August 9, 2017

The Art of Active Healing-Part II: Perspective

During the month of August, we are focusing on learning how to tap into the truth we already have inside us and go all out in what Jillian Short calls a “full-thrive”. We will continue to discuss this week what it means to walk in strength, peace, power and joy—during our healing process and within the boiling pot of imperfection and pain.

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It’s so easy to get imprisoned in the quagmire of what was—of all that happened! Of what we didn’t do. Of what we know we should’ve done. But there is good news!

Anytime we are seeking growth in any area, there are always things we can do to cultivate our goals. It is so important to focus on practical ways we can nurture healing. Remember that every major change is accompanied by hard work and "pre-commitment".  And it requires us to change our perspective. But we have to want to.

What is your identity? Is it your pain/trauma? Has being a "victim" crowded out the YOU you were meant to be?

There are many situations in life that are out of our realm and control. Many things are not in our jurisdictions/job descriptions or responsibilities. For example, you can’t make it stop raining. If your home has already been repossessed, any amount of “changing your perspective” is not going to bring it back to you. It is not our decision to make. These unchangeables of life fall outside the box of what we can do.

There are countless unwanted scenarios/memories in each of our lives that we simply cannot change.  And most of those hard situations are the cause of our depression and stagnation.

I firmly believe we must live ON PURPOSE. Growth requires planning, plotting and cultivation. Once again: every major change is accompanied by hard work and "pre-commitment". WHY? Because the mere fact that we need a "change" implies that there is already something else that exists...that needs to be re-done, re-worked, eradicated, uprooted, re-born, revitalized...

TODAY'S QUESTION(S): 
What is it you TRULY want? Do you want to be an overcomer? What is the alternative? Remaining a victim is a choice all survivors have. 

It is easy to become comfortable with our tag of “victim” and merely survive on the pity of others. Or worse, we can become dependent on the resulting turmoil and unhappiness of our pasts—without even knowing it.

This week as you are pondering your past and struggling to make sense of it all, I invite you to let go.  Release the terrible pressure of trying to figure it all out. You are here now—and you are here for a reason!  I encourage you to accept the fact that your trauma/abuse was not your choosing. It was not remotely your fault.

As you continue to park here on these thoughts, I encourage you to resist the temptation to blame, fix, tweak or manipulate anything in your mind. That even includes the “fall-out years”, following your abuse/trauma.  This “letting go” is nothing more than just breathing in—deeply—and embracing YOU. Your whole self—with the pain. Not inspite of it. Because of it!

Currently I am Mrs. District of Columbia US Continental 2017. When I donned my sash and crown, this did not magically turn me into a queen. Who I am—ME—was not intrinsically altered at that moment. The sash and crown were placed on me. They did not change or define who I already was or who I truly am.

In the same way that my sash and crown did not/does not make me a queen, the pain and abuse that was placed on me did not/does not alter who I am. Who I was born to be.

There is a future aspect to this thought. My title as Mrs. District of Columbia does not alter who I was or who I am, but it will alter what I am able to accomplish with my life from here forward. I can choose to use this title as a megaphone to implement change—to be a louder voice to STOP THE SILENCE and perpetuation of sexual abuse and trauma. But that is entirely up to me.

In the same way, I can choose to use the abuse/pain I have experienced as tools of change. Because of my life experiences, I possess empathy, compassion and understanding. There is beauty and power in taking back the ground that has been stolen from us!

This is the essence of empowerment!

“Perspective makes all the difference. It’s not what you look at; it’s what you see… Remember that the sun never actually sets; it's our perspective that makes it appear to. Our sunset is another’s sunrise. It's all perspective. How would your life be different if you applied this truth to the things that cause you stress? Letting go isn’t about erasing the past; it’s about looking at the same event and seeing something different. Activate this power in your life! Take the pain and poison of the past and allow it to nourish a new found wisdom. Remember, you can't change the past, but you can change the labels you place on events. Perspective - it’s not what you look at; it’s what you see.” ~ Steve Maraboli
           

Last week I touched briefly on ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and how they affect our health. Here is an excerpt from last week’s discussion:

“As it pertains to our past abuse, it is truly imperative that we address and embrace our trauma as we would any other major illness, disease or injury.  If you were diagnosed with diabetes today, you would be wise to take your diagnosis seriously if you want to live a healthy and happy life. You might be encouraged to make necessary dietary changes or begin an exercise program. You might even join a support group—especially if you were struggling to accept your diagnosis.

Emotional, sexual and/or spiritual abuse are life-altering experiences. These Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) are no less traumatic or impactful to our physical bodies than other more physical forms of trauma—such as diabetes and other health-related issues.”

In keeping with the fact that childhood traumas are relevant to our ongoing health, I want to take a moment to stress a very important element. It is of utmost importance for you to have strong, positive mentors in place who can and will assist you. If you haven’t already, I urge you to find a trusted coach/counselor/therapist who can help guide you as you change your perspective and grow in realization and awakening. Seeking help is not weak—it is wise!

It is our natural instinct to love and protect ourselves. The existence of these amazing survival apps within our bodies is the very reason we are struggling to conquer—to erupt—and rise above our painful childhoods or our years of “disconnect”!  

Giving yourself permission to change your perspective is one of the most powerful decisions you will ever make. Healing is a process—a journey—and YOU are at the helm of your own progress!






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As a very young child, I was subjected to sexual abuse until I was seven. When I was twelve, my parents and I went to Micronesia as missionaries with Evangelism Missions Inc. I loved it! I learned the language, embraced the culture, and eventually became interpreter for our mission church. My abuse became a distant memory—buried and unaddressed.

Years later, still deep in the clutches of my church affiliation, I married a man who was physically abusive—with the church’s backing—under the doctrine of “Biblical Patriarchy”. Then the unthinkable happened. I discovered my children were being sexually abused. My world crashed around me.

I wish I could say I was strong and tenacious. I wasn’t. The knowledge of my children’s abuse filled me with such pain I could barely function. Guilt engulfed me. How could this have happened? I’d been abused myself—Shouldn’t I have been able to recognize the signs? This trauma triggered my own unresolved past, resulting in PTSD and severe anxiety disorder. The lack of support from our friends—especially within the church—astounded me. We were told to forgive and honor our abuser. They strictly instructed us to be silent, even telling us not to press charges, stating that “speaking out about our abuse gave the church—and thus, Jesus Christ—a bad name”. He only served an 18-month sentence. After his release, he was brought back into church leadership.

I left my toxic church—and my marriage—and began the slow, upward path toward recovery. My children began to truly heal. I was amazed to learn more about Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) and its effects on us as adults. I surrounded myself with life-changing resources—and positive support.

Today, I am a court-certified translator/interpreter, co-owner of a real estate investment company, and the founder/CEO of Always a Voice®. I am the International Spokesperson for Stop the Silence® and an Advocate/Ambassador with the CSA Survivor Force, a national media outreach group under Stop the Silence®/NAASCA (http://www.naasca.org/StopTheSilence/ or https://stopthesilence.org/csa-survivor-force/). I have a degree in Counseling/ Biblical Theology and use my experiences to offer hope and encouragement to other survivors.

I am happily remarried and my family is thriving—more than I would have thought possible! My children have gone on to use their own voices through music, dance, art, education. Some are directly fighting against sex-trafficking and child abuse.

My passion and goal is to empower those who have no voice--or those just finding their voices--and to raise awareness on how to better recognize signs of abuse and how to combat precise issues/problems relating to the “fall out” of trauma. My next book, “This Little Plight of Mine©” (late 2017) speaks out against what I now define as “Church-Sanctioned Abuse©”.

I am committed to use my voice (through media, newspaper, and radio), on a global level, to stop the silence and perpetuation of abuse and trauma “one person, one dream, one step, one leap at a time.”





1 comment:

  1. One of the best therapists I ever had, had a way of listening carefully to what that week's crisis was and she reframed it into what I HAD done to take care of myself that week. I always left her office feeling more in control of my life. Good therapist. Good post!

    ReplyDelete

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