“Walk like you’re one inch taller.”
Dawn, my new physical therapist, was coaching me to walk properly last week. She’s helping me to improve my posture and alignment in order to heal from birth injuries.
As you’d imagine, I’m taking this work seriously. I’m on time for every appointment, giving each exercise my all.
But those six words nearly stopped me in my tracks.
The ears of my soul perked up, like a cat at the sound of kibble. That’s what my body feels like when it hears something true, my inner animal snaps to attention.
Walk like you’re one inch taller.
Have you ever tried this? It’s amazing, really – give it a go and you’ll see. There’s a lovely kind of lightness that comes when you pretend to take up just a little bit more space.
Only … it’s not really pretend. That’s what I realized as I walked back and forth across the room with Dawn.
I’m 5’7″, but often I walk around as though I’m an inch or two shorter. Sometimes I slouch, even though I know better. I take up less space than I’ve been given.
And over time, I forget how tall I really am.
Does this ring a bell for you, dear one?
Do you own your full height – your full strength, your full courage – or do you shrink down?
Do you walk into rooms proudly, with your head held high, or do you scuttle in like you don’t deserve to be there at all?
Do you make yourself smaller so that other people will feel more comfortable around you?
Have you forgotten how strong and capable YOU really are?
If so, you’re not the only one. I know how easy it is to forget your own power. There I was, walking around stooped when actually I am a total badass.
I’ve gone through enough to claim that word for myself. Most recently, I gave birth to an 8lb 14oz baby “naturally.” I managed my mind and leaned (literally and metaphorically) on an amazing support team.
Still, the latter part of labor was like being in a street fight with my own body. I honestly do not know how I got through it. My body did incredible work then, and it’s doing incredible work healing now.
Remember Who You Are.
I bet you’ve been through tough things in your time, too. I bet you’ve survived some scary stuff. And there’s a lot of power in simply remembering who you are.
You are the person who survived that trauma.
You are the person who walked through hell with someone you loved.
You are the person who took a risk and refused to give up.
Honey, I see you. And I’m writing you this today to remind you: You get to walk around like you’re one inch taller. You get to enjoy that feeling of lightness and expansion.
Not because it’s a lie, but because it’s the TRUTH.
You are bigger and braver than you give yourself credit for.
I can practically hear you objecting: “But Caroline! I feel scared a lot of the time!”
To which I’ll just say: Me too. There’s a part of me that’s reluctant to write this. Sharing about birth injuries feels scary to me.
But I also know better than to let fear drive the bus.
I’m writing this because I believe – no, I KNOW – that someone out there needs to hear it.
It’s my job to write what wants to come through, to get my ego out of the way in order to be of service.
And when we let ourselves do this, we become light bearers. We bring light and hope into the world. There is no greater honor.
Walk like you’re one inch taller today, friend. Do it scared. Do it anyway.
We need the light that only you can bring.
Caroline Garnet McGraw is the author of You Don’t Owe Anyone: Free Yourself from the Weight of Expectations (Broadleaf Books, 2021). Read the first chapter for free and start living your life without apology.
Image courtesy of CoWomen.