I went to lunch with a friend last Wednesday. It was SO much fun! We talked and laughed for almost 3 hours – it went by so fast!
At one point I mentioned some of my past trauma and struggles. I’m really open about my past and feel that I’ve ridden myself from all (the majority of) the shame I’ve carried around about it for the last 20+ years, which makes it easier to talk about. But as I brought it up and went to share some of my story, I felt something new. I wasn’t aware of what it was at the time, but it felt sensitive and so I held back opening up too much.
As I later contemplated that experience, those different feelings and perspective that I noticed, I realized a significant change in my healing progress.
If you’ve had your own trauma, then you’ll know that it can consume you. You get sucked into the fight or flight any time it gets triggered, and you feel that it IS you. That it’s bigger than you. You feel defined by your trauma. Rather than it being something you experienced, you believe that it is reality and everything else in life revolves in some way around that traumatic experience.
Except now it doesn’t. I believed all those things – not because it was my belief, but because it’s what I LIVED. That was my experience and there was no escaping it. I was so trauma bonded, and for 20+ years (probably 30+ years) lived in a trauma association state (that’s where everything you experience in life is evaluated from your trauma perspective. Everything is viewed as a further threat. It’s exhausting! And it’s painful.).
So what changed???
My connection to my trauma is so different. Instead of it being something that consumes me and defines me, it’s more like something inside me that I’m cradling with love, care, and compassion.
I see it and feel it as a wound on the inside, like an open cut or a sore. It’s still so raw and open. and it’s BIG. But it’s contained. It’s smaller than me, and it’s not me.
Sigh of relief
Seeing this trauma that has all but consumed me most of my life as a manageable contained wound brought so much hope!
Instead of something I’m afraid of, it’s now something I can care for.
Like any wound, we are careful with it, we tend to it, dress it, clean it, and give it time to heal.
I feel like there is finally hope for true healing ahead! Complete healing. Like I’ve reached the pinnacle of my progress and now I’m on the downhill slope. It’s manageable. It’s tangible. And it’s not “ME”.
I can handle this.
I can love this.
I can have joy and happiness AND tend to my trauma.
No more black and white.
No more one or the other.
I feel complete. I feel whole. I feel good. I feel capable of loving myself AND living the life I want to live.
With gentleness and patience as I continue on my journey.
I feel like this was the healing miracle I didn’t know I wanted.
Here’s to healing! Here’s the the hard work and dedication, and the steps of faith it takes to keep moving forward everyday, even when we don’t feel like we’re moving very far… it’s worth it. It DOES matter. And one day we will see the healing and peace we are so desperately working toward.
To comment on the feelings I had at lunch:
Knowing now that the shift of my past had become a wound, I recognize the desire I had to protect it. That when we have open wounds we don’t expose them to the elements, we protect them and keep them safe from further harm.
This is such a different feeling than the shame I’d been hiding it behind for so many years.
It feels SO MUCH BETTER to feel love and concern for it, that my trauma, like a little child, is now being protected and cared for instead of hidden and denied.
And so much the reason why I absolutely believe that self love and self compassion are so so vital and important to our healing journey – AND our life journey! We all need someone to care for ourselves, and our inner child. And unfortunately there really is no one that can do that better than ourselves.
If we can’t love ourselves first, then we’ll never be able to receive the love of anyone else.
It starts with us.
And if there is any truth in experience, once you can love yourself and fully receive that self love, then love pours in all around us in abundance!
Love really is such a beautiful thing.