In his book For One More Day, Mitch Albom writes, “I met a man once who did a lot of mountain climbing. I asked him which was harder, ascending or descending? He said without a doubt descending, because ascending you were so focused on reaching the top, you avoided mistakes. ‘The backside of a mountain is a fight against human nature,’ he said. ‘You have to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up.’” That’s good advice to remember.
It’s easy to value, accept, and care about yourself “on the way up,” when you’re on track to achieving your dreams, everything is going well, and you’re doing the right things. Yet “on the way down”—when you’ve made a mistake, veered off course, or find yourself regretting the choices you’ve made—self-worth, self-approval, and self-love may be the first to be discarded. During those times, you may believe you’re unworthy, undeserving, and unlovable. Yet that’s just a trick of the mind—and it’s untrue.
The truth is, you came into this world worthy, deserving, and loveable and, no matter what’s happened since, you’re just as worthy, deserving, and loveable in this very moment as you were on the day you were born. You’re still that same perfect being. You’ve learned things; that’s the only difference. Yes, sometimes the things you’ve learned may have been negative, fearful, and painful. You may have made some mistakes and made some poor choices.
On the other hand, maybe they weren’t actually “mistakes.” Perhaps you needed to make those choices in order to learn the lessons that you did. Either way, what’s happened in the past is over. It’s finished. It’s time for you allow yourself to move forward.
I accept that in each experience lies the opportunity for me to learn valuable lessons.
You, just like each and every one of us, are here to journey on your own individual and unique path. You’re here to serve a purpose. You need to understand that it’s okay for you to have experienced the things you experienced. Some of them were necessary in order for you to fulfill your life purposes. If they hadn’t occurred, you wouldn’t have the knowledge you have now that will allow you to create the best possible you and the best possible tomorrow.
I ask myself daily, “What have I learned?”
Take all of the lessons from your experiences and become empowered by them. You can’t change them, but you can learn from them. Ask yourself: What have I truly learned about myself and with what lesson am I moving forward?
What lessons have you learned while climbing the mountains in your life? Perhaps you made an error in judgment, but it taught you to set boundaries. Maybe you made a poor choice, but learned what to start doing or what to stop doing. These are very valuable lessons. Perhaps the experience taught you what you will or will not allow and accept into your life. Release any negative feelings about the experiences by telling yourself: Okay, I made a mistake. That error has taught me that if I act or react in this way, or if I allow this into my life, this is how it will affect me. Accept that is an experience that you’ve had and move forward by knowing that the lesson is learned and, therefore, complete. Celebrate that accomplishment; it’s significant!
I accept that I’m capable of change. I’m strong and I’m deserving of a new start.
Another step forward is to accept that you’re capable of change. You really are. Yes, it may be true that a tiger never changes its stripes and a leopard never changes its spots; but, here’s a newsflash—you’re not a tiger or a leopard. You’re human and you’re very capable of changing who you are and transforming your life. Any time you choose, you can recreate yourself and your life—and it all starts now.
Whether you are ascending or descending one of the mountains in your life, the power to create the best you and the best life possible for tomorrow is in this moment. You can find the strength within to let go of the past and move into the future with a new perspective and abundant appreciation for this fresh start. You have the opportunity to create an outcome for your life that is of your choosing.
There are more mountains ahead for you to climb and many more lessons to learn. On your journey, always remember to care as much about yourself on the way down as you did on the way up—you really do deserve it.