Inspired by a choppy swim. Take this metaphor with a grain of salt…
Fear. It’s a topic that’s been cropping up a lot lately.
What can you do when fear crops up in your life? You may not realize it yet, but you have options.
- You can freeze
- You can turn tail and run (or swim!) back
- You can look around to see how “everyone else” is coping
- You can call out for help
- You can lash out at whatever’s scaring you, hoping it will just go away
- Or, you can face it. Dive through, push through, swim through, run through. And come out the other side.
What’s the problem with freezing? Well, if you’re in the ocean for example, you’re going to need to tread water for a loooong time before getting anywhere… and you’ll probably get smashed along some sharp rocks and barnacles while you wait for the problem to sort itself out (hint: it rarely does).
Well, can’t I just turn back, then? Sure, okay. How does that look? The comfort and security of where you came from. But wait, didn’t you work so hard to get away from all that? To break free from what’s been dragging you down? So you could go out and explore this big wide world? Well then, why on earth would you want to go back there?
Okay, so you DO want to move forward after all. But how?? A quick glance around you shows that some people are fearlessly swimming out in the open seas, watching turtles swim by (and possibly avoiding some near-hits by banana boats zipping by). Others are wearing life jackets in water that’s knee-deep, and still others are just lounging on shore! How can you know what to do just based on appearances? Do they even see what’s scaring you?
Oh, that’s it! Maybe they don’t KNOW you’re scared, that there’s this deep, narrow crevice with the tide rushing back and forth through it – your only connection to shore (ahem, it’s not. It’s just the most direct). So you call out for help! But the waves, banana boats, and jetskis are too loud. No one hears you. And anyway… now that you think of it, it’s not like you’re in need of a lifeguard. That would be awkward. Surely there’s another way…
So you shout, maybe mutter some curse words, darn this ocean for being so…. strong and oceany anyway. Umm how’s that working out for you? Hint: With other (more common) scenarios, such as other human beings, stray dogs, cars, etc, this will have the opposite intended effect. The thing you are afraid of has now received your anger, fear and frustration, cannot see the loving and kind person you are because (hello!) you’ve forgotten all about that, and now feels attacked. Because you attacked them. They will respond in kind, and THUS reaffirm your fear that this person/thing was scary anyway.
FYI, the ocean doesn’t care. Of course it would prefer some kind words, but Nature is a much bigger force than we are, and the sea will just carry on.
But Britt, we’ve run through all these options, none of them are looking good, what am I going to do? I can’t possibly swim through THAT! I’ve never done it before, and no one’s here to guide me!
Whoa now, wait a second. First of all, you came through it already. Just your sheer will to get out and be free, your wonder and joy at floating around chasing fishies and gazing at the dreamy and wondrous world beneath the surface, that ALONE got you here in the first place. Give yourself some credit.
(I hope you’re following this enough to understand that it’s not really just about snorkelling)
You came through it already
So all that’s left, your only option really, is to face that big deep scary thing and GET. THROUGH. IT. Take a deep breath, dig deep, relax, trust, and let what you ALREADY KNOW guide you through that scary thing. And as you do it, keep breathing into it (there’s something a little bit magical about your breath, the oxygen it brings to every cell of your body, allowing every last bit of you to function that much better). Flow. Allow yourself to step, glide, float, walk, calmy, gently, through it all. Gaze around you, taking in this new experience and FEELING IT. Feeling the sense of wonder again. Feeling that rush as you DO THAT THING. Feeling that pride swelling up inside you as you think, “I’m doing it! I did it!”
You’ve got this.
Okay, so of course this isn’t just about swimming in strong currents. This applies to anything. That conversation you’ve been avoiding, that move you want to make, practicing a new language, trying a new activity, speaking up for yourself. Remember to come from a place of love. A place of trust. Remember that everything you’ve ever been through has brought you to this moment, and that’s it’s only by going through this next scary thing, and trusting yourself, that you can grow and learn and step forward in your life.
You’ve. Got. This.
Remember that everything you’ve ever been through
has brought you to this moment