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When faced with life-altering situations, we struggle not only to grasp the totality of what we are facing, but to plan a way forward. Consider the options my son and us faced years ago. His physical limitations never deterred him. And he lived life never even considering he couldn’t make it and took his talents and built a successful career.
Don was born without the muscles to hold up his head. Muscle weakness extended to other areas of his back and neck. A special brace was designed for him, with a rod that went down the back, anchored with straps around his waist and a pre-formed support for his head.
One might assume he was a prisoner to his physical disabilities.
But he never saw it that way and neither did we. He never let his brace or lack of muscles deter him from grabbing hold of life and swinging into the unknown. He let go of anything that kept him grounded and allowed himself the freedom to swing.
With a twinkle in his eye and mischief in his smile, he went for it. He learned to walk, run, and swing from a rope hung in our basement for kids to play on. He traveled to Europe and performed in school plays. He drew amazing pictures.
There are many kinds of handicaps. Difficult childhoods of neglect, lack of love, favoritism, alcoholism, rejection, abandonment, or abuse can feel as stifling as physical handicaps, trapping us in an ongoing cycle of shame, anger, and self-doubt. But no handicaps or impediments can keep us stranded unless we let them.
Grab hold of the new rope waiting for you, and swing to a new way of thinking, believing, and acting. The past cannot continue to hurt you unless you let it. Hanging onto that pain or perceived handicap or disadvantage only keep us stuck.
Let go of old messages that tear you down. Let go of wanting revenge. Let go of your doubts and endless questions. Let go of all the negative things you were told as a kid that tore apart your worth. Let go of whatever has no purpose.
Hang on and Swing
Life can be risky and scary. It requires courage. That courage resides deep inside you. But until you reach out and try, you will not access it.
Swinging out from what was familiar can be terrifying. Laugh. Let your laughter chase the shadows away. Life can be a wonderful adventure, full of surprises and unexpected pleasures if we allow ourselves to take part in it.
So, are you ready? Then take the nitty-gritty ugliness and rough edges of your past and fashion it into a rope. Grab hold and swing. Take that risk and swing out into a new and rewarding and promising future. Use those gifts and talents you were given and turn them into a positive force.
We need validation for the turmoil of thoughts and emotions we experience. But we also need the tools necessary to create a new beginning that is both satisfying and meaningful. My new book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, offers those tools to help work through the problems you might be facing.