I looked up surprised and was wondering why my mum seemed delighted that I had just fallen. I was not sure if I should laugh or cry from the effect of the fall. The domestic help beckoned on me to stand up and try again while my mum called on my dad to come see his daughter take her first steps. My Grandma was definitely doing the ‘avu-ukwu’ (that is the popular waist dance done by igbo women). If mobile phones were readily available as it is now, my mum would have called all her siblings immediately to give them the good news and maybe also capture the moment it happened. Oh well!!! That was not the case but she was excited that she got home early from work that day to experience the huge milestone. I had just taken my first step as a child and it was a big deal because that meant growth. For that moment, I guess I thought falling was fun because whenever i fell, it made other people excited. They would clap their hands, laugh so hard and urge me to do it again. What did I know? I was just a toddler amusing people by falling on soft rugs, cushions and beds all in a bid to start walking.
At a time, falling stopped being amusing. I would go to school and get bruised because I fell during physical education (P.E) or while playing at lunch break (I actually mean breaking time). How come falling was not fun anymore, no one was laughing or telling me to do it again. Sigh!! I would not have been interested in falling again anyway because of the pain and my eyes would probably be red from crying. Falling began to have a ‘not so good’ meaning and I consciously did everything on a minimum from running around to playing police and thief to getting on swings that had kids chanting jan-go-lo-va e-po-mo-tor (Now that we are all grown up, please tell me you know it is actually – jingle over, like a motor). I had learnt that I could fall and get injured while playing so I played carefully but I did not stop playing.
Then my mum’s shoes started to fascinate me and I would catwalk in them and trip. This was not so bad because it was in the comfort of my home and I did not get injured. What I did not know was that I gradually fed my thirst, so It was not strange to anyone when I started to ask for my shoes to have heels as well (At least I could handle the little heels and minor trips). Well, that was what I thought until I got into A levels/University era and wanted shoes with heels even higher. Lord!!! Pain, incessant trips that sometimes led to a fall, discomfort and everyother thing that is associated with wearing heels as a ‘newbie’ were my plight until I was able to shop for high shoes and wedges that were comfortable. I had learnt that I did not have to stop wearing shoes with heels but I could control the reason why I fell. I resolved It was acceptable to fall because I walked into a stone I did not see and not because my shoes were uncomfortable.
Just like the two sides of a coin, Life always hands us our lessons in two forms – happiness or sadness, failure or success, shadow or light, comedy or tragedy, falling and being able get up. When you make a decision to start doing something, always have the possibility of falling in view as well. We all love a positive result but the part of a process we love to hate is ‘Falling’ because it brings about discomfort and sometimes frustration. The truth is, falling is unavoidable and that is just how life offers its fruit occasionally. The good and the bad.
So, is it okay to say that falling is an acceptable experience? …..Maybe because of the lessons we learn?
Falling is a rapid move from a higher level to a lower level and/or losing ones balance. So, whether you actually fall face down or you mistakenly throw your phone from a three storey building and become sad, you get the same feeling of unhappiness. Therefore, if you think of fall literally or metaphorically, it should be harmless to say we ‘fall’ when a ‘situation’ results to discomfort or distress.
Why we fall……..
We fall at different stages in life for different reasons but the results are never the same. Our perspective on falling begins to change as we get older. It could be pleasant (like falling in love) or unpleasant (like falling out of love). Before I am tempted to digress and talk about love, here is a more ‘relate-able example, free from sentiment’ – At least, you know that falling on a trampoline is a better experience than falling on a hard floor.
We fall because we sometimes have exaggerated expectations, as a result of being clumsy, making uninformed decisions, not being equipped, being too confident, inadequate planning or simply because we just have to fall as a process of getting to the next level. Our experiences from falling sort of shapes the decisions and choices we have to make because we must have learnt a lesson from a previous uncomfortable situation. I like to imagine ‘falling’ as an automatic reset button just waiting to call you to order if you start deviating from a plan. So, as a new student, falling can mean failure and when you remember you could fail as a result of not studying for an exam, you have the opportunity to do what is right. However, a student who has failed before knows first hand what to do and what not to do. That is exactly what falling does to our choices.
How we react…………
People react differently to falling. Some see it as the end of a road while some other people see it as an opportunity to start over. The beauty in falling is obviously not in the pain or discomfort rather it is in the lesson you gain from the experience as you get back up. Holding on to that lesson is up to you but at least you already know what is likely to happen if you ply that route again. Sometimes you can decide to pass the same route but the difference is that you know one method that should not be used.
Your attitude to falling should be ‘ to stop sulking and start making lemonades out of lemon’. So you have a bad situation at hand, you are sad, you are uncomfortable, you literally fell in front of your crush and his friends, you lost a contract,……. (add more to the list) etc. Not so good I know but it is a better option to find a way to tweak the situation a bit, or change your strategy. Basically just turning a bad experience into something beneficial.
On a lighter note, here is an example I used earlier. Wearing high heeled shoes used to be so uncomfortable for me and I lost my balance a lot. That did not make me stop wearing high heeled shoes rather it made me look out for what kind of high heeled shoes I can wear comfortably. The outcome is that I can now make an informed decision and get shoes with platform heels or wedges.
We need to figure out the best way to handle a fall (situation, disappointment, discomfort). First be aware of the reason you fell, accept it, stay calm because you need a clear head and you do not want to call more attention to yourself, work through your emotions and stand up with the lessons, remain optimistic, dust yourself and change your strategy or priorities, set a realistic target and start walking again. It is easier said than done right?, ‘not doing’ at all is lethal so you just have to try.
……And the answer is YES. It is okay to say that Falling is an acceptable experience because it gives you the chance to re-strategise and enables you to stand up stronger with even better understanding as to why you fell.
Falling can have pleasant or sometimes unpleasant consequences but the lessons you gain while you get back up is far more valuable for future decisions than being too conscious and not falling at all.
What lessons have you learnt after recovering from a fall?
Do share in the comment section.
Love, Peace and Cupcakes