Today I’d like to talk about a word we know as pain. Now each and every person reading this will be going through some type of pain. Everyone’s pain will be different, but the message and the result will be the same. You only have two options in life: sink or swim.
Sometimes you just want to let yourself sink. You’re in the middle of an ocean in your mind, trying desperately not to drown in your own thoughts. But you’re tired. Tired of swimming, tired of staying afloat. Tired of trying. And you can’t see land anymore. Your mind and body are telling you to quit, but somewhere deep inside your heart you continue to push. 30 foot waves are crashing down upon you, and sometimes it seems you go minutes without air. Minutes feel like hours. Hours feel like days. Days feel like months, and soon, months feel like years. You’ve spent your whole life staying afloat. When are you going to give yourself credit for your strength?
Now you still don’t see land. You’re still treading water, fighting your mind, wondering whether or not you should just give up and let yourself drown. But in the middle of this ocean, you come across a rope. This rope is dangling down from whatever you perceive as Heaven, and all of your dreams and wishes are at the top. But it’s really far. It’s really, really far and you’ve been swimming for so long. You’re thinking there’s no way that you could ever climb this rope. Even if you got a quarter of the way up, you think you’ll just fall back into the ocean and be even more tired than before. You don’t want to climb this rope because you’re scared you’ll fall and let yourself down. You might fall. You might fall a million times. But will you keep trying to climb, or let the ocean swallow you?
That water that you’re treading is full of demons. Demons from your past, demons from your present, and demons that you’ve created in your mind about your future because although you can see the rope, you can’t see Heaven. Or your dreams. So every time you associate your present or your future with negative things that you’ve experienced in the past, that energy manifests itself in your life today. Quitting would be so easy. It’s just like the person that says “I want to get in shape” but the first time they pick up a weight, they feel that pain. They feel that burn and it hurts, and they say fuck it, I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to lift this weight, I don’t have to run – because when I do, it hurts. When I try to quit cigarettes the nicotine withdrawal hurts. When I try to get over my ex, every time I see a vision of my future without them, it hurts. Everyday I wake up, and tread this water, and climb that rope – It hurts. But the best things in life come from pain.
When you climb that rope, and I say when because you will, it’s going to hurt. You’re going to want to quit and fall back into that dark ocean of your negative thoughts. It’s going to be painful. You’re going to struggle, and some days you’re not going to see what it is you’re climbing for. Some days it’s going to feel hopeless. But the day you climb that rope, not in fear of falling, not in fear of failing, you are going to come to a realization. You are going to look down into that dark ocean and say “fuck that.” I’m tired of falling back into there. I don’t care how bad it hurts to climb because nothing hurts worse than falling and starting all over again. At some point you’re going to have to talk to yourself. You need a relationship with yourself. When I feel like quitting, I conversate with myself. I say “Matt, I know you really want to let go of this rope. I know you’re really tired.. But, I love you too much to let you slip into that ocean again. The pain and suffering you are feeling right now is neccessary to avoid the long term pain that will come with falling back into that ocean. And I love you too much to let you sink.”
Keep swimming, keep climbing, keep pushing. When you feel that pain, embrace it. Love it for everything that it is because when you get where you’re going, you’re going to remember that pain, and you’re going to realize that it couldn’t stop you. Nothing can stop you from achieving what you want to do. Nobody stands in between you and your dreams – but you. You can blame anybody you’d like, you can point fingers, and if I were going to blame people I would need 10,000,000 blogs just to point the finger at everybody that left me stuck in that ocean. But I held myself accountable. I realized that nobody is going to help me tread water, nobody can help me climb that rope, and nobody is going to get me where I want to go. Yes there will be supportive people but they can’t do it for you. If you want to let yourself sink, nobody can change your mentality. I can climb the rope and reach back to try and pull you up a little further, but if you decide that you’re going to let yourself fall, I can’t fall with you. I can’t come get you. I will do my best to pull you up if you’re next to me, but I can’t afford to come down to get you. The reason is because if you have ever been trained in rescuing drowning people, when somebody is drowning and another person comes to help, the drowning persons’ first instinct is to grab onto the person next to them. And when they do that, they push that person underwater in attempts for another gasp of air. Inevitably in the end, you both drown.
I’m not saying don’t help people, and don’t reach your hand out to help a suffering person. I’m telling you not to let them drown you. In order for you to help a drowning person, you have to be trained. You had to have climbed the rope, got where you’re going, and learned what it takes before you can help somebody else. To relate this to a realistic scenario, a professional swimmer or lifeguard is trained to approach a drowning person, dive underwater before that person can grab you, wrap their arms around you from the back- underneath your arms so that the person drowning doesn’t have any leverage to pull the rescuer down. But just like any aspect in life, you have to learn how to swim before you can help others that can’t.
It’s your decision. No matter what cards you were dealt you can blame it on anybody you’d like. You can say well, I wasn’t born rich, and I wasn’t born with the tools at my disposal that he has, or she has, or they have. You can feel bad for yourself. You can tread water in that ocean forever. But I’m here to tell you, no matter who you are, no matter where you came from, no matter what you’re going through. You are strong enough to grab that rope and climb.