A few weeks ago I was walking through the grocery store and not paying any particular attention to where I was going. My mind was on other things and I wasn’t aware as to what was happening around me. I somehow got my feet tangled up in a small display and managed to trip and fall flat on my face. Of course, there were tons of people nearby that witnessed the whole ordeal and it was absolutely mortifying. I cringed when someone offered to help me get up and managed to smile and say that I was fine. I probably could have used a hand getting up but I wanted to do it on my own. Physically, I was okay. Nothing was hurt or sore but my ego was pretty damaged.
We fall a lot in life, both literally and figuratively. But learning to fall and rise with grace is one of the hardest things to achieve. I wish that I could have been more open to someone offering to help me that day. Someone was genuinely concerned about me and was offering me assistance, and I couldn’t swallow my pride and accept help. Instead I felt like I had something to prove and that I could get back up on my own.
This happens a lot in life. I fall, sometimes flat on my face, and refuse help with getting back on my feet. I remember once when I was a teenager, I fell flat on my face in the university cafeteria. And I really hurt myself in the process. I twisted my ankle and my wrist bent backwards. Someone rushed over to help me get up and while I accepted the help, I pretended like I wasn’t hurt. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was less than okay. I walked to my car and acted like everything was fine. But the moment I sat down I burst into tears; I truly was hurt. And my ego and my pride prevented me from accepting the help that I really needed. I needed help getting to my car but refused it. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why is it so hard to admit that sometimes we need help getting back on our feet?
This relates a lot to motherhood. Being a parent is something that you can’t prepare for or relate to until you’ve actually done it. And in the beginning, you fall a lot. You fall flat on your face as you navigate the twists and turns and ups and downs and sleepless nights and colic and tears and frustration. It’s hard and overwhelming and scary. But it’s important to remember that there are people who want to help you get back up. And there is nothing wrong with accepting that help. Accepting help does not make you weak or a bad parent, it just means that you know that you need a little assistance and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If you just had a new baby, you’re likely exhausted. If someone is offering to let you nap or get some rest, it’s okay. Take that help. You’re allowed to be tired. Maybe you’re really overwhelmed and just need a babysitter for a little while so you can get out of the house and get a haircut. That’s okay too; you’re still allowed to have a life outside of the baby. And maybe you’re experiencing post-partum anxiety or depression. It’s so important to remember those things are normal and that it’s okay and necessary to seek help. Accepting help and admitting you need it will help you get back to yourself again.
Falling flat on our face is scary and a little embarrassing. It’s something that no one ever wants to do but it’s inevitable that we will experience it at least a few times throughout our lives. Don’t be scared or embarrassed to fall. It’s all a part of life. Sometimes we need to fall to be able to get back up and try again. Sometimes it takes multiple tries to get it right and sometimes we need some help getting there.
Falling flat on your face does not define you. You could fall 100 times and it wouldn’t matter. What matters most and what defines us is how we rise after we fall. Sometimes the harder you fall the stronger you rise. And becoming stronger can only make us more determined and fierce in the long run. And that is worth a thousand falls.