I'm talking from a personal experience. I thought I know myself and my ego better then that but I was wrong. My ego got me, got me hard, hurt me and made me feel very small. It even made me cry.
My husband and me went to a Wim Hof workshop in Hove. We wanted to learn his breathing technique correctly AND to have our first ice bath! We were excited, I was also nervous a bit.
The workshop was put together beautifully: we learnt about the Wim Hof method, we had a short yoga practice, meditation, we practiced the breathing technique and had a lovely warm lunch. The whole day was nicely built up to the ice bath.
I felt ready. I knew that I can do it.
I felt the power of the community. I felt the power of my mind.
I was grateful to have my husband by my side.
When it was my turn, I stepped to the bath which we filled with water and ice before and which has a temperature somewhere between 1' and 2' degrees. I was excited. I stepped into the bath and I instantly felt how unimaginable cold the water was. When it came to sit down on the bottom of the bath my body started to shake. I couldn't sit down completely, I had to hold on to the edge of the bath. My mind was focused on the challenge, I breathed in slowly and breathed out even more slowly. I could even talk and laugh. But I was shaking. I was very cold. The maximum time we were allowed to be there was 2 minutes. I had to get out of the bath after 1.5 minutes.
Everyone clapped but I didn't feel proud.
I felt that I lost. That I failed. That I couldn't do it 'properly'.
I went in to get changed and I even cried a little.
I was disappointed for the rest of the day until I asked myself ' what the hell is going on with me??'. It's not very typical of me! I'm the one who can cherish the smallest achievements in life - why I cannot be proud of what I've just done?
I realised that it was my ego. It was my ego that made me believe that there is only one right way to do it, the only way and if I don't do it as I should then it means I failed.
Now I know that I'm actually a winner! I'm very proud of myself not only because I sat in the bloody icy water for more than a minute but also because I listened to my body which was talking to me very clearly - it was cold! My body was telling me to get out and I did what it was telling me.
It's hard to get our ego's voice (or other people's opinion) out of our heads but it always pays out at the end. Trying is part of the process.
There will always be an ice bath in some form in our every day lives. Some days we can sit in it, some days we can't. Some days we are strong, some days we need a break.
Stay curious and pick your ice bath and sit in it any way!
This is how we learn, this is how we grow.