“In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.” — John Ruskin
Initially, my pride tried to keep me from using a walker. I had no problem with it. No sirree. But my pride — not on board with it. I mean, seriously, a walker? It’s not that I lack compassion for people who use a walker, or think it’s their fault that they need one; but to my pride, this was different — it was happening to me, and I shouldn’t need a walker.
But let’s talk about “pride” for a second. Pride isn’t always a bad thing. According to Billy Graham, “It’s not necessarily wrong to take pride in something we’ve done well. This kind of pride isn’t boastful or self-centered, but is a feeling of satisfaction over what we’ve accomplished.” However, when it keeps you from showing humility and, yes, using a walker when you need it, pride takes you to a bad place. In his article, Two Ways Pride Can Ruin Your Life, Stephen Guise writes, “In showing yourself stronger than you are, you’re setting yourself up for a big and painful drop.” And adds, “Your true colors are a brilliant mix of fault and merit, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
Could it be that I was ashamed to use a walker? This was something I had to work through in my head. It didn’t help that some people snickered at my situation and asked me to send photos of myself posing with my walker. But here’s the thing — the walker does exactly what the name implies — helps you walk. It’s there for support and balance and for me is a temporary device to help in my recovery. Even if it was full time — so what? People using walkers are using them because them need them, not because they’ve simply chosen to give up on walking without one.
My first days with my walker were spent at home, making laps from my living room, through the hallway and back. And I told myself that was OK as long as I didn’t go out in public. Really? Am I that vain and prideful that I couldn’t use a walker in front of others? Obviously, I’m using it because I need it. And honestly, I don’t recall ever once looking down my nose at others who are using a walker. Why would I assume people would think any differently of me?
Thankfully, I pushed that prideful moment aside, and I’ve since been to the hair salon, Cracker Barrel (where having a walker is not a stand-out experience), and a few other public places, steadily trotting along with my walker. And it’s not like I’m a lone wolf out there using this four-legged medical device. I’m now more aware than ever of others using walkers, and I have to say that this humbling little experience has made me much more sympathetic to their plight and appreciative of their efforts.
I eventually decided to have a little fun with my walker and came up with “The Walker Workout” (see below) incorporating L-sits and dips. Yeah, it may look like I’m showing off, but I have strong arms, and a solid core, and I’m proud of my accomplishments. That’s right, proud. Proud that I’m working out, and proud that I’m doing it with a walker.
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