Move Forward Not Backwards

Due to Cerebral Palsy I struggle to walk backwards it is a lot easier to move forwards. Yet in life, figuratively speaking, I can bolt in the opposite direction at a moment’s notice. But I don’t want to be who I once was: full of fear and anxiety, lacking confidence and, at times due to these things, afraid to try; because let’s be honest not many of us like to fail even though falling down is a natural part of life. I read on Instagram one day that it is not failure OR success, but that failure is part of success.

I am preparing to share part of my story for the first time this year. Although this time will be the fourth time I have shared, the anxiety and panic attacks have been coming in droves. Yes, my anxiety is pushing me down wanting me to not only walk but run in the opposite direction (ie not speak).

I know what life is like when you back down and away. It is lonely and unexciting. It happened when I was in High School, I was a shy teen lacking confidence being bullied from multiple adult sources. My parents fought for change for me because I wasn’t listened to, but the changes were too little too late. I shutdown and withdrew, I no longer competed/participated in anything (despite doing so in Primary School) with the exception of being a member of the debating team one year because I was bored with my life, and getting pushed (in my wheelchair) around the Cross Country course one year – I can’t remember the reason I chose to do so. Maybe friendship persuasion? But that was it. Despite the beautiful friendships I made that I still have today and the subjects I enjoyed learning (PE and Art were my favourite), I was all too glad to close that chapter of my life. But I walked away with regrets. Missed opportunities and missed moments to make happier memories. I have forgiven myself because those years were REALLY tough, but I vowed to myself that I would be different and that I could make different choices.

As they say each day is a new day. Ever since that decision, I have had to make the deliberate choice to be better than I was yesterday. Am I perfect? No way! Is it easier to be my old self? Absolutely! But despite really intense lows. The highs, the better me is always worth fighting for. I would like to encourage you with some tips that I have found helpful, as a starting point, to keep moving forward towards a better you and a better tomorrow every single day.

Support team: Never underestimate this! When I don’t feel like getting up again they are there giving me multiple reasons to keep at it. You know who you are; I love you!

Talk it out: If I bottle stress or worry etc. that is making me want to run backwards it generally gets worse. By talking about it I release it gaining calm and perspective.

Pray and meditate on scripture: This centres me. Giving me calming reassurance that Jesus is with me always.

Exercise: The benefits are numerous; for healthy body and mind.

Find enjoyment in every day: This has been a relatively new habit for me but life changing!

Be kind to yourself: Keep your progress in perspective. Yes it is true I am still not super confident but my levels of confidence have grown to levels I haven’t seen in years or, if truly honest, I have never seen before. Remember yelling at yourself doesn’t get you there any faster.

Dream: What does your better self look like? What does your better tomorrow look like? Don’t lose that dream. It will give you a sense of determination and hope.

Psalm 18:19 “He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”



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