“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”This quote by the tennis player Arthur Ashe appears quite a lot on social media. It’s the kind of cute quote you might expect to see there. It’s the kind of cute quote I’ve posted myself when life has been happy, or at least humdrum.
It’s the kind of cute quote that can give you a lift, and inspire you to try, and make a start on your dreams.
But it’s not the right quote if you’re curled up in a ball, and you’re dealing with a trauma, and you think you’re going to die.
No! It’s not the kind of quote that you want to hear just now.
Then, one day you decide that your life must go on. You are going to survive. You are made of stronger stuff. Yes, the pain’s unbearable, and you don’t know what to do. The options all look bad. None of this was in the script.
So, you rip up the old script and you start where you are.
But your self-esteem is shattered. You have lost your confidence. It is hard to open up and to trust anyone.
Work and hobbies? What are those? They hold no interest all. And because you never sleep you have zero energy.
Still, you make some kind of effort to retain a normal life. You turn up at the office, and you take your kids to school. You try to act the part – even though you’re in a mess. But you find there are reserves. You can manage minor tasks.
Step by step you’ve been choosing to use what you have.
And let’s be honest about things. You won’t “just get over this.” No, you’re going to be limping and bleeding for some years. You can wear a plaster cast, get some stitches for the wounds, replace the bandages, apply ointment, take some pills … but, still, it will take time. You can’t rush this process up.
But you’re caring for yourself. You are doing what you can. And those small acts of self-love help to change you bit by bit.
Then one day you catch a glimpse of the old self you had lost. You can’t believe it’s true. You had missed that self so much. You’re much stronger than before. Yes, it’s true, you have moved on. Who ever would have thought there was truth in that cute quote!
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”