The Secret to Surviving The RIPTIDES of Life…John Page Burton

If you have ever spent time around the ocean you have more than likely heard the term riptide. Hopefully, you have never experienced a riptide while enjoying a swim. If by chance you have, you know that getting caught in a riptide is a terrifying experience. A riptide occurs when the sand suddenly shifts on the ocean floor, creating a canal that is approximately 8-10 yards wide. If you are caught in this canal the receding current will begin pulling you out to sea. For many of us, our immediate inclination is to begin swimming toward our “comfort zone” which in this case is the shore. As we exert our energy swimming toward the shore, the tide is exerting it’s own energy pulling us away from the shore and back out to sea. If we continue to fight the current, we will eventually use up all of our energy and drown. What we resist will persist. The secret to escaping the pull of a riptide is actually quite simple…CHANGE DIRECTION. By swimming approximately 15 yards to either side, a person is usually released from the pull of the riptide.

How many of us find ourselves valiantly fighting something or someone only to find ourselves being pulled further and further into a sea of drama. Our riptides occur at work, in relationships, friendships and for many, our internal riptides have pitted us against ourselves for as long as we can remember. We forcefully defend and justify our positions as we continue to frantically swim toward shore. If we would be willing to change our strategy and start swimming in a different direction we could be released from the bondage of our emotional riptide once and for all. Lets take a closer look at some of the ways we can avoid the push-pull in our lives.

COMMUNICATING OUR TRUTH IN REAL TIME. For example, if we really don’t desire to go to our sisters house for dinner, we need to tell her! Rather than “go anyway” and be miserable we must learn to be all right with asking for a rain check. When we express our true feelings in REAL TIME we can’t help but feel empowered because we are being true to ourselves. Many of us have conditioned ourselves to “go along to get along” for so long that at first “honest communication” may seem odd. SWIM TO THE RIGHT, it’s worth it! Our truth will indeed set us free!

STAY AWAY FROM GOSSIP. Gossip is unconscious, immature communication that never has a positive intent. When you find yourself in the pull of this disturbing current it’s time to SWIM LEFT, FAST!

MAKE COURSE CORRECTIONS WHEN NEEDED. When we recognize that something doesn’t feel right or simply isn’t working it is ALWAYS in our best interest to make a course correction. Trying to force things to work is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, it isn’t going to happen. Far too many of us are trying to “make” an abusive marriage work, “get through” another miserable week at work, “force” a sibling to finally “respect” us or “demand” that a parent be proud of us. Rather than continue to slowly drown in expectations, SWIM TO THE RIGHT! Our ability to be proactive will release us from our emotional riptide.

SURRENDER The Ego desires us to see ourselves as the end all be all. It is empowering to have a healthy sense of self worth and it is admirable to be willing to lead the charge but there are also times when we have to recognize that it is time to get out of our own way. Surrender comes in different forms. It may be to our creator or it may be to a spouse, co worker or friend. We should never feel shame in surrender. Surrender is a conscious acknowledgement that we have given our best but recognize our limitations in a given challenge. Rather than fight the current, we must SWIM TO THE LEFT!

Riptides are scary. Once we know how to release ourselves into safer water they will no longer hold power over us. Having a healthy respect for nature is always a good idea but having a healthy respect for ourselves is where the real magic happens. Here’s to swimming in the ocean!

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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