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How to Catch Yourself When You’re Falling

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There is a beautiful quote from Baal Shem Tov: “Let me fall if I must fall. The one I will become will catch me.”

Which always reminds me that we have the power to catch ourselves, even if we don’t think we can. That is comforting and empowering, because all of us will fall. We may fall from the sky, a very long descent. We may fall out of a second-story window, closer to the ground but still potentially bruised. But, again, these falls are OK. Because we can handle this. Because we’ve got this. We can be our own superman, swooping in when we’ve been thrown from a building.

When I think of falling, I think of being overwhelmed or stuck. I think of grieving and feeling out of control. I think of struggle. I think of feeling depleted and weary. I think of heartbreak and difficult circumstances. I think of feeling utterly disconnected from myself.

How can you catch yourself?

First, you pause. Mid-air. You recognize that you are, indeed, plummeting. This seems obvious, but sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, we don’t know that we’re falling. We think everything is fine. We hover in denial. We shut our eyes. So acknowledging you’re falling is incredibly powerful.

Then catching yourself may look like simply taking a step in a different direction. Just one step. That’s it. And you’re already changing course. For instance, this step might be taking long, deep breaths and finding calm within. It might be making an appointment with a therapist. It might be journaling about what’s happened and what you want to happen (and getting creative about your solutions). It might be reading something that tends to bring you hope, that restores your faith (in yourself). Words that feel like a loving, all in hug.

You also can catch yourself with kindness and understanding. You can be understanding of your pain like you would be understanding of a child’s pain. You can stop numbing yourself. Don’t drink. Don’t shop. Don’t engage in any behaviors that you know only make you feel worse and cause you to fall farther and farther. Give yourself a sense of safety, a soft landing, warmth and protection. What does safety look like to you? What does your parachute feel like?

You can catch yourself by feeling what you’re feeling, acknowledging the darkness and hurt and shame and anxiety and fear. By being honest and vulnerable with yourself, then figuring out how you can grow and bloom and flourish. Discover what helps you to feel strong and rooted. Because you are strong. Sometimes, you simply forget. We all do.

Maybe you even have a mantra: I can catch myself. I will catch myself. Every time. And you can. And you will.

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How to Catch Yourself When You’re Falling

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2016). How to Catch Yourself When You’re Falling. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 12, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Apr 2016
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