I'm walking alongside my daughter and I can tell she's a little nervous. She reaches her hand up to me and asks, "will you hold my hand mama?"
"Of course!" I answer as our hands meet in the air. I feel her grip and notice she's walking with a little more confidence towards this big scary thing she's about to do.
This story flashed into my mind as I was talking with Journal Jam sponsor Ben West, the Managing Developer and Co-Founder for Radial Development Group.
"Mostly I just need some hand-holding and practice." He said as we talked about why participating in Journal Jams is helpful.
And I get it. Not only as a parent but as someone that needs my hand held at times too.
When the pandemic hit my gym closed and with it my workout routine stalled out. I tried doing online zumba classes and trail running but couldn't get into the routine. When my gym opened back up I went a few times but found I didn't feel so relaxed and comfortable there. As a result my workout wasn't gratifying and I stopped going.
I ended up talking with my husband about my struggle a few times. I really wanted to get my body moving more vigorously again but I couldn't make the leap to do so on my own.
So, he offered to go for a run with me at my pace (that turned out to be a 15-minute mile, which is almost half his normal speed). It was hard, I wasn't having any fun, but he kept cheering me own. Afterward I felt alive and exhilarated in a way I haven't experienced since the pandemic hit. And now I don't experience the same barrier to running as I did before.
It turned out I just needed someone to hold my hand.
I think part of the reason I needed my hand held is because I've never fancied myself a runner. I was not a particularly athletic kid and running the mile in gym class was my least favorite activity of all. As an asthmatic child I always came in last and was routinely made fun of for being so slow.
So I had all this emotional baggage and these limiting beliefs that made running such a bigger struggle. It also didn't help that I decided to start with trail running - when I saw a giant root structure on the pathway I thought to myself, "lift your feet high!" Then I promptly tripped. I laid there, splayed out on the trail for a few seconds before deciding it was best to just walk.
All it took was one experience of failure to reinforce the story that I'm not a runner. There's a reason we call such story-lines limiting beliefs.
Our society tends to look at hand holding as a sign of weakness. There's a common (mis)conception that you're babying someone by holding their hand. But I find that if someone's holding your hand, you're willing to stretch a little harder, to bend a little farther and to give a little more than you would have otherwise.
That's why it can help so much to have someone hold your hand. Just the mere act of reaching out for another person's hand is a meaningful gesture that says, "I believe I'm worth it."
Would you like me to hold your hand so you may reap the rewards of journaling? Join me for the next Journal Jam on 9/29.