When you’re down and out and unable to go on, sometimes you need to borrow the courage to move forward. Once you do, a time may come when someone else needs it — and you can pay it forward.
I have a friend who is going through a horribly painful divorce. She is in the midst of a transition to a new life. But she is still so full of pain, that she sometimes become paralyzed by fear and feels like she cannot go on. Even though she really has no choice but to keep going and adapting to her new life day by day, she is so frightened that she feels like she may not make it.
I had been in labour with my daughter. Fittingly, I was in the “transition” stage of labour. I had been labouring with her for hours, and I was exhausted. I had pushed and struggled and tried every position I could think of to get my ungainly body to yield, and to get my child out.
Over the hours, I had used up every ounce of strength I had. I genuinely didn’t think I could make it to the end of labour. I felt as though I had absolutely nothing left to give. I truly believed I couldn’t go on and that the baby would never come out. I didn’t want to give up, but I had absolutely no physical or mental strength left. The thing that scared me so much was that I knew it was impossible to give up and rest until the baby was actually born. Even though I tried to push more, my body just couldn’t do any more.
I started crying in fear, as I didn’t know what I would do. Then I caught the look in my husband’s eye. He had been there at the side of the pool with me throughout this rough ride. He had seen how much effort it had cost me to keep the baby moving through my body. I can only describe the look in his eyes as mirroring back to me his absolute belief that I could keep going. I saw not only his belief that I could do this, but his absolute certainty that I could and would do it. He totally and utterly believed that I had everything I needed to get that baby out.
This was the magic I needed. It was as if, without words, he had transmitted to me some deep extra reserve of physical and mental strength that I never even knew I possessed. I had nothing in my own tank; all I had was his belief that I was totally capable of doing it.
His eyes somehow gave me the ability to dig down so deep into myself to find the strength necessary for those next minutes. Even though I had nothing, I found something in myself because of his vision of me. To this day, I don’t even really know how I did do it. I just know that since he thought I could do it, I suddenly knew that I could do it too.
Sometimes when others are in a situation over which they have no control, they need us to hold to our vision of them, even if that isn’t the vision they have of themselves at the time. They need us to hold in our minds and our hearts the picture of them at their very best — strong, confident, capable and resilient. Then, they need to borrow that vision of themselves to use until they can get themselves back to the place in their lives where they can see themselves that way again. They need to borrow that courageous vision of themselves to make it to the other side.
So to my friend, please borrow this cup of courage, my vision of you. I know you can make a new life for yourself. You are strong, confident, capable and resilient and so much more. Someday you will look back on these days and it won’t hurt you anymore. You will be so much happier in your new life. Until that day, I’m holding this beautiful vision of you here in my heart, and you can look at it as often as you need to. You will do it. I know you will.
Have you ever needed to borrow someone else’s vision of you to get through a tough time in your life?
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