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Archive for the ‘trauma’ Category

Compassion Learned by Experiencing Trauma

Minimizing External Trauma

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jobber1/36197048070/in/photolist-X9BkiG-6zNVTx-9WcJ3G-dSakbx-dSammr-9TBa8u-6ezpVp-4BqdWY-VXtGBZ-rmenXX-qCVBCH-ebSPFY-on6uCz-7jht6-n98ro-VTXW6M-a1XWoX-aEZ3ZC-GAd7om-aETqXe-5YRvvk-dSfWbY-KEWxyD-7N2mv7-s8WVRA-97x2ND-9FZG7n-kv3uih-7dAKBM-Usjf3C-emcpAz-3EXMtA-U3SSPP-gQb96B-6QtXTY-o36uJj-iwvCcv-54dBjc-opbQb3-7NxyBo-7G7U6q-cS6eML-9FXQcH-ojrwjj-SUbPcQ-7MNAUc-Ee2qD-jZRnbY-a355px-cS691NLong ago, I stopped watching or listening to the news, not because I don’t want to know what’s going on with the world, but because, quite frankly, I don’t want or need to hear about the horrific parts; the murders, the hate crimes, the politicians who use their positions to lie, cheat, and steal; the evil I know full well exists in the world. I also reject those who put their own spin on things until the facts become more the evolution of a  dystopian society comprised of the most horrific qualities ever exhibited by humans than anything resembling the highs, lows, and everything in between evident in the world at any given time.

In our digital society, the issue isn’t really staying informed. Everyone and their brother is happy to share their views of reality with you through every method available (heaven knows I’ve unfollowed quite a few who don’t take my more subtle hints, or fill their own news feed with obviously slanted rhetoric and downright lies). The challenge comes in filtering those messages so I see things that are:

  • Factual
  • Relevant
  • Non-partisan
  • Hopeful rather than hateful
  • Uplifting
  • Useful
  • Interesting
  • Kind

Granted, what fits into these categories is often a moving target, and especially with the first one, often requires some extra digging on my part before I accept what I read as true or valuable. All publications and sites are slanted at least a little. When in doubt, I’ll consult one (or more) of the sites that tells me which way the author of what I’m reading leans. If the topic is important enough to me, I’ll dig further to find accounts on both sides of the fence.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

One thing I don’t want to read are obviously agenda-based accounts from would-be medical https://www.flickr.com/photos/eamoncurry/28268951669/in/photolist-K52Lsr-byVMMC-RPS3xW-UdGABu-ZyoRJD-UGD7PB-F5Q7kv-VP4Csi-mHt88T-k3iA6-Hfjmzh-dcxTkQ-RtTnPj-U65Sq9-dcujdB-RSrN3T-bMQU4K-SWh6K3-Tb77Ki-T7xwTo-RTDHJ3-T7xp7w-3KKPDt-o6oKQv-SWh5YJ-UN97Sy-prgzdM-bMCdYe-qhS8Xz-byKj5d-qs4b7R-byL2XC-bMCd9p-SAfRWS-dzNBJu-fwWtJt-JjEtwP-bMBxtP-byKnuf-272uDNX-TuBQdv-26wihPC-EQiBwn-dabUNz-rLf7Sy-27u72yF-SLfJYB-dkAN6H-24szGFw-bWK2Xtprofessionals who lack the experience, the education, and the true desire to help others with no purpose other than genuine compassion. Sure, even doctors, nurses, and everyone else who chooses the medical profession has their own agenda, but in certain cases, I have to trust they’ve put it aside while they’re doing their job, else why take the Hippocratic Oath in the first place?.

Yes, I’ve had my own less-than-stellar experiences with Western Medicine lately, and I’m not a fan of Big Pharma, but I also agree there’s a time and a place to trust them, if not implicitly, at least far enough to stay out of their way while they’re doing their best to save lives.

Overall, I’m not a fan of bashing, even if I agree with you. I may vehemently dislike a public figure and everything they stand for, but calling them names, ridiculing them, or making mockery of them is neither productive nor does it improve matters. In fact, I believe it adds fuel to their fire. After all, even bad publicity is better than none. Many who are in the public eye thrive on attention. How better to reduce their influence than to avoid mentioning them at all?

Sure, there are times I’ll share something without researching it thoroughly because it makes sense to me, and focuses on an issue rather than emotions. There have even been times I ended up with egg on my face by failing to do my due diligence. Still, I’ll continue to share things which speak of hope, compassion, and humanity’s many beautiful qualities. I believe we need more reason to look upon each other with eyes filled with kindness, compassion, and love.

Interpersonal Relations Don’t Need to be Complicated

I suspect there are some who’ve unfollowed me as well. Some because they believe I’m uninformed, others because I won’t jump on their bandwagon over every issue on their lengthy agenda. There might even be some who find my outlook too hopeful; too positive. That’s OK with me. If I don’t inspire and uplift you; if my outlook is too airy fairy for your cynical heart, we’re clearly not a good fit anyway.

Past experiences influence who you are at any point in your life. I’ve had my share of trauma, misfortune, and loss. There was a time I let it influence what I did, said, and thought, and how I treated others. If I met the woman I was 15 or 20 years ago on the street today, I’d feel sad, and filled with pity for her. I don’t know that I’d engage her though. Her walls were high and negative energy flowed off her in waves. It took me a long time to let go of the anger and pain, and I’m not willing to allow myself to be sucked back into that teeming morass of misery.

I also know I am still easily triggered by certain things, and have to safeguard the progress I’ve made. It’s far too easy to let emotions take over, and to become that hateful version of myself I’ve worked so hard to heal. Thankfully, the healing process also gave me tools and the ability to see past the ugly behavior to the open, seeping wounds which make it so hard for some people to let go of conditioned behavior.

Humans Thrive on Hope and Compassion

More and more, I see people sharing messages of hope, community, and a shared journey. In short, we’re all in this together, and none of us is getting out of here alive, so why not find places where we can, if nothing else, meet in the middle? Hateful behavior only makes your own world darker and more miserable. I know this from my own experiences, though it took me a long time to realize the misery I floated in was self-inflicted. It might, at times have seemed like it was someone else’s doing, but it was more a case of attracting exactly what I was emitting.

If it seems like I’m ignoring the sadness; the suffering; the inequalities; the misery running rampant in the world, know nothing is further from the truth. I’ve simply made a conscious choice to refrain from adding to it by giving it my direct attention. I’m making small but consistent changes to myself which includes both the way I treat others, and the energy I emit into this sea of souls we occupy.

A pebble dropped into a lake sends out ripples which touch an infinite number of others as they spread, merge, and flow. You can choose to drop pebbles of misery and hate, and add to the putrid cesspool others have already filled. Or you can add the tiniest droplets of pure, clear water to the seemingly impenetrable mess. It might take awhile, but in time, the droplets of clean, pure water will make headway. I simply choose to be the change. What you do, and how you proceed is entirely up to you. Let your conscience lead the way.

Gratitude Heals Our Pain

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for choices.
  2. I’m grateful I’m able to filter what I hear, read, and see.
  3. I’m grateful I can follow my own path, respecting other people’s beliefs and attitudes, but ultimately staying true to myself.
  4. I’m grateful for friends who can hold opposing views, but respect each other enough to refrain from mistreating those whose views might differ.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, choice, positivity, compassion, support, community, health, peace, harmony, hope, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Trauma Management Skills

Every Trauma is Unique

traumaMy trauma isn’t your trauma. Even if we experienced the same traumatizing event, my life experiences and coping mechanisms will paint my perceptions with a different pallet of colors than yours. Though we’ll ultimately have to go through many of the same steps in the healing process, I’ll go through them in a different order, spending more time on some and less on others. My needs are different and defined by how much I’ve stuffed down, released, denied, or revisited from previous traumas. They’ll  also be impacted by whatever else life throws at me in the meantime.

My process isn’t right for you, nor yours for me. But it’s exactly right for each of us with no set timeline nor point when you or I will be completely healed from the event. I will simply keep traveling on my healing journey as will you with many triumphs and setbacks along the way.

Still, I see so many similarities as I read articles and posts from others who are at various stages in their healing process. It doesn’t really matter whether the trauma is old or new, dealt with right away, or held deep inside for decades. Once the process of healing and releasing begins, the road traveled has many common stops along the way.

Not only does the process share components, but so does the way we coped with the trauma initially. Personally, I can only speak from the “holding it all in until you burst” camp, and as such, relate well to those who suffered childhood trauma, or years of abuse before they finally made the break, realizing they did not deserve such treatment, eventually learning they didn’t bear any responsibility. Those people opened my eyes to how emotionally bankrupt my own childhood was, not because my parents didn’t care, but because it was the only thing they, themselves knew.

Peeling Your Own Coping Skills Onion

Healing from trauma is like peeling an onion, but never reaching the very center. Often, in the process there are layers which go back to previous generations. In my case, my family’s primary coping mechanism was to stuff things down and try to ignore their existence. I don’t know if any of them realized (or realize, depending on the generation) how destructive it was and is. I believe when it originated, it was more of a survival mechanism than a choice. Unfortunately, when it was no longer a matter of life and death, the pattern was so deeply ingrained as to be considered normal.

I’ve always been a rebel in my family. Never really fitting in. Never trying to conform to familial patterns. I was always too sensitive or too outspoken, and in hindsight, made people uncomfortable by overtly questioning what was considered appropriate behavior. To me, it never made sense to bottle things up or pretend I didn’t feel something, though I truly did try to conform, much to my detriment. It took me years to figure out why. I just assumed I was some kind of misfit. In a way I was, but I see now it’s not in a bad way.

Failure to Fit In is a Red Flag

https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/10197031243/in/photolist-gx5s8v-jFvehZ-ceYKvY-gx4Gcf-Qv32MQ-gx58Ji-aavAwk-k15Tk9-gcokN-jYnA9p-pts3CH-KErQUu-fMFuKi-5gvfXp-gx5zqD-594W8Y-gx5GPp-gx4EMG-S7Jpw1-P5f7sP-VMMRHL-oiRYiu-7pPH6E-2bXKRhj-2cLerFQ-oxWTqS-psDwB2-ceXTFN-amxUkM-2bsd6t6-N7Lj5T-cbSXFd-YtbGJE-bNJ5H-RNvZP3-kiboPh-WmzxPu-7UzoSM-24eKtUM-cjgru7-n3pBeq-7PK4bp-ajX4J8-nk5bJN-88HFFJ-W18WBb-jBnrh2-ciDDMd-TzUwZm-8wqYSTIf I don’t fit in with my family and their attitudes, it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me. In fact, I’ve come to understand it means there’s something right. Coping with trauma by stuffing it all inside wasn’t healthy for me, and probably isn’t for anyone else, but I can only change my own approach. If anyone learns something by my example, that’s great, but it’s not my purpose. It is, however, my purpose to break a dysfunctional family pattern, if only in my own line, and then, only a part of it. You can lead a horse to water, as it were.

Part of the process has meant cutting ties that no longer serve me, and creating new ones that do. Too many of the ties I’ve cut are blood, but we can’t help who we’re related to. In fact, I believe I chose them in order to drive me to the point where I had to learn the lessons and cut the ties if I wanted to do more than just survive. I’ve learned I deserve to have supportive people around me; people who have my back as I have theirs. I deserve to thrive.

My life is, in it’s own way, no different than anyone else’s. I’ve had traumas and triumphs, but mostly long periods of living, learning, and coasting along. Sometimes I’m oblivious and others, sharply and sometimes painfully aware. I put time and effort into healing, then step back and allow things to settle into the newest version of me. If I get too complacent, something or someone comes along to shake me out of my complacency, forcing me to put some effort into releasing more that doesn’t serve me to replace it with something healthier.

Triggers Get Me Moving When I’ve Become Complacent

I “get to” experience triggers periodically. Triggers like the murder-suicide at my favorite dance https://www.flickr.com/photos/anieto2k/8156999698/in/photolist-dqNKPQ-8xXrZz-a2tqF7-ecib3q-aR5rxR-23UMduh-aWLsg4-aQ6X3p-dTTc5c-dcyQ5m-b1FLUp-drS8ZF-bsmN5R-nNhBzE-6ssEeg-9jEcfZ-aVXtzx-j6LK2o-aNpZyT-dCTfD3-dvswdt-b3pgdi-dtXu4B-6LJawW-8CFHEg-8aL7Jf-hDdmuC-anA578-cPoDxo-9qmjuQ-dtXueV-qsdJSm-dqq1i2-2cGG4pp-dqq1sP-hp14Hw-cbnjHE-7bv7xs-chavXC-7uLgNT-8E3GL9-ar7X3y-aai6ME-nt1LXG-gZvg1N-S1DgTf-8kUop7-6532HD-exeWcJ-di6ynQclub, or hearing a friend lost a family member to suicide, and being asked for my insight. Those triggers often set off a visceral reaction; tears, sadness, and a general withdrawal into myself. It doesn’t last long, but reminds me there are layers I’ve yet to uncover, much less, heal and release.

Worse is when family members have felt they had the right to be cruel to my daughter or me. Despite knowing what they’re capable of from long experience, and recognizing they’re only venting their own pain on what they think is a safe target, I can’t help feeling a level of disbelief that people could treat their own family badly. I also know they came from the same place I’ve been working hard to heal and leave behind. Still, it’s where abuse starts, and if boundaries and barriers aren’t set, often escalates. Even so, my heart aches for all the broken people out there who think causing pain to others will ease their own. They never learn how to heal themselves, and will come into their next life with many of the same unlearned lessons.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as I allow myself to go through an often painful process towards healing is compassion for others, including those who mistreat me or the people I love. I know they aren’t coping with their pain, but trying unsuccessfully to fling it outwards. It isn’t always easy to avoid the initial feelings of anger, but ultimately, those feelings degrade into pity. It’s not exactly compassion, but I’m not adding negative energy to their own in the process. It’s more of an energy void. I strive for forgiveness, but frankly, there are some with whom I have to settle for pity and leave it at that. Maybe in my next life I’ll be able to forgive. For now, I’m focused on learning how to handle trauma in a healthier, more productive manner.

And when all else fails, I fling imaginary heart-shaped confetti.

Gratitude Reminds Me How Far I’ve Come

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I’m grateful for the traumas I’ve suffered, the coping mechanisms I’ve put in place, and the lessons I’m learning from both as I continue to heal.
  2. I’m grateful for people I meet who are willing to be open about their own traumas and the challenges they’ve faced in trying to heal.
  3. I’m grateful for vulnerability. Without it, there is no healing.
  4. I’m grateful for a new moniker, “Holistic Ghostwriter” which was given to me recently.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; friendship, choices, love, challenges, lessons, trauma, healing, forgiving, imaginary heart-shaped confetti, dancing, health, harmony, peace, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

 

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

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