Have you ever gone hiking on a difficult or unknown trail?
Have you ever had any kind of injury while hiking or doing sports?
Remember a moment in which you were in a situation similar to that.
If it is an unknown trail, we might want to overly check all climate and terrain conditions before actually embarking on the path. If the path suddenly turns more difficult than we expected, we might even think: “why did I start to walk on this path at all?”
When we have had a small injury, it becomes even harder… Every step could be painful until we arrive to a shelter or to where we could get any kind of help.
Similarly, there are emotional situations in our lives in which no movement at all is desired. Even the thought of taking a small step towards a different path seems daunting.
At home or at work, we might be going through new circumstances or a particularly difficult patch. We may have tried to approach people around us or people we love in a variety of ways and we feel that nothing is working. We feel emotionally injured or exhausted. We don’t know what to do and we don’t want to move.
So, what do we do at these points? Paradoxically, we stop… and then start!
We stop for a moment or for a few breaths to pay attention to our body sensations and feelings. And we ask ourselves: “Which is the smallest step that I could take right now?”, “And in which direction?” There is always something small enough that we find in our search, that we could attempt to try.
Then we start. We gather courage and tell ourselves: “Just one small step”, and after that one we can decide how to continue. Sometimes the thought is enough to start, some other times we might need the encouragement of physically moving or doing something to start.
There is a Peruvian proverb that says that “Little by little, one walks far”. After taking one step and then another, we might find ourselves in a different path than we imagined, one that leads to discovering unexpected solutions to our situations.
Like us, our children also experience these moments of feeling emotionally paralyzed. They don’t understand, they don’t know what to do and they don’t know how to express what they are really feeling. We can then be role models to them. We can teach them by example that we can stop and then start taking new steps.
We can lead them to take that first small step towards discovering the new brighter path that awaits each one of them!
Written by: Yana Ricart Psychotherapist SACAC Counselling