I went to swim this weekend.
Not for the first time this Summer, of course (that was in April). But I want to share some thoughts with you.
Though I do not consider myself an intense swimmer, I do love the sea. I’ve read somewhere how blue and teal are colours that transmit calm. While I find this very true as I look at the horizon on occasions like this weekend, this is not what I’m writing about today.
I’ve found that our relationship to the sea could be one of the best indicators to our relationship with our fears. None of us can control this unstable and wavy element that seems so tame and wild at the very same time (unless you’re Jesus, haha). And it is this lack of control that often leads most of us to feel unsafe and unwilling to take on the experience of swimming. Since we are children, most of us would rather choose any other alternative than being thrown into a pool by our parents. I, too, am usually quite hesitant to dive in before taking the first steps into that vibrant blue. I’m sure you’ve shared the experience, sometime or another, of not being too keen to look downwards while you swim… sometimes those dark hues are too much for us to handle, right?
And this is very significant. Very significant.
In life, there are periods we feel down, lonely, sad or lost. Other times we feel happy, satisfied or fulfilled. The reasons why could be various; maybe it is because you passed an exam, or failed one. A relationship you treasured went wrong, or you have on the other hand achieved a life goal after a lot of hard work. These are usually the reasons we know. Sometimes, however, we just don’t know why we feel the way we do, and going for a swim could provide more answers than you think.
This could be the point where some readers raise and eyebrow, smirk and close this blog. But others might know what it means to simply stare at the deep blue when confronted by the sea, and feel paralysed despite how hard they tell themselves it’s going to be a nice refreshing swim. I, too, have this challenge more often than not.
What matters is how you face it, because it tells you a lot about yourself – and that’s very important.
Last Friday, I was quite unsure whether or not to go, really. I kept telling myself I should head straight home, have dinner with my wife, then sit comfortably on the sofa and watch Iceland play against Nigeria (I like Iceland, and all the northern-European national teams). Procrastination and exhaustion following an eight-hour workday started to take hold, and I didn’t feel I was up to challenge my lazy body and brain into succumbing to my will. Yet the azure allure of the sea won over my laziness, and I took a right and headed straight to the shore (I live just about 5 mins walk from the sea, by the way). Like I said, I felt a bit challenged at first, and the slight chill of the ocean before your body temperature warms up to it never helps. But I went down and ordered my brain and body to let go.
It wasn’t just refreshing. It was rewarding. I felt satisfied and happy that I had managed to overcome my insecurity and dive in. And it told me a lot about myself. It sounds a bit funny and weak now that I write about it, because most of the things we experience with the soul can hardly be explained by words.
We all have our struggles and crosses to bear. And sometimes the only thing you need is a bit more strength, confidence, self-esteem and all the other many things which are based on one fundamental element: belief.
You need to believe in yourself, you need to believe in your strength, you need to believe in your worth, you need to believe you can trust yourself, you need to believe you can do it and that you’re up for the challenge. And I’ve found that one of the very best ways to do that is to put yourself to the test… and go for a swim.