Recently, on a weeklong surfing trip with my family, I was waiting on my board in the water and had a thought about some important concepts that we should all pay attention to in our personal relationships. Surfing gives you many opportunities to sit on your board and think. I realized that the repetitive waves are similar to our many interactions with the people in our lives.
First is the idea that every wave, or interaction, is not perfect or predictable. Such is the nature of our interactions with the people that we care about. There are many of these moments and some will be great and make you feel good about yourself. Many of your conversations or interactions will be not be so great and may leave you questioning yourself a bit and your skills as a friend, lover, etc. Waves are also unpredictable like that. All you can do is try to do the best you can to make that interaction better next time. Keep in mind that there are infinitely more opportunities, like waves, that will present themselves.
Second is the concept that interactions, like waves, are varied and hard to predict. They may be minor and easy to weather or more powerful and meaningful over time. Those big and important conversations you have with a friend or partner often can turn anxiety-filled or unmanageable, if you have an issue that has not been resolved with the other party or within yourself. It is best to focus on the moment and calm yourself down. Rely on your skills and experience to get through the chaos. Surfing is like that also.
Lastly, remember to really focus on mainly the big interactions, or waves, that come along, since these can cause much happiness or do much damage, and you need to be prepared. Conversely, many small interactions can turn out to be good for you and should also be addressed to the best of your abilities. What may look like an insignificant interaction could turn out to be very meaningful for you. Waves are like interactions, remember?
As in interpersonal relationships, it is hard to see too far out in the ocean, or the future, so try to focus on the interaction, or wave, in front of you. No telling when the big and meaningful one will come along.