Step Stools

It’s not shameful having help.

When I was five, I had a small red step stool. It was perfect, bright red with white letters, and its size was so that my small hands could pick it up and carry it from room to room. I’ve often used the step stool analogy of reaching the cereal box on the top of the fridge, comparing it to my religion’s strict code of ethics.

My early childhood was a confusing mixture of beliefs systems. It was Hell fire and brimstone and very little emphasis on the love of Jesus. I was seven. It scared the crap out of me. Surely I was damned. Somehow, weirdly, I found strength and comfort in the rules. Finally, as an older adult, I walked away. We need boundaries, but then we graduate to a more complex understanding of how things work. The metaphor with the step stool is useful, but I can allow my philosophy to expand also.

Babies of most species need to be propped and hand-fed. Their legs are shaking, eyes adjusting to the new light. They are so dependent upon a kind, capable protector to guide them until they are independent. Children are not sponges but they are fragile and needy.

“I’M OK.


Whether we are well-adjusted or not depends on the culture and caregiving we received. Wartime and poverty are extremes, and we see them everyday on the news. Imagine for a moment growing up in a time of war. Like these days of the pandemic, children of war lose the ability to learn, concentrate, remain calm. Welcome to PTSD. Some live with this and, like me, didn’t realize that it existed. I knew the wrong way of being in this world. Upside down.

Poverty, inadequate training, and a sensitive nervous system make me feel behind in the race, only it’s not a race to win. I know with coaching, therapy, and love for myself, I can be a parent to myself—no need to suffer in silence and cry.

This little stool is mine 
I use it all the time
To reach the things I couldn’t
And lots of things I shouldn’t - quoted from my childhood red stool.

I’ve had quite a few sunny days. Mostly, I want to be patient with myself. And to feel safe. It’s okay, just as it is because I can keep learning. Don’t quit yourself even if you have failed 100 times. Get up and look in the mirror, and give yourself a huge smile.

Check out -> Mel Robbins & Dr. RangenChatterjee

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