Rising Up After Falling
You can fall
but you can rise also.
- Angelique Kidjo
Often many of us don't take risks as we may fear looking foolish or falling flat on our faces. This fear of falling, whether literally ( ice skating, riding a bike, climbing) or metaphorically ( public speaking, studying something new, communicating differently) may hold us back from growth, connection, expansion, mastery and enjoyment!
This brings to mind what it's like for babies who are learning to stand and walk. If they gave up the first time they tried to stand up and fell down, they would never master walking! Luckily, human development is biologically programmed so babies don't and can't give up. On the other hand, it's also more than biological programming. Watch a baby mastering something new like walking. They are curious, they are determined, they are not afraid of failure or of looking foolish, they have fun! Although they fall repeatedly, they also rise again repeatedly, with determination and delight.
How does this translate to us as adults? It is not always as easy to have this same determination, as over the years we have learned to feel shame or inadequacy, we may compare ourselves to others, we may have been laughed at, made fun of or bullied. So trying new things and the fear of falling or looking foolish is more loaded. Yet as Angelique Kidjo's lyric says, though you may fall, you can always rise up again.
What is to prevent you from rising up again if and when you fall? How has the fear of falling become greater than the determination to rise up again? The next time you get trapped in this cycle of fear and inhibition, make a point of watching a baby learning to walk! They fall repeatedly but they determinedly get up again and again, until they have mastered the skill. They may wobble around for a while, but then they walk, then run and skip. Can you apply this idea to anything in your life?
If you would like assistance in breaking this cycle of fear,
call me for a consultation
This Beautiful and Broken World
May light find you today
in this broken and beautiful
- Trent Gillis
The paradox of life is that it is both beautiful and broken. This is true of both our inner worlds and the outer world. Can we hold that both are true as we go through our lives? Can we let go of our need for things to be black or white, good or bad, dark or light and live in the confusing messiness of it all being true? Can we give up trying to control everything?
Karl Jung called this "holding the tension of the opposites." It means becoming comfortable with seeming contradictions such as our heart breaking and at the same time feeling great love. Or seeing the unimaginable horror and also the breathtaking beauty of the world ( external and internal).
Sometimes life can feel heavy or too difficult to navigate, full of suffering and pain. And yet at the same time there is always beauty, connection, and wonder available in a smile from a stranger, the tiniest flower, the wispiest of clouds, even in the weed pushing up through a crack in the concrete.
So today, may light touch your heart in the midst of grief, fear and anxiety, and also in the midst of love, connection and joy. May feeling and accepting the world's ( and your own) many and serious imperfections not take away your ability to feel the beauty that always exists as well.
If you would like help navigating this beautiful and broken world
call me for a consultation.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley