How Learning To Surf Is Like Learning To Date
3 tips from Marco & Galia on catching the waves.
January 17, 2020
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
I am writing this blog from Costa Rica. We are in a quaint town called Nosara known for its surfing, casual vibe and friendly people. I am not a skilled surfer, so I signed up for lessons. Marco was my instructor and we began our lesson with the usual meet and greet conversation.
When I told him I was a relationship coach and he laughed and told me he needed my help. He laid the board on the beach, used the sand as his marker and began to draw on the board. He explained the 3 basic goals of surfing: Catching, standing and riding. I laughed and told him they were the same goals in a relationship.
#1 Catch the wave
Marco: Catch the wave: interact with it, look at it, understand the current, look for patterns and the power of the wave.
Galia: When you meet someone you feel attracted to look at them, really see them by making an effort to understand them, their background, experiences and their dreams. Look for patterns, your own and theirs. How does it feel?
It can be a rush of strong feelings, does it feel safe, do you think you can stand alongside this person? If the answer is yes, then begin to start standing. If the answer is no, relax, breathe, wait for the next person. It is okay to look at all the waves, knowing which one to select is the key. When you pick the wrong one, it’s okay, feel it wash over you and get ready for the next one. Prepare for the one by keeping your eyes open and breathing, tell yourself they are coming and with excitement and discernment, wait.
#2 Standing on the wave
Marco: Standing on the wave. This requires more drive, more flow. It is something you cant prepare for, you prepare each second in the moment for the next second while you’re standing there. Let yourself stand steady, but be in a flow where almost falling becomes a dance. Don’t hesitate, don’t do it fast, don’t worry about it, take your time to stand and freely be able to dance and move with the board.
Galia: Building a new relationship. If you are interested in a strong relationship, you have to build it. Create a strong foundation. Despite the fact that you have rehearsed this in your head, it will not be like you imagined. It will be unique and new. Surfing is the interaction with mother nature and the surfer, relationship building is the interaction between two people.
It can feel wobbly at the beginning, strengthening your footing takes trial and error, practice, patience and kindness with your partner and with yourself. In the beginning, our perception of what is happening and why it is happening can be distorted by our fear, the narrative we tell ourselves and lack of communication. The goal of the building/standing phase of a relationship is to understand the movement. Pay attention to the ebbs and flows, the calm peaceful moments and the takeoffs, turns and even barrels. Don’t run away or try to avoid problems, solve them together. Rehearse these techniques. As the saying goes “practice makes perfect” and this is no different. Just as in surfing, positive self-talk is crucial. Your mind will believe what you tell it to believe.
#3 Ride the wave
Marco: Ride the wave- letting go, enjoying the moment, being there, look at the wave, look at your position look at your stance and feel how you feel and realize what you are doing. See where you are going, just do it and enjoy it.
Galia: You are in a relationship, yay, there is a commitment and desire to continue building. You can let go of some of the insecurities that held you back at the beginning. You are learning to trust fully, you are braver and stronger because this person has your back. You feel better, calmer, more capable and sexy because your person loves you just the way you are. But you don’t stop trying. You keep paying attention, seeking ways to grow together and independently. Be present, enjoy the moment, look at the relationship together, celebrate it, cherish it and make it a priority. Enjoy it.
“Like surfing, building a relationship requires your concentration, focus, and attention. When you do it well it allows you to tune in with the elements of life including the ocean, air, and earth, but most of all yourself.”
Is surfing or being in a relationship scary? It can be, but with everything in life, a good way to manage your worry is to challenge your negative thinking with positive self-talk and realistic thinking. When you hear negative thoughts that make you fearful or anxious, challenge those thoughts by asking yourself questions that will regain your objectivity and common sense. All the worrying in the world will not change anything. Most of what we worry about never comes true. Focus on the little or big things you can do and do them!
Realize that you can’t ride every wave and you will fall off often. The ocean is constantly changing, making it difficult to know exactly when and where the next wave is about to break.
Life is the same way.
Want help figuring it out? Schedule a free call with Galia today.
Continue the conversation by leaving a comment on The Good Men Project.