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Things happen when we least expect them to. It takes us by surprise and we are never left the same. Sometimes we get knocked over. Sometimes we feel as though our legs were taken out from underneath us and we hit the ground so hard that it knocks the wind out of us. We lay there, panting and panicking that we'll never breathe again before our lungs finally fill with air and we realize that we aren't dying. Life leaves scars.
Sometimes you have to lay on the ground for awhile before you can get back up. You have to lay on your back so you can see where you've fallen from. You feel the support of the ground beneath you, but you're scared to try to get up because you don't want to get knocked down again. You never want to feel what you just experienced; the lack of air that made you feel like all was lost.
And so we lay here and wait, hoping that somehow we'll find a way to get back up. Sometimes, we have to dig deep within ourselves and find the strength to do it on our own. We give ourselves pep talks. We may motivate ourselves with various emotions we're experiencing. Sometimes, we need a helping hand. A family member or friend comes along and helps us to our feet again. Regardless of how we get there, the important thing is we are once again standing tall.
Getting to your feet was the hard part, but moving on and continuing forward is no easy task either. You may be stronger now and breathing in and out, but it doesn't come easy. You still hold on to the fear that you may fall again. You keep looking behind you and you may end up getting lost.
Even when you feel like it's impossible, It's important to keep walking forward so you can focus on what's ahead of you. You left behind what made you stumble to begin with and keeping your eyes behind you will only make you fall again. Becoming obsessed with looking for what took your feet out in the first place will only prevent you from enjoying what's in front of you.
I only know this because I've fallen myself. I spent weeks with my back to the ground staring skyward before I was able to get up again. And I still stumble even now. I glance backward, worried that I'm running away from what tripped me instead of protecting myself or fighting back. And then I remember to look forward again because I've learned a few things along the way.
I’ve learned that I can’t fix everything. I’ve learned that it’s okay to accept that you have no control in certain situations. I’ve learned that I can’t take care of everyone without taking care of myself first. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go of people or situations and it doesn’t mean that you are giving up. I’ve learned that it’s okay to focus on yourself and your own happiness and that doesn’t mean you are being selfish. I’ve learned how to lose yourself in someone you love and then how to recover from that. I’ve learned how to rely on myself and find strengths I never knew I had. I’ve learned how to forgive. I’ve learned how to be grateful for everything and I am -- even the things that took my legs out from under me.
I'm looking back less and less now. I'm not as afraid of falling as I once was because I now know how to get back up again. I know I'm capable of it. I know I can survive the fall. I keep my eyes trained forward. And every once in awhile I glance behind me to remind myself of where I've been, how I've grown, and what I've overcome.