I have a love hate relationship with water. Specifically large bodies of water. Dark water. Water that I can’t see the bottom of. The more water, the bigger my issue.
On one hand, I’m absolutely terrified by it. I was practically a teenager before I learned how to swim and I consider myself somewhat mediocre at it. Yet I have an in ground pool at my home and have never doubted my ability to do what I needed to do if one of my children had an issue.
Big, expansive bridges that go over large bodies of water cause me weeks of anxiety (I’m looking at you Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland). What if the car goes over the side? How will I save everyone? This one didn’t really start becoming an issue until I had children.
Boat rides aren’t my favorite. Not even not my favorite, I could go the entire rest of my life never going on a boat again and it would be okay by me. This is a struggle though when you have a husband who loves to be out on the water and enjoys deep water fishing. Again, how am I going to save everyone if the boat crashes or starts sinking? I will go along under some protest, and can usually muster up reasonable courage to be calm during the ride, but before and after my mind and body are on high alert.
On the other hand, I love the water. The beach, the lake, the river. For spring breaks we love to visit this beautiful home on Lake Anna with a screened porch that overlooks the lake, my favorite morning spot. We spend much of the day on the dock fishing or in a hammock relaxing nearby. Our favorite summer vacation is the beach. Walking by the water each morning, sitting on the beach, wading in the water (about thigh deep is my limit), listening to the waves. Fewer places I’d rather be.
So what gives here? Same bodies of water, two different mindsets or types of experiences. I think that what much of it boils down to is control. My fears that I can’t control a situation. Water is bigger and more powerful than I am, in the event of an emergency (in my rational thoughts I know that the likelihood of a problem is very small) there is likely little that I can do.
Truly though, most everything is out of our control. Control is an illusion. The only thing we have complete control over in our lives is our mindset. The way we view experiences, the way we view things that are happening to us and around us.
I love this quote, ironic that it has to do with sinking ships. It is so true though … ships don’t sink because of the water that is around them, they sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down. Mindset is the difference between driving yourself (and those around you) crazy with fear and anxiety over things you can’t control, or that you can but you doubt yourself right out of taking action and making things happen … and understanding that a certain part of success in life requires surrender and complete gratitude for your experiences. No matter the experience, there is always something to be grateful for.
What are you afraid of?