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  • Writer's pictureDiane Henderson

Empowered People Keep Both Feet Planted Firmly On The Ground

Several years ago, as I was returning home from a speaking engagement, I decided to stop in a town about two hours from home to stretch my legs.  At that time the best place in the world for me to stretch my legs was Stein Mart Department store, so that is where I chose to stop.  It was late on Sunday afternoon so there were few customers in the store. As I moseyed around, I noticed to my left a display of scarves, and one on the second row caught my eye. I thought it might match the colors of the pants that I was wearing.  I stopped and lifted my knee to the scarf to see if I was right.

Before I go on, I want you to picture the scarf display.  The scarves were hung on plastic rings and the rings were placed on metal arms that stuck out from the display.  The metal arms were curled up at their ends so the plastic rings wouldn’t fall off.  I lifted my knee in the air, draped the scarf over it and found much to my sadness that the two would not go together.  As I lowered my leg, my pant leg caught on one of the metal arms of the display.  I lifted my knee to dislodge the pant leg but to no avail.  I lifted it once again, but it was still caught and would not detach.

So. there I was, STUCK.  I looked around and there was no one in sight to help me. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?  WHERE IS HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT?  DO I YELL OUT FOR HELP? ONLY I COULD MANAGE TO DO THIS!! I was thinking all of this while standing on one leg. I was 60 years old at the time and my balance was not what it used to be.  Then I started beating myself up.  WHY DID I STOP HERE ANYWAY?  HOW CAN ANYONE BE SO DUMB?  I SHOULD HAVE NEVER STOPPED GOING TO YOGA.  WHY DIDN’T I PAY MORE ATTENTION?  When I exhausted my arsenal of negative self-talk, I decided not to embarrass myself by yelling for help, but to simply bend over closer to the rack and pull my pants leg off the metal arm.  As I bent over and grabbed the pant leg, I lost my balance and fell on my back in the middle of the store with my feet flying straight up in the air.  I am sure that it was a sight to behold. 

I was stunned for a minute.  I could hear shoppers talking nearby, but still, no one came to my rescue.  I pulled myself together, checked all of my bones, and slowly got up and quickly left the store.  I was extremely lucky that my feet went up into the air because it dislodged the material from the metal arm of the display.  If it had not, I would have pulled the entire rack of scarves on top of me.  I was also lucky that I did not get hurt and that no one saw me.  I did not have to go through the humiliation that comes with falling in public.  I can now laugh at myself over this, but not at the time.

I share this story because I know there are some of you out there who are precariously perched on one proverbial leg in some area of your life, and you feel stuck.  I am sure that you have asked yourself the same questions that I asked, and I know you are most probably beating yourself up just like I did.  You may be too embarrassed to ask for help or you do not know where to turn for help. I also know that unlike mine, your dilemma has probably been going on for quite some time.  And finally, I know that if you do not fess up to someone and allow them to give you help and guidance, you too will lose your balance and fall.  When you fall, you may get hurt.  You may hurt others.  You may suffer the humiliation of public embarrassment.  Asking for help may be difficult, but hopefully, it will give you the strength and confidence to do whatever needs to be done appropriately.


Some areas that people find themselves perched precariously are:

Ethical issues at work 

Overextended financially

An eroding marriage

Poor job performance

Addictive behavior (alcohol, drugs, credit spending, sex, relationships)

Parental Issues

Having an affair

Physical or emotionally abusive behavior

Inability to say “No” and overextending your time or emotional self

Health issues that you are ignoring

Weight issues that may be leading to health issues


Some questions to ask yourself that might be helpful:

How long have you known on some level that you are perched on the edge of a major problem or maybe smack in the middle of one?

To whom have you admitted the problem?

Who would be helpful if you admitted the problem?

What has kept you from taking action steps to solve the problem?

If you knew what steps to take to solve the problem, what steps would you take?

If you were not afraid of the consequences, what steps would you take to solve the problem?

What excuses are you making up and telling yourself about this problem?

What is the TRUTH about you and this problem?

What is keeping you from taking action on the problem today?


Diane Henderson, MSW   Author of ALL GOD’S CHILDREN GOT ISSUES—A Woman’s Guide To Turn Her Issues Into Assets.  Available:  Amazon, Surf City Coffee, A Taste of Sunrise Coffee, Surf City Barbeque


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