> Holidays > The High Holidays > Growth & Renewal > Self-Fulfillment

Ten Ways to Get Up After We Fall

September 16, 2015 | by Debbie Gutfreund

How to keep trying even when we feel stuck.

To re-write our stories, we must first own them. To forgive others we must first know how to forgive ourselves. To love we must first know what it feels like to be loved. To become strong, we must first overcome weakness. To climb we must first learn how to fall.

During the 10 Days of Repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we embark on a journey of self-transformation. All journeys, especially inner ones, have their ups and downs and to succeed we need to know how to keep trying even when we feel stuck. Here are 10 ways to get up when we fall.

  1. Be prepared to fall. Many times when we first try to change a habit or a character trait, life seems to get harder. An unexpected stressful event comes up or our plans don't work out the way we thought they would. Struggle is inherently part of the change process, and we can work through it if we accept it. "If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability. Daring is not saying 'I'm willing to risk failure.' Daring is saying, 'I know I will eventually fail, and I'm still all in." Brene Brown

  2. Ask for help. None of us can succeed on our own. "Acquire for yourself a friend," the Mishnah tells us. (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:2). A friend is someone who will support your efforts to change without knocking you down. A friend is someone who can give you advice without pressuring you to take it. We are not meant to figure everything out all by ourselves. Ask for help when you need it.

  3. Nurture your values. "The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live." Norman Cousins. Don't give up on what is most important to you. Our authentic values and ideals should not take second place in our lives. Sometimes falling is a wakeup call to re-prioritize the way we spend our time.

  4. Learn something positive from failing. "Whenever you fall, pick something up." Oswald Avery. What lesson can we learn from our fall? What can we pick up and bring with us?

  5. Be proactive. If you don't hear what you need to hear, then say what you need to hear. Sometimes we need to coach ourselves. Learn how to talk yourself out of despair. Find the words and inspiring quotes you need to pick yourself up and keep them written down in a place you can easily access when you need it most.

  6. Accept that change takes time. "There is an easy answer to your problem that is neat, plausible and wrong." Anonymous. Change takes repeated effort and time. No two journeys are the same. The easy answers and short cuts usually bring us to dead ends.

  7. Appreciate the gift of teshuva. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand back up taller than you ever were. Falling is often a chance to surpass your past limits. God gives us a gift each time we fall, the gift of experiencing a challenge and learning that we can overcome it. The gift of realizing that we are not defined by our past mistakes, and that the mistakes themselves can be turned into stepping stones.

  8. Be open to new strategies. It's not the yets we have to worry about, it's the agains. If we do what we have always done, we will get what we have always gotten. Don't keep trying to fix something with a solution that you already know makes things worse. Leave behind the "agains " and be open to what you haven't tried yet.

  9. Keep trying even when you're not in the mood. It's much easier to change when we feel inspired and energized. But to succeed we need to commit to our goals even we don't feel like it. When we're tired or frustrated or disconnected from what inspired us in the first place. But emotions aren't facts, and we will only change if we persist through mood fluctuations and down days.

  10. Hold onto your connection with God. On Yom Kippur, we re-connect with the Source of our lives and the One who makes impossible change possible. Be grateful for everything that He gives you. Recognize that our lives are in His Hands and that to really rise up when we fall, we need to turn to Him and ask Him to help us find a way.

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