Picture this…

It’s the first Saturday of summer, and you’re eight years old again. You wake up at the crack of dawn, because that’s what kids do even when they don’t have to be at school, and you put on your play clothes and run down the steps, taking them two at a time, and as you reach the bottom of your steps you go straight to your back door, push it open, and run outside. Even though the sun’s barely out, you can still feel the heat of the sun start to break away the cool morning air. You breathe deeply, taking in this mixture of hot and cold air, and then you run to the fence where you have just spotted your favorite ball and when you finally reach it, you pick it up and start to play with it. Without a care in the world, you kick your ball, bounce it, and throw it until you can hardly move your arms.

After you finish playing with your ball, you take a short breather in order to give your arms some much needed rest and then you move on to jumping rope. You jump and jump and jump until your legs turn to jelly and then after another short recovery you finish off your morning by hula hooping until it’s time to eat lunch. For lunch, your mom makes you your favorite lunch time meal that you devour in a manner that would make anyone think that you hadn’t had anything to eat in weeks, and after you finish eating your lunch your mom tells you that you get to go to the park!

Upon entering these sacred grounds, you sprint at full speed right to your favorite place, the sand box. You build sand castles with nothing but your hands and the water from the water fountain as your crafting tools. You expertly construct massive and intricate buildings that even an architect would be impressed by.

After finishing your masterpiece, you rush over to the jungle gym and onto the monkey bars. You move effortlessly from bar to bar until you make it to the other side of this colossal-sized playground. After going from one side of the monkey bars to the other side and back again, you decide that you’re going to have a go at the swings. You just learned how to swing by yourself, and since then you’ve been determined to get as high off the ground as is physically possible before jumping off.

After deciding to go on the swings, you slide down the winding slide and run over to the swing set just in time to grab the last free swing. You lean against the swing and start pushing it back as far as you can until you’re standing on your tippee toes and then you jump onto the seat and take off. As you feel the hot air blowing on your face, you start to pump your legs in an effort to urge the swing higher. With each pump of your legs- backwards, and forward, backwards, and forward, and backwards again- you go higher and higher until you’re higher than you’ve ever been before. Pure and unadulterated elation coarse through your veins and you hoop and holler as your stomach excitedly turns over and over again from the best swing ride of your lifetime.

And just when you think you can’t get any higher you do! This is exactly what you’ve been waiting for! Now’s your chance! As the swing rears back one more time and starts to raise you higher, you let go of the chains to your left and right, and fly in the air higher than you ever dreamed possible. As you move up and up into the air, you feel as free as a bird does as he flies and soars through the air.

As you start to make your way back to the ground, you realize that you were so wrapped up in this life-changing moment that you have forgotten to brace yourself for the landing, and just as you come to this conclusion, you land face first on the ground. SMACK!

Your face stings as you roll over onto your back, and you instantly reach for your throbbing knee that slammed on a rock when you landed face down on the ground. As you hold your knee against your chest, unrestricted tears flow down your cheeks and onto your now dirt-covered t-shirt. As you look up from where you lay on the ground, you see a blurred image of your mom rushing right over to you.

“I hurt my leg mommy,” you cry once she is by your side.

“Do you want me to kiss and make it feel better?” she asks in a soothing voice as she kneels down next to you.

After nodding your head vigorously, your mom leans her head down and places her lips on you leg making a loud and exaggerated smooching sound. “Better?” she asks after finishing her kiss.

“Mmhhmm,” you respond as you let go of your leg.

“Good. Now are you ready to get back up and play some more?” she inquires.

Looking up at her, you shake your head letting her know that you don’t want to get up.

Concern stretches across your mother’s face. “Why not?”

“I don’t know,” you say while shrugging your shoulders.

“Well you know sweetheart, if you stay down here, you’re going to miss out on all of the fun you can be having. Just look at all of the kids out here laughing and having a good time. Don’t you want to have fun like all of the other boys and girls out here?”

Turning your head to the right, you see all of the other kids running around and playing. You hear their laughter and their excited voices as the run and jump and skip and roll around the park, and as you see them enjoying their day at the park you decide that you don’t want to miss out on anymore fun and that you want to enjoy your day at the park too. You then shift your focus back up to your mother’s caring eyes, and you say, “Ok mommy, I’ll get up.”

Positive thinkers, we all fall down sometimes. We all suffer from failure, disappointments, losses, grief, hardships, and many many other difficulties that bring us down. Nobody is immune to it, but when we do fall down, we can’t stay down forever. You have to get back up. If you want to be able to try again then you have to get up first. And, if you do try again your previous fall can end up helping you because the next time you’ll know what to do so that you don’t fall the same way that you did last time.

And if you don’t want to try again, that’s ok too. You should still make the decision to get up again, and when you do eventually make that decision, leave all of the hurt that you felt back down on the ground where you fell; don’t take it with you. Carrying that hurt around with you and focusing on the pain that your fall caused you might cause you to miss out on all of the other opportunities life has to offer you, so just let go of it.

You may be scared of what could happen after you get back up again, especially after falling hard, but staying on the ground isn’t going to make you feel any better. From the ground, you can only see life pass you by; you can’t participate from the floor, but you can join in in all of life’s joys when you get up. It may be hard positive thinker, and it may be difficult, but in the end, all that matters is that you get back up.

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