Then, my view of my walking started alternating between what I judged was success (which led to happiness) and as lack of success (which led to discouragement). Whenever I thought I’d made a mistake, I’d say I was tired, and my nurse aid would retort, “No, you’re not tired!” When I sat down in the chair, Eric and my nurse aid would tell me to smile because my walking had been awesome, and would list the good things I’d done, but I felt that it was not awesome, so there weren’t reasons to smile.
Until Friday came. I walked inside the bar, and my nurse aid asked me how I thought I’d done. I answered, fair. And she got really mad. She gave me a long lecture about the need to appreciate my achievements and to approach and end my walking with a smile. And she ended with, “I’ll give you that: you’re a pouter, but not a quitter.” The lecture was humbling, but it fulfilled its goal; it made me change my attitude.
The next day, I decided to confront my fear and approach walking with a raised head. I’d keep all my nurse aid’s directions in my head and picture them one by one before I followed them: I’d look down at my feet and think before I took a step, and I’d wait and breathe instead of rushing. I’d listen to everything she’d told me. I’d no longer be a pouter. And I did well! And I didn’t think of any of the small things that went wrong, only of the big ones that went right. And I smiled a big smile and high fived Eric and my nurse aid. And I decided to change my approach to my exercises for as long as I’d last.