Since my natural tendency has always been low self-esteem and self-hate, I’ve been pushing myself through a phase of self-praise recently, when I actively celebrate moments when I have done a good job of things.
A post on Tiny Buddha set me up on an interesting questioning path: How did you behave when you last fell down? And the answer may just well apply to how you behave when you ‘fall’ down emotionally, spiritually and socially too.
I instantly recalled a bad fall I had a few years ago (one of my very few falls, thankfully, in recent times). I had been rushing to drop Manasvi to her bus stop since it was raining heavily and she couldn’t walk down the flooded street. Since it was early morning, I was in my flat-bottomed home flip-flops, which slipped on the wet marbled surface of our verandah. I slid down the hard stairs, plopping one at a time, like a scene out of a TV cartoon. Manasvi burst out laughing at the sight of me bouncing down, but I knew I was hurt bad in my tailbone. I collected my wits, hauled myself up, and despite the horrible pain, I DROVE HER TO THE BUS STOP, hardly able to sit in my driver’s seat. Once she had boarded her bus, I got home, lay down and took a day off from work. The pain persisted several days, and gave rise to several jokes both at home and at the workplace of me falling on my bum. 🙂
The Tiny Buddha question forced me to analyze my own reaction to that fall, and here’s what I got:
1. I didn’t ‘look around’ as soon as I fell; I wasn’t worried about who saw me or what people thought. I also participated with good humour on the bum jokes; it didn’t (and still doesn’t) embarrass me one bit.
2. Despite the excruciating pain, I did my duty to my child. That’s quite something. I don’t think I could have tolerated that amount of pain for anything else.
3. I took the fall as a sign to slow down and review my life. Where was I rushing? What was my subconscious telling me? I walk slowly, and with more awareness now. Even when the kids miss the bus, I don’t lose it or start to panic. I stay aware. The fall wasn’t a waste.
4. I did not blame anyone else, I did not whine about my situation. I looked at it as my own responsibility – why was I rushing about in slippers on a marble floor on a rainy day anyway?
At the end of this exercise, I compared this recent reaction to another one several years ago when I lived in the Dark Ages of my life. If I’d made this list then, almost every point would have been its opposite: I was worried of what people thought of me, I was embarrassed and got back on my feet quickly, I blamed everything and everyone else, I resented my situation, I lived unconsciously, I ignored the ‘signs’.
Oh yeah. I’ve come a long way, baby. Yippee!
(UPDATE: My post goes so very well with this quote I read by Alan Cohen: Fire your inner critic and reinstate your inner fan club. Twice yippee!)