They figure prominently in our lives, starting with the first we take, hands out wide for balance as we totter and eventually fall—unless someone is there to catch us. Either way, and no matter how it turns out, it isn’t a failure, it’s an accomplishment.
There are so many steps taken when we’re young, so many we can’t wait to complete. And then youth is over. High school ends. College is behind us. Marriage. Family.
Steps become tasks become work become drudgery as we forget what our steps meant to us so long ago.
Four years ago I learned what it was to require someone’s assistance to mount even a single stair. You gain an appreciation for an ability, for opportunities, when they’re taken away and you’re left clutching emptiness.
I made it through, though. I took the steps necessary to get to where I am now. It was a difficult journey, but knowing how to make it through wasn’t a revelation that came to me in the middle of the night.
The groundwork was laid five years before…
It was then, in the darkest hour that ever gripped my life that the lessons came my way via the kindest, wisest man I ever knew. My life was a shambles. The walls I’d worked hard to protect me had crumbled.
I was in that place no one wants to visit—ever.
One last, desperate attempt to reach out took me to Don and from that point my life changed forever.
Don didn’t put me back together, though I wanted desperately that he do so. Instead, he had me put me back together—one small step at a time. We’ve heard all the suggestions and read all the quotes about taking steps, but Don had a something valuable to add.
Taking that first step is important, and as Don explained, I took that first step towards putting myself back together when I reached out to him. Too, he made certain that I recognized what I’d done and that I was proud of the accomplishment.
The long, painful process that followed amounted to more steps and my taking the time to place value upon each one, for every step attained was a victory!
Consider, for a moment, quitting cigarettes. Starting is a victory. Day one is a victory, but so is day four or day seventeen. I’m not talking about jumping up and down, though that’s perfectly fine, but applying mindfulness to the event. It’s a major accomplishment and one worthy of stopping to appreciate the moment AND BE PROUD.
Too often we’re embarrassed, we feel as though our ego has run amuck, but this is about improving yourself as a human being and that betters humanity.
In my case, it was about saving my life. I’ve no doubt I wouldn’t be writing this now if not for what he taught me, and if not for what he taught me I wouldn’t have gotten through the darkest days of my illness.
This isn’t about ego, this is about survival, this is about gratitude.
This is about spreading the word, calling out to every person suffering depression and telling them, “One step at a time, and be damned proud of each step. Be mindful and grateful, and know you deserve happiness.”