How many times has life knocked me down?
Way too many. I stopped counting a long time ago.
It seemed like every time I mustered enough courage to stand back up again, there would be ten other things flying at me trying to make me fall flat on my back. Figuratively, of course.
How could I possibly keep up?
And I thought to myself, “What reason could I possibly have to stand back up again? If I know that life is just going to try to knock me down again?"
Here’s why: Because the more we get back up after every time we’ve been knocked down by the living wind out of us, we become more resilient.
We become stronger, braver, sharper, and brighter.
We begin to realize that we are the only ones who can get ourselves out of this dark hole and back up into the light again. We are the only ones who can make the brave and scary choice to do so. We are the only ones that can make it happen and rightly so.
No one else can do it for us, no matter how much we wish it so.
We have to do it ourselves.
This has been my experience anyway.
When I was younger, I wished and waited for someone would come along to save me one day. I even managed to convince myself that this was a real possibility.
But alas, I learned that only I can save myself.
When life knocks you down, only you can make the decision to stand back up. However, it certainly isn’t a decision that comes easily.
I would even argue that it is anything but easy, but life is not easy. And I’m guessing you already knew that. You can choose to stay down or you can choose to stand back up, but neither choice will be easy.
And I want you to know you’re not alone. Because if you’re reading this, chances are you feel like life has knocked you down again and you’re trying to decide if it’s worth the effort to stand back up again.
I want to tell you that it is, but that’s a choice you’ll have to make entirely on your own.
When you find yourself in a place of despair, here are a few gentle reminders:
1. Each and every experience you have is different.
It may seem like the same; it may seem like your life is a broken record playing over and over again, but I promise you it is not. It is a new moment you experience with new emotions and a new perspective. Because you are now a different person than the person you were five months ago.
2. Your feelings are valid.
They are real, they are yours, and it is okay to feel them. However, I would like to caution you on holding onto them for too long. Do not let hopeless and helpless become your identity; you are not hopeless and you are certainly not helpless. Do not let sadness and anger control your life; they are not here to stay.
3. Love yourself with all your heart.
This is a time when you need yourself the most, so be kind and patient with yourself. Treat yourself how you would with a best friend if they came to you with the same exact problems. How would you help them? How would you help yourself? Listen to some music? Read a book? Call a friend? Get some sleep?
4. You are enough.
You are worthy of your own love and compassion, and you do not have to do anything to “earn” them. Emotions are run high in a time of pain and heartache. You are strong, and you can get through this.
5. Believe in yourself.
Believe that you have the power and ability to stand back up again, because you do. Believe that you are in complete control here, because you are. Believe that you know what’s best for yourself, because you do. We find evidence for what we believe to be true. So if we think we are strong, we are. And if we think we are weak, that can also be true. The choice is up to you.
6. You don’t have to do it alone.
Ask for help. Call your friends. Let people know what you’re going through. Yes, there may always be a chance that someone might not understand. But in more cases than not, there are always people out there who want to help, but first they need to know that you need help, so tell them.
Because trust me when I say this, I know so well how tempting it is to stay down when life knocks you down… when it feels like a reoccurring theme that’s happening in your life over and over again like a broken record… when you feel like there’s no other option and you’re stuck exactly where you are… I want you to know that’s not true.
There are always options and opportunities. All around us, if we keep getting back up and showing up for ourselves. It’s there, and it’s waiting for you.
But sometimes, we need to get knocked down a few times, so we can fully appreciate what’s been right in front of us the whole time once we see it.