I am a lover of quotes. Inspirational, funny, philosophical, anything that just grabs my attention and makes me go hmm. . .I intend to share a quote a week with you here, and whatever my thoughts happen to be at the time.
“A brother asked the Master, ‘How often must I fall and rise up?’ The Master replied, ‘until your death.’”~Ignatius Byranchaninon
We’re all familiar with the whole baby steps idea, right?
Especially the part about how when babies are learning to walk, they don’t give up after the first time they take a spill. Or the thousandth. The lesson being that just because we’re adults who have mastered the walking thing (most of the time, anyway), we shouldn’t give up if it takes us more than one or two tries at something before getting it right.
So we know that no matter how many times we fall down, it’s how many times we get back up that matters.
Yesterday I learned that it’s not just how many times we get back up, but how we get back up that makes the real difference.
I was lucky enough to be babysitting my adorable nephew (yes, I’m one of those doting, annoying aunts—get used to it!) who is 14 months old. He’s been walking pretty successfully for a few months now and is on the verge of running. He just loves to practice this skill.
While having the time of his life walk-running back and forth in front of my house, he fell—on the cement! I braced myself for the tears and the outstretched hug-me arms, but instead he just. . .laughed. Laughed, got back up and kept going.
So the next time it happened, I laughed too. What a great response! Laughter always makes us feel good, but it really takes the sting out of falling painfully on our faces. Who has time to cry when there’s running to learn?
Yes, you can forget how to ride a bike.
A few years ago, I mounted a bike for the first time in over ten years. It was scary, and I fell. I skinned my knee and my hand, not to mention my ego. As I got myself back up, I was debating between the crying and laughing response.
Part of me wanted to cry in frustration and walk the bike home, but I knew that wouldn’t help me learn. So I laughed, brushed myself off, and got back on.
I know that sometimes falling down is too painful to laugh at. Sometimes we do need to pause, have a good cry and get a good hug. But what if that wasn’t our first response?
I challenge myself, and you, to try the laughter method. Even if it feels forced, the next time you find yourself knocked down, laugh. There’s been research that shows even forced laughter can have a positive effect.
I have the mental image of my nephew for inspiration, and I encourage you to go find your own falling baby to laugh at. Trust me, they don’t mind.