Interview with Betty Kotovchevska: You don't need to hide your feelings, tears are a purgatory for our souls

Photo: Private archive

"In November, I set myself a challenge to bathe in cold water every day and named it 'For all the men in this world.' It's shocking the number of suicides among men, it's shocking that men are so depressed and they don't speak up."

Betty Kotovchevska is a 28-year-old girl from Resen, who follows the work of the world-famous Dutch athlete Wim Hof. She says that his philosophy of learning and bathing in cold water changed his life.

The "Ice Macedonian" broke her personal record in March of this year, diving into water whose temperature was minus 34 degrees, in Lapland. "Then life's path took me to Zanzibar," a trip he says was an unforgettable experience.

In November, when one of the most important campaigns aimed at the male population and their health is being carried out, she challenged herself to bathe in cold water every day, a feat she dedicates to all men in the world.

Photo: Private archive

Betty, you are already the greatest Macedonian ambassador of the Wim Hof ​​method, the man who holds several world records in feats of cold endurance. How did it feel when Wim Hof ​​posted you on his Instagram account recently?

– Honestly, my biggest wish was for Wim Hof ​​to hear my presentation. I wanted him to know that his method helped me be born again, literally. To go deep inside myself, when I hit rock bottom, after my car accident. Whoever my inner hyperactive child has tied to the bed, then I can't deal with those emotions. It was too big a bite for an 18-year-old girl who had been building her dream for 10 years. All my dreams have failed, the doctors told me that I will be left with some kind of disability. It broke me into a million pieces. The road was not easy, I motivated myself, and in the dark days I said to myself: "If they put me on this planet, then I will fight until the end." I've got to get the old Betty back.' In the end I chose the strongest and most powerful version of myself, using the Wim Hof ​​method.
Regarding his post, my emotions are still mixed. It was published by the only man on planet earth who set 26 world records to prove and show everyone that nature can cure our diseases. We are not nature. As soon as I finished bathing in the cold water, I saw that I had been tagged by Wim Hof's official profile. I couldn't believe what I was seeing – I was crying, laughing, crying and experiencing all possible emotions in one moment. The dream became a reality. I had the opportunity to talk to him and tell him that he is my second father and I am proud to pass on his knowledge to many people around me. Today Betty motivates millions of people around the world.

Photo: Private archive

Meanwhile, you have already achieved your new personal record – swimming at minus 34 degrees Celsius in Lapland. What is your next challenge?

– My next challenge is to break my own record. The only person I can compete with is myself. I am the only woman who has gone down to minus 34 and I proudly carry the title of "ice queen". When I could do minus 34, I think I can do a lot more. One of my greatest wishes is to visit Siberia.

Photo: Private archive

During the summer you spent several months in Zanzibar, a destination that differs in many ways from others. What are the impressions and experiences you get from there?

– While giving my workshop on cold water bathing in Lapland, I received an offer to work in Zanzibar. Honestly, I didn't expect to move from Lapland this year, but I have to.
Zanzibar was a unique and unforgettable experience for me. In Africa I opened my heart and soul. Every day I see people who have nothing material and I am very happy. In Africa I learned the most important lesson of my life – to be content and happy with everything I have and everything I don't have.

Photo: Private archive

What was your daily life like in this tropical destination? What was it like living with the locals there?

- Zanzibar is a very dynamic island, where about two million people live. In the records it is not so much, but in reality it might be more (laughs). Everyday you explore and visit beautiful locations, feeling like in a dream, nature gave them everything. I enjoyed the depths of the Indian Ocean, the sandy beaches and the unforgettable tropical fruits. I enjoyed the culture, all the positive aspects, and most of all the everyday playful people around me, I brought back the forgotten child who loves to dance. The locals accepted me as a local from day one. They are always eager to help and serve you as much as possible. There I got a new nickname – Beatrice.
I walked through Tanzania, then went to Kenya, beautiful people everywhere.

Photo: Private archive

If you have to choose – Lapland or Zanzibar?

- Honestly, I have been to 33 countries in the world so far, but I think I will return to Lapland for the rest of my life. I feel the same love for Africa. Lapland has my heart and Zanzibar has a part of my soul.

Photo: Private archive

November was the month of men's health, and on that occasion you challenged yourself to take a daily bath in cold water. What is your message to men?

– In November, I set myself a challenge to bathe in cold water every day and named it "For all the men in this world". The number of suicides among men is shocking, it is shocking that men are so depressed and do not speak up. In the Balkans, there is a mistaken belief: "You are a man, you must not show feelings."
On my Instagram profile, I motivated many men to join this challenge. Honestly, it feels great. In addition to men, many women also expressed their support.
My message to all men is: "All people on this planet are made up of feelings and emotions, it is most important not to bury all those feelings in our bodies, because the mental state directs our physical health. Talk about your feelings without fear, feel without shame. Tears are the purgatory of our soul – cry, laugh, scream. Everything is allowed, this is a free world, and that doesn't make you any less of a man. It makes you a wonderful man."
There are no male and female things when it comes to emotion, we all have the right to feel and talk about it.

Photo: Private archive

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