Does anyone remember Burton Cummings song, “Stand Tall?” One of the main verses is this:
“Stand tall, don’t you fall oh, don’t go and do something foolish
You’re feeling it like everyone, it’s silly human pride
Stand tall, don’t you fall. don’t go do something you’ll regret later
You’re feeling it like everyone, it’s silly human pride.”
I think of this often when I feel bowed down with worry or grief or doubt. When my inside feels burdened down I stand as tall as I can, hoping that my outside will override my inside. Amazingly, it helps.
I had a very short grandmother (my dad’s mom), who, when I was a teenager, used to grab my shoulders from behind, put a knee in my back, and exclaim, “stand up straight! Be proud of your height!”
So when I let my body sag, I remember her, and straighten up. I find that walking tall helps my confidence, too. When I’m in public I tend to stand as tall as I can; shoulders back, stomach in, and chin up. I may look like an ostrich in a kimono doing it, but it makes me feel better.
When we stand tall, we are standing up for ourselves and our right to be here, and to follow our own course. Whether we are caretakers, biologists, teachers, nurses, actors, truck drivers, doctors, writers, nuns, vets, parents, etc.—we are here for a reason. We are here to be fully who we are, no matter what that might be.
Standing tall is a reminder to ourselves every day that we matter, that we count, that we care and that we have a purpose. For me, it’s that knee in my back that reminds me of who I am and who stood tall for me.