers back.

“Maybe because I don’t have a death wish,” you reply as you feel your heart rate start to increase ten fold.

“It’s really not that bad,” your best friend states matter-of-factly.

“Well I’m not going,” you say with a swift fold of your arms and a note of finality in your voice, “I’m way too scared.”

After about fifteen minutes of trying to convince you to get on the ride, you give up and agree to get on. “My friends have all gone on this ride multiple times and they’re all fine,” you say to yourself, “so I should be fine to get on it just this once. Besides, how bad could it be anyway?”

As you walk up to the front entrance of the ride, arm in arm with your best friend, you look up at the towering, winding coaster and immediately question your sanity for agreeing to get on this ride. Just as you are about to object again, your friend tugs you forward with her arm and ushers you into the line. With each step closer and closer to the front of the ride and with every inch your foot moves you can feel your heart pounding faster and faster. By the time you take your seat in the ride 45 minutes later, you’re sure that your heart is going to burst out from your chest at any moment. As the lap bar closes over your legs, sealing your fate, your friend gives your hand one last gentle squeeze as your cart takes off.

The first thing you feel is the icy night sky piercing your cheeks as the cart takes and pushes you forward at a pace that makes The Flash look like he’s taking a leisurely stroll. You feel your hair whipping back and forth and dancing in the wind to the clicking and clacking of the wheels of your cart connecting with the metal of the monstrous coaster. You feel your stomach drop with excitement with every twist and turn that the ride takes. And you may be screaming at the top of your lungs, but you’re enjoying every single solitary second of this ride that you had avoided for ages.

When your cart pulls up to the exit after the ride is complete, your friend turns to you with an all too familiar smile as she gently nudges your ribs with her elbow as she asks you, “Soooo what did you think of the ride?” You can tell by the smug look on her face that she already knows the answer to her own question, I mean after all, she was sitting right next you the entire time and could see that you were thoroughly enjoying the ride. Unable to hide your excitement, you laugh a short happy laugh and say, “It was amazing!”

Positive thinker, many times the only person that’s preventing you from living your life to the fullest is you. You hear this little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do something for x, y, and z reason, but that voice doesn’t always have your best interest at heart. It tries to convince you that you can’t do something by coming up with every possible scenario where you will fail at doing that thing that you’re so afraid to do. That voice can’t imagine you succeeding, so all it does is tell you that you won’t succeed.

We can all probably think of a time when we were too afraid for whatever reason to go through with something. I’m also sure that you have looked back on that moment and wondered what would have happened if you had tried doing that very thing that you feared so much.

On the other hand, we have all also probably gone through with something even though we were terrified to do it. Go ahead and try to remember one of those moments. How did you feel after completing that daunting task? I bet you felt pretty great about yourself, and as you sit there thinking about that moment, you’re also probably thinking that it wasn’t nearly as bad as you made it out to be.

In life, we will always have roller coasters that we are afraid to get on. Sometimes it’s not wanting to apply for a job because you’re afraid that you’re not going to get it. Other times it’s mustering up enough courage to go and talk to that cutie at the back of the bar that you’ve had your eye on ever since you walked in through the door of that bar. And still other times it’s standing up to that person who has been giving you a hard time for no other reason than that he wants to make your life a living hell. It doesn’t matter what form these coasters take because they are always going to be intimidating to us. But sometimes positive thinker we have to say enough is enough. Sometimes we just need to get on that coaster even though we may be afraid of it.

And I know that is a difficult thing to do…

Often times when you become so overwhelmed with fear, all you can think about are all of the other times when you weren’t able to build up enough nerve to get on that rollercoaster and ride it. You fail to remember all of the other menacing coasters that you got on and had fun riding.

Positive thinker, if you ever find yourself hesitant to take a seat on that next new rollercoaster, try thinking of another time when you were able to conquer a different coaster in spite of the fear that you held in your heart. Remember how accomplished you felt after getting off and remember how silly you felt after for ever having been afraid of that coaster in the first place. That memory of successfully getting on a different difficult rollercoaster may be just the push that you need to climb into the cart or your new coaster, strap up your seatbelt, and have the ride of your life.

And when in doubt try and remember the wise words of Ginny Weasely from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: “you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” Even if you’ve never read a single page of Harry Potter before, these words can still help you out when you’re trying to round up enough courage to do that thing that you fear most.

Keep getting on those coasters positive thinker, and as always, keep thinking positive thoughts!

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